Laura McHale Holland
Author, Dreamer, Storyteller
Laura McHale Holland is a speaker, professional storyteller, and award-winning author whose works include both memoir and fiction, from short story to novel length. Her books, often influenced by magical realism, include:
- The Kiminee Dream, 2020 novel
- Just in Case, 2019 short story collection
- Resilient Ruin, 2016 memoir, sequel to Reversible Skirt
- Sisters Born, Sisters Found, 2015 anthology
- The Ice Cream Vendor’s Song, 2012 short story collection
- Reversible Skirt, 2011 memoir
Just In Case
From the first story in Just in Case to the last Laura McHale Holland explores the inner turmoil of the human condition in an unconventional way. This writer is a skilled storyteller who knows how to pull readers into her magical world where ordinary characters can be unpredictable and images can be misleading. … I haven’t got a clue how the author gets to these mysterious locales, but she has surprises in store for me when I get there and it’s always a fascinating ride.
– Barbara Toboni, author of Light the Way and The Bunny Poets
Resilient Ruin is not your everyday growing-up story. … It is heartbreaking, but it is also about hope—that no matter how bad things get, there’s always hope, and if we look hard enough, we will realize we are never truly alone.
– Jennie (Shi) Marima, author of The High Road
I was hooked into this story from the first page and carried along to the end by a fast-paced plot, believable, dynamic characters, and vivid sensory details. I came of age in the 60s so could easily relate to the times. As a reader, I felt like I was watching a movie from that tumultuous time as scenes came alive to me.
– Kathleen Pooler, author of Ever Faithful to His Lead
Sisters Born, Sisters Found
How refreshing to swing around this great, big world of ours following the stories of sisters. Whether factual or imagined, narrative or poetic, the short works in this appealing collection ring true.
– Amanda McTigue, author of Touch of Magenta
Reading Sisters Born, Sisters Found will impart an experience not soon to be forgotten. It provides a rich opportunity to dip into the lives of others for just a few moments and will expand and forever change your view on what sisterhood is.
– Holly W., Amazon Reader
The Ice Cream Vendor’s Song
This is a book for writers who want to see the craft at its best and for readers who want to be titillated and thoroughly amazed. I know I was.
– Linda Loveland Reid, author of Touch of Magenta
I also love how Holland weaves her sentences—the end result is deliciously poetic and often brimming with paths. It’s a joy to read the lines, regardless of what particular story you’ve on. Overall, this is a book that deserves to be tried and enjoyed and downloaded.
– Meghan, Amazon Reader
I love a good memoir, and I would put [Reversible Skirt] among my favorites. … If you love stories of perseverance and survival, if you love books that celebrate the human spirit, if you love books whose words bring the characters to life, you must read this book.
– C. Hoelter, Amazon Reader
Reversible Skirt is the tender telling of a girl’s odyssey through an abusive childhood. The voice is honest. I feel as if I’ve known her all my life.
– H. B. Reid, author of The Connected
Laura McHale Holland brings arresting worlds to life for readers through stories long, short, true and untrue in multiple forms.
In all of her work, Laura McHale Holland strives to stir people’s emotions and find hope hidden in unlikely places. Her novel, The Kiminee Dream, set for release in 2020, introduces a cast of quirky characters in a fictional Illinois river town where unseen forces both help and hinder, and people learn to rise in the face of adversity, accept what can never be and embrace big dreams anew. Laura’s published books include two memoirs, two collections of flash fiction, and an anthology on sisterhood. In addition, three of her plays have been produced in San Francisco’s North Bay region.
Whether she is penning a memoir or novel, editing an anthology, writing flash fiction, or telling stories live, Laura McHale Holland’s aim as an artist is to stir people’s emotions and find hope in unlikely places. She thrives on following her imagination wherever it leads and encouraging others to do the same.
Very much inspired by the tremendous freedom and creativity found in today’s independent publishing community, Laura formed a tiny publishing company through which she has published several award-winning books.
Laura’s childhood memoir, Reversible Skirt, won a silver medal in the 2011 Readers Favorite book awards. It recounts from a vulnerable child’s point of view the aftermath of her mother’s suicide, when her father never acknowledged the tragedy and, to keep his family together, remarried in haste to a woman who was extremely abusive to Laura and her sisters. He subsequently passed away, leaving the three girls at their stepmother’s mercy.
Laura’s second memoir, Resilient Ruin, won the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award for new adult nonfiction. It’s a tale of coming of age in the tumultuous ’60s when Laura was in the care of a stepmom who offered no love or guidance. Laura rebelled, made mistake after mistake, and her life spiraled downward. The consequences were increasingly heartbreaking and, at times, brought her very survival into question. Yet survive, she did, with little of what she longed for, but all that she needed to start building a good life.
Laura’s first collection of flash fiction, The Ice Cream Vendor’s Song, is edgy and thought provoking. It won an honorable mention in the 2015 Readers Favorite book awards. Laura loves the flash fiction form, which requires a writer to create a complete story with minimal words. She released her second collection of flash fiction, Just in Case, in 2019.
In addition, Laura served as editor, publisher and contributing writer for the Sisters Born, Sisters Found: A Diversity of Voices on Sisterhood anthology. What began as a small project born of local readings on the topic of sisterhood became a collection of memoirs, essays, poems and short stories by 76 writers representing every continent except Antarctica. This book won a gold medal in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and was named a finalist in the 2015 IndieFab Book of the Year Awards.
Laura’s stories have also appeared in such publications as NorthBay biz magazine, the Noe Valley Voice, Every Day Fiction Three, Wisdom Has a Voice, My Gutsy Story, Every Day Fiction, And the Beat Goes On, and several Vintage Voices anthologies. Her one-act play Are You Ready?was produced by Sixth Street Playhouse and Redwood Writers, as well as shortlisted for the Short+Sweet Sydney 2015 festival. Another one-act play, You’ll Be Sorry, was produced in 2016 by Friends of the Guerneville Library’s Readers Theater. And her most recent play, Bankrupt, was produced by Off the Page Readers Theater in 2019.
An avid fan of story performance, Laura also enjoys freeing stories from the printed (or digital) page. In all of her work, she strives to illuminate hidden truths and inspire kindred souls to pursue their creative dreams.
Laura is available for interviews, speaking, or author events
A dynamic speaker, reader and storyteller, Laura is available for:
- Readings & discussion for book clubs or other literary events
- Storytelling for special events
- Lecturing on a range of topics
- How to write short and flash fiction
- Strengthening your memoir by focusing on readers
- How to face and write about harmful childhood experiences; and writing with forgiveness in your heart