I had the opportunity to interview Holli for the release of her newest novel, Myrikal. She proved to be an intriguing character with many eclectic talents. Check it out!
Holli Anderson has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing—which has nothing to do with writing, except maybe by adding some pretty descriptive injury and vomit scenes to her books. She discovered her joy of writing during a very trying period in her life when escaping into make-believe saved her.
Tell me a little about yourself.
I’m a nurse, author, wife, mom, grandma, and editor. I love the color blue and long walks on the beach… and steak, medium rare.
I’m an introvert and not good at small talk – like really not good, terrible, awful. So if you want to engage me in more than a twenty second conversation, I’ll give you some hints on how to start: Harry Potter, Avengers, Supernatural, books (especially Brandon Sanderson and Jim Butcher … and Holli Anderson), writing, or my grandkids.
How not to engage me in conversation: politics, or basically anything that isn’t from the above list.
Tell me about your book.
Myrikal is born into a dystopian world where more than half the population died either from world-wide earthquakes bigger than any the world has seen before or by an epidemic caused by a new virus that seeped out of the deep cracks in the earth made from the ‘quakes.
Her parents are horrible people who don’t want her but when her dad realizes she has “powers” he decides to train her to become an assassin like him.
Myrikal struggles with her father’s teachings, not quite sure whether to believe his credo that all humans are awful and deserve to die – so killing people for payment is neither good nor bad.
She becomes friends with a boy her age named Branch, and starts to see that her father is wrong.
What sets Myrikal apart from other superhero/post-apocalyptic stories?
Her origin story is different than any other superhero out there and we get to see her as a young girl, discovering her powers and the power of friendship. She is the only person in the world with powers as far as she knows, and she doesn’t know how she developed them.
She doesn’t see herself as a Superhero – Branch really has to convince her that she is or she could be. She’s having a hard time shaking off the brainwashing of her father.
What or who inspired your main character?
I saw a video of a young woman testifying before Congress. She’d been an abortion survivor. Yes, you heard that correctly. She lived through a saline abortion attempt, was born 2 months early – her skin burned by the saline –, she was put into foster care, and grew up to be this amazing woman. I believe her name is Gianna Jesson.
After reading the first few chapters of Myrikal, you’ll see the connection.
What was your favorite part to write in this book?
The fight scenes are usually my favorite to write, but this time it was the sweet interactions between Myrikal and Branch and their blossoming friendship.
What were you like when you were Myrikal’s age?
Very studious. And boy crazy—a little bit.
Your day job is in nursing, so what made you choose to begin writing?
I didn’t start writing until about eleven years ago when I was going through a really rough spot with one of my kids. I’d always used reading as an escape from reality and the problems and stresses of daily life – but that wasn’t enough this time. I decided to start writing my own fantasy novel that incorporated some of the bad choices we were dealing with with my son and my feelings as his mother who loved (loves) him more than anything. It ended up being a 110,000-word pile of dung because I didn’t know what I was doing, but I still love the story and hope to go back and fix it someday and continue on with the trilogy I had planned for it.
What makes you choose to write YA fantasy over other genres?
I actually write in a couple of other genres, too, but YA is my favorite. I love to read YA novels. I love writing the characters for this age-group because everything is new and they are discovering the world through the eyes of a pre-adult and starting to make decisions and suffer the consequences of their choices without a parent figure always there to help them.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on another Romantic Thriller under my “pen name” H.L. Anderson (so as not to confuse my YA readers). When I finish writing that, I’ll get to work on the sequel to Myrikal.
How many unpublished or partially finished books do you have in your filing cabinet?
If by “filing cabinet” you mean saved on my computer…. I have two finished, unpublished books, the one I talked about above and a Middle Grade that just needs a little tweaking before publishing. I have two partially finished books and a few partially finished short stories taking up space in my files. And a whole lot of ideas written in various notebooks you can find throughout my house.
Have any of your sons shown an interest in writing and what advice would you give them (or other writers) as they pursue this interest?
None of them have shown interest in writing novels. At least one of them has a great talent for writing poetry, though.
As far as advice – I write because I love to write and I have dozens of untold stories rolling around in my head (usually at 2:00 in the morning when I should be sleeping). I’ve seen too many of my friends get discouraged and even quit writing because they had this unrealistic dream that they would find instant success. It’s okay to dream that, but don’t let it become the reason you write. Don’t let it kill your passion.
And also, whether you get published by one of the Big Five, by a small press, or decide to self-publish, plan on doing the majority of your own marketing. No one cares as much as you do if you succeed or not.
What is the weirdest thing you’ve researched as an author?
Ahh…. Demons and Incubi. I don’t recommend it.
Go to your bookshelf, third shelf down, sixth book from the left. What book is it and why do you have it?
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. My daughter-in-law got me interested in Cassandra Clare’s books after she read my first book, Five Out of the Dark, which has similar themes. I love the whole series.
You can reach Holli on social media!
Purchase her new release here:
Finally, here is an excerpt from Myrikal!
She’d asked Russ—she wasn’t allowed to call him “dad”—once why he’d named her Myrikal and why he’d spelled it so weird. She’d been around five or six and she’d known how to read since she was three. It just hadn’t occurred to her before then that her name was actually a play on the word “miracle.” His answer took her breath away. Not in a good, life is beautiful way, but in a just got kicked in the gut by an elephant way.
Thanks, Holli, for letting me take your time!