About Reversible Skirt
When the mother of three little girls commits suicide, their father wants more than anything to keep his family together. He remarries in haste and tells his daughters his new wife is their mother. The youngest, Laura, believes her mother must have gone through an eerie transformation.
Reversible Skirt is written from Laura’s perspective as a child sifting through remnants of her mother’s existence and struggling to fit into a community where her family’s strict rules are not the norm. When Laura’s father dies, her stepmother grows increasingly abusive, which propels Laura and her sisters into a lasting alliance. Their father’s wish that they stay together comes true, although not in the way he’d imagined.
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Thanks for stopping for by Paperback Writer and sharing your interview with us.
Q: Do you write on a computer or with pen/pencil and paper?
I usually begin with a very fine point gel pen and a journal with unlined paper, but once I’ve hit on a couple paragraphs that intrigue me, I switch to my laptop or iPad and finish whatever I’m working on. Looking at a blank Word file does not inspire me, but holding an old-fashioned journal feels like spending time with a fond friend. If I have to though, I can create something completely on computer, but that’s usually business writing done at my day-job.
Q: Do you work from an outline?
I never use an outline. They just don’t work for me. I remember having to use them in a high school English class, and it was excruciating. I like to cast around until I find a good situation, and then let things unfold from there.
Q: Who is your favorite author, and why?
It’s difficult to pick just one. The author who has most recently captivated me is Alice Hoffman. I bought her novel Blackbird House, published in 2004, in a second hand store recently. The way she blends the supernatural with the everyday in that book is masterful; it’s something I’d like to be able to do. The world she created is odd, but believable. I want to read all of her books now.
Q: What are a few of your favorite genres and why?
I love memoir, literary fiction and flash fiction (500 words or fewer) the most. But, in truth, when a brilliant writer is at work, the genre doesn’t really matter. Recently, I was at a local writer’s event, and one of the authors read from the introduction to her recently published nonfiction book about taxes. It was hilarious. Who knew the IRS could be so funny? The author is an accountant who always wanted to do stand-up comedy. I expect I will at some point buy that book, partly to support the local writing community but partly because I think I’ll really enjoy it.
Q: Writer’s Block – If you have ever experienced it – how did you resolve it?
Two things have helped me with writer’s block. The first is to always having several projects going at the same time. If I don’t have the mental energy to tackle a demanding one, I’ll work on something I find a bit more appealing for a while. That’ll usually get my juices flowing, and more often than not, I can return to the problematic project and move that forward a bit. The second is to have a job where I have to write on deadline. If your livelihood depends on getting something written, you’ll do it. The downside of that is that the kinds of writing I get paid to do aren’t particularly creative, inspirational or deep, but they do serve a purpose, and the discipline involved carries over to the writing that is more personally meaningful to me.
Q: How did you feel holding your book in your hands for the first time?
I was thrilled, of course, to hold Reversible Skirt for the first time. My sister Kathy, who is a graphics designer and communications consultant, designed the cover, and I think it’s exquisite. She also helped immensely with the interior layout. And then signing books for the first time at the book launch was magical. Some folks had been waiting a long time for the book to come out because I’d signed with a publisher who held the book for four years without publishing it. I finally tired of waiting and decided to publish it myself. Realizing how proud my friends and colleagues were of me at the launch party was one of those moments in life I’ll always savor.
About Laura McHale Holland
Laura McHale Holland’s memoir, Reversible Skirt won a silver medal in the 2011 Readers Favorite book awards. Her stories and articles have appeared in such publications as Every Day Fiction Three, Wisdom Has a Voice, the Vintage Voices anthologies, NorthBay biz magazine, the Noe Valley Voice and the original San Francisco Examiner.
A member of both Redwood Writers and the Storytelling Association of California, Laura has been a featured teller at the Lake Tahoe Storytelling Festival.
To keep up with her, please visit http://lauramchaleholland.com.