Monday 3 June 2013


ISBN: 978-1105613968
Publisher: Self/Indie
Pages/File Size: 370pages/615KB
Formats Available: Paperback, E-Book

BLURB from Goodreads
A divvy, a dying woman, and a promise

Rhona has the divvy gift; with only a touch she can tell if a baby will be fertile or a sterile Shun, destined to be killed or outcast. The people of the Deom depend on the divvys for survival, but it is a hard and brutal gift. As long as Rhona’s mother was alive, Rhona had followed the old ways, but now her mother is dead and Rhona is free to live her own life. She has one last obligation to fulfill: honor her mother's dying wish to find a woman named Selina and offer her help.

Rhona has no idea who Selina is, but the best way to find anyone on Deo is to travel the Bone Road, the trade highway paved with the remains of their ancestors. And follow it Rhona does, accompanied by her young son Jak, straight into a twisted conspiracy of vengeance, death, rebirth, and the mystery of the Riders, men who never die and are bent on closing the Bone Road forever.

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What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Mary Holland, I was born in New Jersey, in the United States, and I live on the coast of California, in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I thought an author was the best thing anyone could possibly be, but I thought it was a natural talent like having perfect pitch. You put pen to paper and out comes The Lord of the Rings on the first try. When my first efforts were horrible, I decided I wasn’t good enough. But I kept coming back to it, and about ten years ago I began writing again, taking workshops, and consciously attempting to put a good story together.

When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
When I published my first book: Matcher Rules. It did take me a considerable amount of time to say it without feeling like a total fraud. And saying, “I’m an unpublished writer” was terrible. Once I removed the qualifier, it felt real.

Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
Not any more. I lost my last job in the recession, so I took early retirement. My husband told me I had too much energy to simply sit home and read. He asked me what I would do if I could do anything in the world. I said, “Write novels.” And here I am.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My latest book is The Bone Road. It’s a fantasy about revenge and fertility. That leaves what, thirteen more words?

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I self-publish. The current term is ‘independent publisher’. I love it because I get to make all the decisions.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Far too long. As far as I can tell, with two books completed, a fantasy novel takes me about 18 months to two years. The Bone Road took longer, around four years, but I stopped work on it for several years and then picked it up again.

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
The Bone Road was harder to write than Matcher Rules. I did not have the entire plot worked out when I started so I spent a great deal of time going back and making changes. And then doing it again, and again.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
More fantasy books certainly, but I read many mysteries and science fiction, and various elements tend to creep in. Genre is genre, in whatever flavor. The one thing I cannot write is contemporary modern literature.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I’m writing a new fantasy, the working title is The Dog of Pell. (It’s not about a dog.) None of my books have started out as a series, but I do have an idea in the back of my head about another book set in the same world as The Bone Road but focusing on a different character.

What genre would you place your books into?
I say fantasy for want of a better term. Genre classifications drive me crazy. I think they guide people away from good stories. If the readers limit themselves to a particular genre, they miss a lot of great authors.

What made you decide to write that genre of book?
Fantasy tropes are a wonderful tool. They give the author enormous flexibility in telling a story and developing the themes they want to work with.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
I’d say Matteo the Shun, from The Bone Road. He is so tough and cool and so much fun to write. There’s a lot of his backstory that didn’t make it into the book. I had to be careful or he’d have taken the story in another direction.

If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
I think Aniles (pronounced Anna-Lees) from The Bone Road. She’s a very tough, unsentimental girl. She doesn’t second-guess herself and she is very, very independent.

How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing stories all my life. I never finished anything. Oddly, Matcher Rules resulted from a pact I made with a friend. We were waiting in line for a Harry Potter movie and bemoaning our unfinished projects. We agreed to meet once a month and committed to completing a chapter a month, no matter what. We called it the Deadline Club. I went home and started writing. The first draft of Matcher Rules was finished a year later. I’m still writing.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from? What/Who is your inspiration?
The characters show up first. Stella in Matcher Rules came from a song by Crosby, Stills, and Nash called ‘Helplessly Hoping’. I built the world and the plot around Stella. Rhona, in The Bone Road, was inspired by a Leonard Cohen song ‘Who By Fire’. I added bits and pieces from my life and other people’s stories, and by the time I finished I don’t think anyone would connect the songs and the stories except me.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
For a few years I had the Deadline Club review chapter by chapter but when that finished, I used a writer’s workshop for some of the critiques. The manuscript of The Bone Road was read and critiqued by a few of my friends whose judgment I trust, mostly by a friend of mine who reads a lot of fantasy and other genre. She lives in Texas. I was emailing her chunks of the story as I finished the final edit and I knew the book was working when she complained about the time interval between chunks.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Yes, but only through web sites such as Goodreads or bloggers I trust. Such as you. There will be a Goodreads giveaway of The Bone Road on June 25.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes, unfortunately. Lois Macmaster Bujold said it was a good way to go crazy, and she’s right. Of course when readers say complimentary things it’s lovely but when they don’t, especially when they completely miss the point of the story, it’s frustrating. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
Years ago, a very good friend of mine read an early draft of a manuscript. She told me I had no idea how to use point-of-view. I was offended at the time but the criticism stayed with me. So I did research and attended a few workshops on POV. Turned out she was right.

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
Absolutely not. Never. Their opinion is theirs, not mine. I am grateful they took the time to read the book and the time to write the review. While I would love it if everyone adored my books, there’s no way that’s possible.

Who designed the Cover of your books?
As I have mentioned in a few other interviews, I have the artistic skills of a moldy potato. My book covers have both been done by the marvelous Rhea Ewing who is a joy to work with. We just finished the redesign of the ebook cover of The Bone Road, so it would stand out more as a thumbnail. So the paperback edition and the ebook have a different cover. It’s the exact same text; trust me.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
Both. The Bone Road was always, from the beginning, The Bone Road. The title Matcher Rules came to me after I had two-thirds of the book written under another title. The new book has a working title The Dog of Pell, but I may change that later. As long as it feels right, I keep it.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
With characters, I try out several names until I find one that feels right for the character. Place names are harder; sometimes I make lists and pull at random from the lists, sometimes I start with a familiar word and play with the spelling, and very rarely, a place will name itself.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
For major characters, their personality and traits are worked out before I start. For minor characters, I make them up as I go.

Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out?
Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I’m trying to do more planning, getting as much detail in place as possible before writing. It’s absolutely essential I have the ending blocked out. I didn’t do that with The Bone Road and I bitterly regretted it.

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller?
As far as I can tell, breaking all the rules. The Stieg Larsson series beginning with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo starts with a block of expository text, is a translation from the Swedish, and is full of dense information about the Swedish social system and their government. All the writer’s web sites and workshops tell you not to do that. They also say that children’s books are never best sellers. Like Harry Potter. Something in a book will strike a chord in the reading public and we have a best seller. Then everyone is wise after the event and there’re a lot of copycats. Until someone else breaks all the rules.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
No, I’ve never had writer’s block. What I have is laziness: I can always think of something time-wasting I’d rather do than sit down and write. So I try to do a minimum number of words a day. That gets me in front of the computer and once I’m there I generally do more. Sitting down is the hard part.

What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
I watch a lot of movies and I’m following about ten television series. But my favorite recreation is reading and re-rereading.

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
Yes, all the time. I’m always tossing in events that have happened to me, or things that were said to me, often years ago. One of my grandmothers once told me her life had had more bad years than good. I thought that was in expressively sad, and it’s a line I gave to a character in The Bone Road. On basing characters on people I have known, the heroes tend to be made up but the villains are based on horrible people I’ve known with the identifying bits removed. Revenge is a wonderful thing.

Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
Many. First on the list is Lois McMaster Bujold. She is amazing. Other authors in fantasy and science fiction are J. K. Rowling, Dave Duncan, Elizabeth Lynn, Alexsi Panshin, and Ursula K. LeGuin.

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook, hardback, or paperback?
Hardback, which is funny because my books aren’t available in hardback. It’s a cost issue. But for my own reading, especially of titles by my favorite authors, there is nothing like reading a hardback.

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
If I like a book I re-read it. Which is why I have around 3,000 books in this house, hardbacks, paperbacks, and ebooks. My lifetime favorite books are The Lord of the Rings, which I read when I was eleven, and re-read at least once a year, and the Harry Potter series, which I have in hardback, paperback, and audiobook. I pretty much have them memorized. I re-read them anyway.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst  book to movie transfer?
No, I don’t think they transfer well. Good books are so dense; it’s impossible to translate that to film unless you want a ten hour movie. I thought the second volume of the Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, was done very well and reflected the book accurately. Bits and pieces of the Harry Potter books are spot on in the movies, but none of the movies really reflect the density of that series. Not even close. The worst movie adaptions I can call to mind are the movie version of Dune, and the Ralph Bakshi animated version of The Lord of the Rings.

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
No. Television didn’t replace radio, the internet won’t replace television, and so on. The format choices simply become wider.

Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
No, I don’t. But I don’t think they were encouraged enough when I was a child either. I had adults tell me I was reading too much. I don’t think it is possible for a child to read too much.

Did you have a favourite author as a child?
J.R.R. Tolkien. Period.

Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
I still have my original hardbacks, all three volumes, of The Lord of The Rings.

Do you have a favourite genre of book?
No I do not. I read fantasy, mystery, hard and soft science fiction, thrillers, and I enjoy all of them.

Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
There are some classics I’ve never made it through: Ulysses, A Tale of Two Cities, War and Peace.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Find a balance between thinking for yourself and learning from criticism. Also, read and write as much as you can.

If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
J.K. Rowling, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Ursula LeGuin. Although I’d be too terrified to open my mouth, I would love to listen to the conversation.

Where can readers follow you?

Your Website ?
Your Facebook Page?
Your Goodreads Author Page?

The Bone Road by Mary Holland is just one of the fantastic books in the Dystopain, Steampunk, Post-Apocalyptic & Zombie genre Giveaway!

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