Saturday, May 18, 2019

Meghan Holloway

Meghan Holloway found her first Nancy Drew mystery in a sun-dappled attic at the age of eight and subsequently fell in love with the grip and tautness of a well-told mystery. She flew an airplane before she learned how to drive a car, did her undergrad work in Creative Writing in the sweltering south, and finished a Masters of Library and Information Science in the blustery north. She spent a summer and fall in Maine picking peaches and apples, traveled the world for a few years, and did a stint fighting crime in the records section of a police department.​​

She now lives in the foothills of the Appalachians with her standard poodle and spends her days as a scientist with the requisite glasses but minus the lab coat.

Holloway's new novel is Once More Unto the Breach.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I just turned in my 2020 release to my publisher, and I am giving myself a bit of a break before I dive into my next work in progress. Of course, much of this break will be spent reading research books for my next project, but I am also putting aside time to reread some of my favorites and catch up on books that have been lingering in my ‘To Be Read’ pile.

The books I am rereading include Atonement, All the Light We Cannot See, and All Quiet on the Western Front.

Ian McEwan’s intellectual and literary style always takes my breath away. The postmodern era brought metafiction to prominence, and I am intrigued by works that both tell a story and explore the art of storytelling. But even more than the style, I love the theme of redemption in Atonement. It is the core theme of Once More Unto the Breach as well. We all carry regrets with us, we all live under the shadow of our mistakes, and I am always engrossed by stories that are unflinching in their exploration of those mistakes.

What I love about Anthony Doerr’s hauntingly brilliant masterpiece is that every sliver of backstory you learn adds a deeper level of understanding to the unfolding narrative. I aimed for that same layering in Once More Unto the Breach, with each perspective and every flashback giving the reader deeper insight into the characters and their relationship to one another. In All the Light We Cannot See, the storytelling is as captivating as the plot, and I find Doerr’s lyricism utterly inspiring.

With a protagonist who is a Great War veteran, I knew I had to portray shell shock authentically, and Erich Maria Remarque’s book is one I always come back to for insight into the emotional wounds of war. All Quiet on the Western Front is a bleakly and gut-wrenchingly beautiful saga that is a detailed depiction of a generation utterly ravaged by a war that was on a scale never before seen. The wounding and the detachment of the Lost Generation is so viscerally shown in this book. To my mind, it is the best war story in existence. And like all true war stories, it is a vehement anti-war tome.

I am also catching up on some phenomenal nonfiction and fiction. Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy by Larry Loftis is a brilliant, harrowing piece of nonfiction that reads like a spy thriller. A.J. Baime’s The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World is an engrossing read about the man thrust into a position of leadership at one of the most tumultuous, pivotal points in history. Jane Healey’s The Beantown Girls is a vivid story of sisterhood, love, and sacrifice that centers around a little-known group of inspiring women in WWII. The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox is a beautiful gothic mystery and romance with a wonderful cast of characters and an engaging plot.

While a large portion of my reading revolves around the World Wars, I love a riveting read, nonfiction or fiction, regardless of time period. If you have any recommendations for great reads, send them my way. What has kept you relentlessly turning the pages into the wee hours of the morning lately?
Visit Meghan Holloway's website, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Istagram.

My Book, The Movie: Once More Unto the Breach.

The Page 69 Test: Once More Unto the Breach.

--Marshal Zeringue