Here at Writing Through Brambles, we believe that parent writers are basically superheros. Often times being a writer means that you're juggling raising a family, perhaps a full time job, and a passion project. Holli Anderson is a model example of this. She has a degree in nursing, is the Chief Editor at Immortal Works, an amazing mama, and writes paranormal and urban fantasy. Her newest novel, Myrikal, is being released on February 12, and I was excited to sit down with her to discuss it's release!
Rachel Huffmire: In your dystopian world, Myrikal is born during a time when pregnancies are rare. Not only is Myri's existence improbable, but her life is granted unique powers. What inspired you to give Myrikal the powers she has?
Holli Anderson: The inspiration for the whole story came from a video I watched on Facebook, believe it or not. It was a young woman testifying before Congress about being an abortion survivor. She survived a saline abortion attempt and was born 2 months early with chemical burns all over her skin. She was placed in foster care and ended up growing up to be this amazing woman. Her name is Gianna Jesson, I believe. This is also what inspired me to make her most obvious power invulnerability, her skin is impenetrable. The other powers sort of showed themselves as she grew and as the right opportunities presented themselves.
Rachel: From the moment the book starts, we are plunged into a pretty harsh reality. Not only the world Myrikal lives in, but her very parents are shockingly severe. It definitely sets the naturally compassionate Myrikal apart from the world around her once she arrives. Was this inspired by anything?
Holli: I think it stems from my belief that we can choose who we want to be no matter our circumstances. We can choose good even when surrounded by bad.
Rachel: Is there a quality in the real world that you think brings hope to any circumstance?
Holli: Yes – our innate desire to help others. Whenever there’s a disaster anywhere in the world you see normal, everyday people clambering to help in anyway they can. From donations to actually jumping into the disaster area with both feet. I love Mr. Rogers’ quote about helpers, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” No matter your political, religious, cultural beliefs—there are always people who will help in dire circumstances.
Rachel: What was your favorite part about developing Myrikal's character?
Holli: My favorite part was her friendship with Branch. That’s when she really started to believe that her dad was wrong about there not being any “good” people in the world. She saw the good in Branch and was then able to see the good in others, too.
Rachel: You have another series with teenage supers- the Five series. Is this book linked to those in any way, or is this an entirely new story of its own?
Holli: This is an entirely new story of its own.
Rachel: What do you think is an essential trait that people endowed with supernatural powers should have to prevent going villainous?
Holli: The belief that all life is precious and that “with great power comes great responsibility,” haha.
Rachel: You seem to have a set of pretty serious superpowers yourself- You're a mom, nurse, chief editor for Immortal Works, and more! If you could develop three different supernatural abilities, (one for each job just listed) what would they be?
Holli: Haha! Thanks for that boost to my flagging ego! As a mom I would want the gift of wisdom; as a nurse, the gift of healing, of course; and as Chief Editor, the power to stay awake, to never need sleep—I could get so much more done.
Rachel: Haha. I could definitely go for the non-sleeping power. Now you're making me rethink my desire to be Elastigirl. Is there anyone who has been a superhero in your life?
Holli: My dad for sure, he’s a tough old cowboy and I don’t know another human that’s as strong-willed as him or that’s a better grandpa. Also my husband who came into my life at a difficult time and accepted and raised my older two boys as if they were his biologically, and gave me two more boys to add to the herd. The word “step” has never been part of our vocabulary. And, also, my boys, who have all been through some rough spots and with sheer will and perseverance have dragged themselves up out of the mire.
Rachel: I love that answer so much. I think love is a superpower all of it's own. Especially when it's put to the test. So now, If you gained superpowers, which trope would you go after? Would you become a vigilante, stay undercover, have an alter ego, or turn villain?
Holli: Which one of those things would let me be Thor’s girlfriend? Just kidding, Steve. I think I like the alter ego trope because then you’d be able to have somewhat of a normal life on the side.
Rachel: Where do people find you when they need help?
Holli: If I was a superhero? In today’s age of technology, they’d have to message me on FaceBook or text to my Super-phone (because I’m an introvert that hates talking on the phone).
Rachel: You are kind of a wizard at answering messages and emails. I can always count on you to be a first responder. Haha. So, what are you working on next? Will there be a sequel to Myrikal's story or is this a standalone?
Holli: Right now I’m working on an adult romantic thriller (I write those under H.L. Anderson so as not to confuse my YA readers), but I am planning on a sequel to Myrikal. I wasn’t at first, it was going to be a standalone, but one of my beta readers (James Wymore) suggested some things that would make it necessary to have at least one follow-up book. I’ll start working on that when I’m done with the romantic thriller.
Rachel: I love that! Are there any events coming up where readers will be able to find you?
Holli: I will be at the LTUE Writer’s conference in Provo, Utah February 14-16.
My launch party for Myrikal (that will also include James Wymore with his new release, Thug #1) will be February 20th from 6-8 at the Grantsville, Utah Library.
Salt Lake City FanX April 19-20, and you can find me on panels and at the Space Balrogs table where I’ll have all of my books for sale.
Boise Book Fest on June 15th.
Fyrecon June 20-22 in Layton, Utah.
San Diego Comic Con – where I’ll just be wandering around in awe – in July.
Thank you so much Holli for the awesome interview! If you want to learn more about Holli and her writing, you can visit her on Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or her website!
"In a world torn apart by massive earthquakes and an incurable, deadly virus—Myrikal could be the hero they’re waiting for.
Or… she could be the perfect assassin heir to her father’s business.
Can Branch, her only friend, convince her that her dad is wrong? That there really are good people left in the world?
Will Myrikal choose to be the Superhero Branch thinks she is or will she turn to the life of the invincible assassin her dad has trained her to be?"
We're all writers, we're all moms, writing our way through the "brambles" of life and our stories.