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What Does an Eighty-Year-Old Novelist Do for Fun?

She takes risks in her fiction instead of her life.  Rather than fall in love every other month, break up every quarter, get married every ten years, go through a divorce every five, change careers, pursue bankruptcy, win a lottery, spend her windfall, she sits quietly and writes.  Her dialogue may have no destination, her […]

Sometimes Inspired, Sometimes Constructed

Lately I’ve been writing short stories.  I’m discovering, for one thing, that stories may be short, but the time it takes to write them is long.  Another discovery: some stories are inspired, full of heart, creating their own energy as they progress.  Others, not so much. Some of my stories have to be built.  They’re […]

Explaining to a New York City Friend Why I Love Living in Missouri

Dear New York City Friend, Today is a good time to show you a little of Missouri and of my life here and why I’m glad I moved to Columbia. Bill and I like to go to the Howard County Progressive Club meetings in rural Howard County near Columbia.  (We’re actually in Boone County, and […]

Something Out of Nothing

It’s not that I don’t like reading or writing short fiction.  It’s just that I haven’t done it much.  I’ve always preferred novels.  Trying my hand at writing short stories, I see why I’ve avoided them.  They’re fragile.  If you mishandle them, they splinter and the fragments don’t want to be put back together again. […]

What Possesses Me?

The Back Story of No Certain Home.   More than two decades ago I began researching and writing a historical novel for which  no one showed the slightest interest.  During the five years between 1991 and 1996, without encouragement from anyone —in fact, with active discouragement of agents and publishers—I not only researched the life […]

They Said It Couldn’t Be Done

  “You can’t just drive to San Diego on the spur of the moment and expect to learn anything,” said two friends when I described my impulse to turn the weekend into a spontaneous research trip.  “You have to call ahead, locate materials, reserve time in rare book rooms, look at old photographs.” “I’ll take […]


Holland House Books

Literary Fiction

Orla McAlinden. The Flight of the Wren and The Accidental Wife

Award-winning Irish writer of historical fiction

Marlene Lee

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