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The Revealing of Holly LeCraw

March 24, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles

Holly
Holly LeCraw debuts on April 6, 2010 with The Swimming Pool — a starred review from Library Journal — and the claim: “An author to watch.”

There are also bestselling authors praising Holly’s novel, including Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club and The Bonesetter’s Daughter) who says:

“THE SWIMMING POOL is as riveting and psychologically complex as Hitchcockian film noir…a tale of entangled lies, complicity, betrayals, and unstoppable consequences.”

The Divining Wand has scheduled a full presentation/review of The Swimming Pool on Monday, April 5, 2010, but, in the meantime, it’s time to meet Holly LeCraw through her “official” bio:

Holly LeCraw was born and raised in Atlanta, and now lives outside of Boston with her husband and three children. Her short fiction has appeared in various publications and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

And here is Holly revealed:

Q: How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: Extremely blessed. Busy. Sometimes exhausting. Always interesting. Sorry, that’s only seven…I am not good at doing what I’m told.

Q: What is your motto or maxim?
A: One of them is Goethe’s “Do not hurry, do not rest.”

Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: I’m not sure that’s possible in this life. The closest we can come is being loved unconditionally by someone.

Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: Losing someone I don’t want to lose…I’m too superstitious, don’t even want to talk about it.

Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: Right here (in my study) is just fine. More than fine.

Q: With whom in history do you most identify?
A: I’ve never thought about it…we are all individuals. I don’t think I’m like anyone else, or vice versa. I have plenty of role models, though. I think Virginia Woolf had the ideal writer’s life, in many ways: breakfast every day at eight, wrote from nine to one, lunch, took a long walk through the countryside, read by the fire after dinner. Discipline, routine. Leonard took excellent care of her and she didn’t have to cook. Heaven.

Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: It’s so hard to say. I admire artists who have stayed true to themselves and have worked all their lives. I saw Peter Mattheissen on Charlie Rose recently—the man is eighty-three and so smart and dignified, so completely present. Or William Maxwell, who was ninety-one when he died and was a working writer until the end. Or Joan Didion or Grace Paley. I guess I am thinking about aging today.

On a completely different note, I’d have to say I admire someone who was truly willing to give his or her life in order to thwart evil—someone like Claus von Stauffenberg or Dietrich Bonhoffer. Although they’re not living. Sorry, not following rules again…

Q: What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: If I knew, then I’d quit using them.

Q: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: I’d want to be effortlessly, genuinely musical.

Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: To have finally done what I said I was going to do, which was write a book.

Q: What’s your greatest flaw?
A: My tendency to procrastinate.

Q: What’s your best quality?
A: Optimism.

Q: What do you regret most?
A: I try not to think that way…that being said, I could have studied harder in college. But I went to grad school to atone.

Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: Maybe a lead singer in a band. Who could also play several instruments. Well.

Q: What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: You’d have to ask the people who pay attention to me!

Q: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: I am fond of narrator-heroes, non-hero heroes: Nick Carraway (Gatsby), Jack Burden (All the King’s Men), Will Barrett (The Last Gentleman). Also both Franny and Zooey.

Q: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A: He’s not a real villain, but Jack Boughton in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead and Home is heartbreaking.

Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: “Dude. It exhausts me just to watch you.”

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: Getting serious now—it’s more than a pet peeve: People spreading hate in the name of God.

Q: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A: Being with my family. Gardening. Or possibly sleeping. I’m serious.

Q: What’s your fantasy profession?
A: No fantasy—I’m doing it.

Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Empathy, sense of humor, irreverence.

Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Well, as my children often point out, pizza has all the food groups.

Q: What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: Oh, man. I don’t know. Loud cheesy stuff from the 80s. Stuff I can dance to. And also the Bach suites for cello.

Q: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: Only 5? You’ve got to be kidding! All the ones I’ve already mentioned, plus John Cheever’s stories, Evening by Susan Minot, So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell, Four Quartets, all of Salinger (although Catcher is my least favorite), Absalom, Absalom and The Unvanquished, all of Peter Taylor, especially A Summons to Memphis, To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Howard’s End, Portrait of a Lady and The Wings of the Dove, The Scarlet Letter, The Sea by John Banville…these are all just off the top of my head, and barely scratching the surface.

Hmm, barely scratching the surface of this debut author’s favorite books causes wonder at how much more there is to learn. Perhaps by following Holly LeCraw on Twitterand becoming a friend on Facebook you may find out.

2 Comments to “The Revealing of Holly LeCraw”


  1. Congrats to Holly. I feel like I just heard of this book the other day and now I am hearing about it everywhere. I can’t wait to read it.

    1
  2. Mary Quackenbush says:

    I’m reading an ARC of THE SWIMMING POOL right now and am really enjoying it! I think about it when I’m not reading it and look forward to picking it back up each time. Good story and very nice writing!

    2

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