I've had people ask me why I chose to give my main character the dark and troubled history that she has. The adage "write what you know" very much applies to The Holly Novels. I have worked with children who have been abused, and some of their stories are so horrifying that they left me sick to my stomach and in tears. But that is their reality, and just because it's uncomfortable for us to hear and imagine, doesn't mean it should be hidden and ignored.
I've seen what a shattered childhood can do to a person--the trust issues, the low sense of self-worth, the fear of physical contact, the barrier that always seems to be between that person and others.
It's a hard way to live. Unfortunately, some of the kids I worked with were in so much pain that they decided they didn't want to live any longer, and it breaks my heart to think about it, to realize that I can't say, "Hey, just come talk to me about it. We'll get through it."
Holly is a representation of those children, and the struggles they face as they try to build a normal life for themselves as adults. To me, she is an example of resilience and hope. She never lets the pain and darkness consume her, and she never stops fighting. Every day, she is determined to find something good in a broken world--a light in the darkness that seems to surround us all.
She learns to trust and build relationships. She learns that it's okay to be vulnerable, because that doesn't make a person weak. It makes them brave enough to admit that they need help.
I want readers to watch her grow and heal. I want them to see her pain and understand it. I want victims of abuse to be able to relate to her and realize that there is a light in the darkness, but sometimes they just have to seek it out. I want them to recognize that no matter how dark the circumstances seem, there is always hope.