Thursday, November 1, 2018

Holly’s Hurricane by Marie Carter

Holly’s Hurricane

Marie Carter

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publisher: Grace Goodrich Press

Date of Publication: November 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1721563531

Number of pages: 192

Cover Artist: Marie Carter

Tagline: …a fantastical ode to New York City’s glorious and horrifying past, as well as a warning to us all for its future.

Book Description:

In the year 2040, Hurricane Diana descends on New York City. Holly Williams, an architect and immigrant from England flees to her home country, staying with her ailing stepdad in Boston, England. Her mother, who has Alzheimer’s, is living in a nursing home nearby.

Holly's purpose in life, it seems, has been to design factories and offices for robotics companies while overseeing the demolition of historic New York buildings. 

While seeking refuge from the hurricane that has destroyed New York City to the point that is barely recognizable, Holly begins to have strange hallucinations in which a mysterious stranger guides her through some of the city’s forgotten and dramatic past.

What others are saying about Holly’s Hurricane

"Holly’s Hurricane, smartly set in the near future after a category 4 hurricane hits New York, will appeal to futurists and history buffs. An absorbing romantic novel that will make you think in new ways about the past, present and future of our most vulnerable cities as humankind battles climate change."—Laurie Gwen Shapiro, author of The Stowaway

"Here is New York City as we have never seen it, devastated by Hurricane Diana in 2040. Here too is our long overdue romantic heroine, Holly Williams, a sixty-year-old architect and immigrant struggling with ailing parents, unruly robotic aides, and an unexpected love interest twelve years her junior. Guided by a Virgil-like figure, Holly begins to realize at last her professional and personal potential as she embarks on a mission to preserve what's left of her adopted city. Prepare to be swept away by the sheer force of Holly's Hurricane—a fantastical ode to New York City's glorious and horrifying past, as well as a warning to us all for its future."—Molly Gaudry, author of We Take Me Apart

"Be prepared to travel through dimensions in time and space in Holly’s Hurricane. This is the kind of novel that haunts you, and you’ll find yourself thinking about it for days to come. You’ll become Holly, a brilliant architect, walking through the ruins of New York City in 2040 after a hurricane has devastated the city.  Gorgeously written and incredibly wise, it’s a page-turner that will leave you on the edge of your seat, wondering if you’ve just looked through the window of our very vulnerable future. But as Marie Carter asks, 'How could something so pretty and intricate emerge from some devastation?' Carter shows us that all is not lost, as she carves the beauty out of the destruction."—Liz Scheid, author of The Shape of Blue


One minute I am
sitting with my mum in the nursing home in Boston, England.
The next I was
transported to the Strid, the stream that lurks about a hundred yards from the
nursing home, with all the danger signs. It looks perfectly benign, but because
of its deadly combination of fast currents and underwater rocks, anyone who has
ever jumped in, or gone swimming in the Strid, has died. They put the first
danger signs up about fifty years after the third person had gone missing, but
still, about twenty years ago some troublemaker had dipped a toe in and was
grabbed by the current as if by a hungry monster, angry with the daredevil for
even tempting fate.
I was standing
by the Strid when I saw a man who looked faintly familiar, sporting pince-nez
glasses, a salt and pepper thick mustache, and wearing a bowler hat. He was
stylishly dressed and a little portly—in fact, I would have said he had a
similar profession to mine—like an architect, except he seemed to be from
another era. He took his hat off as a gesture, and I could see his hair was
parted down the middle. He beckoned me to come closer and gestured for me to
look into the water. The remarkable thing was, I didn’t feel unsafe. There was
something fatherly about the man, something I trusted. As I drew closer and
closer, I noticed a kind of whirlpool gaining more and more momentum in the
Strid. The noise of the water suddenly became deafening which was a shock to
me, as I couldn’t hear it earlier.
The man said
very simply, “Hello, Ms. Williams.”
And then,
without warning, to my horror, the man pushed me in. I was instantly suctioned
into a whirlpool but, to my amazement, I didn’t get wet. And, in spite of my
age, I felt no discomfort. In fact, I felt light, and all of my daily aches and
pains seemed to evaporate. I found myself in a vacuous tunnel-like interior,
and I was falling like Alice down the rabbit hole, but in slow motion, as
though I had developed wings. This was a relief. At my age, broken bones are
harder to repair.
I landed
weightlessly at the bottom of the steps of an imposing building that looked
like an ancient Roman temple. I could barely feel my body, and I noticed I
appeared to be see-through; my hands were opaque. The Architect was right
behind me, looking at me and smiling, very proper and gentlemanly. He began
climbing the steps of the building like an animated fairy sprite, turning and
beckoning me to follow. But I stood gaping with a goldfish mouth, entranced.
The structure was reminiscent of French palaces and Italian basilicas. The
gigantic granite and steel façade was supported by Roman columns. The Architect
bounced impatiently on the steps calling to me, “Ms. Williams,” and becoming
afraid I might lose my guide, I began climbing to the top, punctuating each
stair with a heavy footstep. I felt like a Roman goddess. Staring at the
grandiose clock above me, I noted it was four in the afternoon.
Entering the gargantuan
doors, I could hear crackly announcements being made over a PA system for what
seemed to be the names of places and times. Commuters in stylish heels clicked
past me.
“May I offer you
a tour?” the Architect asked, presenting his elbow, his manners at once
charming and archaic. He even wore elbow patches. “No one can see you,” he
said, as if reading my mind.
“Are we ghosts?”
I asked him, but he scoffed at my remark. Was this it for me? Had I died?
“Where are we?” I pressed.
“The past,” he
“What is this
place?” It felt at once familiar and foreign.
“Penn Station,
New York City, 1920 when it was in its heyday.”
I gasped. I had
read about Old Penn Station when I was studying for my Masters at university
many years ago. I hadn’t thought about it in such a long time.
We commenced
walking at a regal pace. “Penn Station, New York, New York, was born in 1910
and died in 1963,” the man began.
On the interior,
we were greeted by Italian-style shopping arcades with drugstores, clothing
boutiques, and elegant restaurants, separated by columns of creamy, smooth
travertine marble. There were two statues of important-looking men who were
dwarfing the travelers; one was carrying blueprints.
“Not a lot of
New Yorkers know or remember the original Penn Station,” the Architect said,
smiling wistfully. “It was quite glorious, as you can see.” He gestured with
his arm for me to drink in the splendor of Penn Station and I did. The walls
were 150 feet high, I calculated, as I craned my neck upwards towards its
magnificence and abundance of light.
“Let’s look at
the waiting rooms,” he said, guiding me away from the stores, where patrons
were chattering merrily.
In the waiting
room, people were milling around smoking cigars or hugging and kissing, their
faces changed from determined desire to softness as though they had finally
found what they were seeking. Semi-circular windows bathed travelers in
sunbeams. World maps crowded the walls.

the Author:

MARIE CARTER is a Scottish
writer, editor, writing teacher, and tour guide, based in Astoria, NY.

Her first book, The Trapeze
Diaries, based on her experiences of learning trapeze, was published by Hanging
Loose Press. Her novel Holly's Hurricane will be published in November 2018.

Marie has been a guest on NPR,
and has been featured in The New York Times, Queens Gazette, Huffington Post,
QNS, and many other media outlets.

Her work has been published in
Hanging Loose, The Brooklyn Rail, Spectacle, Turntablebluelight, and
Yogacitynyc, among others and in the anthologies The Best Creative Nonfiction
(W. W. Norton, 2007) and Voices of Multiple Sclerosis (LaChance, 2009). She has
also been awarded and attended a residency at the MacDowell Colony.

Marie currently teaches Memoir
and Creative Writing at Gotham Writers' Workshop.

Fascinated by New York City's
macabre and little-known histories in her writing and life, she decided to
further her interest by becoming a licensed tour guide with Boroughs of the
Dead. She created and guides the "Haunting Histories and Legends of
Astoria" tour and also leads other tours in Greenwich Village, Lower
Manhattan, Brooklyn Heights, and Roosevelt Island. She also lectures on various
aspects of New York City's history on a regular basis at Q.E.D. in Astoria,
Marie has provided editorial and
layout and design services to Hanging Loose Press, one of the oldest
independent publishers in the United States. She is the editor of Word Jig: New
Fiction from Scotland (Hanging Loose, 2003) and co-editor of Voices of the City
(Hanging Loose Press, 2004).

Marie graduated from Edinburgh
University with an MA in English Literature.

Interview with Marie Carter

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
A little bit of both. I tend to think of it more as I start out with the characters in a very wide angle. They’re not very clear to me in the early stages of writing the book and I give them lots of room to play. However, as I continue with the story they come more and more into focus. Their behavior becomes more understandable and three-dimensional. As I get closer to the finish line, the characters start to serve the purposes of the story more and more.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
The book is a page-turner and leaves the reader with many questions that don’t get answered until the end of the book. A lot of mysteries are set up in the beginning. What will happen to New York City following this destructive hurricane? Will the protagonist Holly ever go back to New York City? Why is she having these strange hallucinations or dreams about New York City’s past? Are they hallucinations or is this something that is happening to her in another dimension? Who is the mysterious guide who keeps meeting her in the dreams?
I think the book has a lot of urgent themes, climate change being one. It also consistently asks questions about memory, both the personal and the collective. Why do we remember certain events, both historic and personal, and not others? How does that shape our society?
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Yes. I wrote a novel called The Wonder Wheel and a memoir called Let the Shadows Come, but they’re books I ended up abandoning for one reason or another.  Mostly because I couldn’t get them to work the way I wanted them to.
Pen or type writer or computer?
Computer, ultimately. But there is something about writing with a pen that makes me feel more connected to the story. It’s more intimate and personal.
Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
First of all, THANK YOU! This is my second book and it never ceases to amaze me when someone tells me they wrote something I wrote.  I am very grateful for every little bit of support I get.

Holly’s Hurricane was a labor of love for me. At a certain point I became so attached to the character and the situations that I found myself crying over certain scenes. I also found when I finally was ready to let go of the book I had this moment of being really sad that I wouldn’t be hanging out with Holly or Orlando anymore. I hope the reader finds the same level of connection with the story as I did.

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