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Holly Robinson
Holly Robinson writes about pop culture, parenting, health, science and psychology for national magazines. She is the author of the novels Chance Harbor, Haven Lake, Beach Plum Island, and The Wishing Hill, as well as The Gerbil Farmer's Daughter: A Memoir. Read excerpts of her books as well as some of her recent articles and essays at

Entries by Holly Robinson

What Happened When My Characters Hijacked My Novel

(2) Comments | Posted November 20, 2015 | 12:03 PM

I write emotional family mysteries, the sort of fiction where the characters suffer through freakin' horrible crises: abandoned children, missing parents, wandering husbands, suicidal wives, etc. Give me some characters, and I'll show you how to torture them.

When I wrote the synopsis for Folly Cove, a novel about...

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The 5 Worst Things a Writer Can Say

(0) Comments | Posted October 25, 2015 | 10:34 PM


This past week, I launched my fifth novel, Chance Harbor, provoking a friend to exclaim, "Wow, you're popping out books like Tic Tacs, aren't you?"

She has a point. Six years ago, I hadn't even published one book. It took...

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Author Amy Sue Nathan Dishes on Writing, Social Media Savvy and Why Books Are Like M&Ms

(1) Comments | Posted October 12, 2015 | 12:42 PM

Like many writers, I was first introduced to Amy Sue Nathan through her wonderful site, Women's Fiction Writers, which has become one of those essential go-to sites for writers seeking out conversations on every topic imaginable by a broad spectrum of novelists. I wrote a guest...

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Celebrating a 20th Wedding Anniversary and a New Book: What Marriage Has Taught Me About Creativity

(0) Comments | Posted October 6, 2015 | 12:46 PM


This week is a big one for me. I'm celebrating both the launch of Chance Harbor, my fourth novel with Penguin Random House, and my twentieth wedding anniversary with Dan. As I pop the champagne, it's a good time to...

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Discovering Prince Edward Island and Buying a House at the End of the World

(0) Comments | Posted October 3, 2015 | 12:03 AM


A few years after first discovering Prince Edward Island as a single mom with two young children, I invited my second husband, Dan, to see the island for the first time. I was beyond nervous. What if Dan saw this island and...

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How to Love the One You're With (Even If It's a Manuscript): 4 Tips That Really Work

(4) Comments | Posted September 23, 2015 | 5:08 PM

For many writers, word count is everything. Me, not so much. At the start of every manuscript, I might write 2,000 words one day, only to decide that 1800 of those words should be trashed the very next morning.

This particular...

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Discovering Prince Edward Island, My Magic Sweater and the Woman Who Made It

(24) Comments | Posted August 31, 2015 | 9:37 AM


Before buying a house on Prince Edward Island, my husband and I rented places all over the island. Whether we were staying in Tignish or Fortune, Rustico Bay or Souris, though, we always spent time in Charlottetown.

This historic city...

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Discovering Prince Edward Island and a Sister-Writer

(2) Comments | Posted August 12, 2015 | 11:15 PM


After making my first foray to Prince Edward Island with my friend Emily and our four children over twenty years ago, I returned to Massachusetts and vowed to return every year. I made good on that vow.


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Discovering Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables, a Fiddle Festival, and Four Kids in Tow

(13) Comments | Posted July 24, 2015 | 12:38 PM


I received the advance copies of Chance Harbor, my new novel yesterday. The publisher's box arrived at the perfect time: tomorrow I'm going to Prince Edward Island, where much of the book is set.

All of us carry our favorite landscapes inside...

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Suffering Doubts About Your Writing? Four Time-Tested Tips to Help You in Your Darkest Hours

(3) Comments | Posted July 8, 2015 | 12:33 PM


As I raced through the grocery store last Saturday, I ran into another writer, someone I've seen at occasional parties. "Wow," she said. "I see you already have another book out. Good for you!"

Yes, good for me, I thought...

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Why It's Harder to Write the Next Book Than Your Last--And How to Keep Writing Anyway

(1) Comments | Posted June 15, 2015 | 11:23 PM


I published my newest novel, Haven Lake, in April, and I have another book scheduled for publication in October. Yesterday, I started a new manuscript -- my fifth book under contract with NAL/Penguin Random House.

I have experienced more...

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Don't Sweat Your Synopsis. Just Write It! 8 Easy Tips

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2015 | 1:42 PM

Whether you're an aspiring writer pitching a book idea to agents, or a seasoned author whose editor expects a synopsis for each new novel, creating a synopsis can feel like the worst writing you've ever done.

That's because it IS the worst writing you've ever done. Imagine summarizing one of...

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4 Lessons That Revising a Garden Can Teach You About Planting a Novel

(0) Comments | Posted May 27, 2015 | 12:16 PM


Even the doctor was shocked when she saw me last week. "You poor thing!" she said, shaking her head.

That's not what you want your doctor to say to you under any circumstances, but she had a good reason: I came into...

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How One Novelist Was Dragged, Kicking and Screaming, Out of Her Barn to Embrace Social Media

(0) Comments | Posted May 4, 2015 | 11:51 AM


Like most writers, I spend hours alone and doodling on my laptop, even on Saturday nights. Until recently, I had zero interest in fist-bumping people on social media, preferring to spend my time on fiction rather than fall down virtual rabbit holes.


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Are You a Scaredy-Cat Writer? 3 Life Lessons to Give You Courage

(0) Comments | Posted April 24, 2015 | 12:15 PM

The year I turned thirty, I nearly died trekking over a mountain pass in Nepal. This was the same 17,769-foot pass through the Annapurna Circuit where, in October 2014, an unexpected snowstorm took the lives of nearly 40 people.

My adventure could have turned out just as badly. I had...

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One Writer's Homage to Booksellers, Librarians and Readers

(0) Comments | Posted April 4, 2015 | 9:41 PM

There's probably not enough wine in the world to get most writers through a book launch without the jitters. Luckily, writers have lots of people cheering us on.

I'm not only talking about our mothers and spouses, but about our booksellers, librarians...

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7 Tips for Writers Looking for Lucky Breaks

(2) Comments | Posted March 30, 2015 | 1:28 PM

I was walking with my kids on the beach when my father-in-law leaned over the balcony to shout, "Your agent's on the phone! He has a book deal!"

Was that my lucky break as a novelist? Not exactly. Remember Hillary Clinton's concession speech after losing her presidential...

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Raising My Own Flock of Sheep, Almost

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2015 | 2:49 PM

I didn't always love sheep. When I was growing up, my mother kept a small flock in a field next to our house, and our sheep did not exactly stand out as intelligent, or even interesting.

When the sheep shearer arrived, all he had to do was sit...

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Author Rachael Herron Tells Us About Love, the Coolest Writing Desk in the World and Her New Novel

(0) Comments | Posted March 3, 2015 | 3:35 PM


One of my favorite things about being a writer is having the chance to meet other writers whose books I admire. I probably admire few books as much as I do Splinters of Light, my new friend Rachael Herron's powerful, poignant, and...

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Radio Saved My Life

(0) Comments | Posted February 17, 2015 | 3:56 PM

My family always knows where I am by following the sound of my radio. I listen to it when I'm folding laundry, putting on makeup, washing dishes, knitting, soaking in the tub, scrubbing the bathroom, or doing nothing at all.

I don't have a fancy radio. Far from it: mine...

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