M.J. Holt

I really like a thrilling, action packed, mystery. I love to read them and I love to write them. Given that, here is a thimble-full of my journey so far.

I abandoned the big city to live on the family farm with my husband and many animals on a peninsula in Puget Sound. Our animals include rescue dogs and cats, ducks, geese, and retired hens. I gave my cattle, yes, I had a herd of polled Herefords, to my cousin who is now the farmer. We still live on the farm.

I became a professional writer at sixteen, writing a weekly column for the Bremerton Sun (now the Kitsap Sun). Throughout my career as a management consultant working with startup and fast growth companies, I always wrote, mostly business articles and documents. However, I feel as though I have finally returned to my heart’s work of writing fiction.

In fiction, the author creates a world where all the disparate experiences and observations can be joined into a new way to examine one’s life. For example, I had very good, loving, and supportive parents. However, I have met vicious, greedy, unloving parents, and I have met their damaged children. Some have been busy damaging their own children, or running amuck with drugs and alcohol, getting into bar fights, and acting in ways that are damaging to themselves and others. My parents made a pact with themselves to consciously live differently. I have known several people who were murdered. I knew a man at the time that his mother was murdered and listened to his pain. I went to first grade with a little girl whose insane mother put ink in her sandwich for grape jelly, tried to drown her in the bathtub, and more. I was scared of her as was everyone else because her experiences were so outside of the norm of our own lives.

Crime fiction drew me to it because it pits the good of our world against the aberrant. In some stories, like my Stella Fargo’s stories, the viewpoint is from the good person coping with the aberrant, evil parts of the world, and trying to do her part to make life better, and survive. In some stories, the character takes a different route to survive, as in “No Statute of Limitations,” in Mysti Berry’s anthology, Low Down Dirty Vote, Vol. 2. “Fire Cat,” in Shannon Page’s anthology, Black-Eyed Peas on New Year's Day, the nameless protagonist is not a nice person, yet like us all, she is not one thing.

This famous quotation of Socrates, "The unexamined life is not worth living" (Ancient Greek: ὁ ... ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ) (with thanks to Wikipedia) is true for me in writing crime fiction. Filtered through Plato, is Socrates’ Allegory of the Cave. People chained in a cave can only see the reflection of the world behind them, and only when they are released can they see reality, and learn. I feel that this is what fiction does for the reader, and the writer.

In addition to examining my life and the world we all live in, I really like a thrilling, action packed, mystery. I hope you enjoy my stories.