Local author’s book hits shelves

Published 9:17 am Thursday, April 19, 2012

Less than a month after being diagnosed with a life-altering disease, Bonnie Holland finished publishing arrangements for her book, “Rural Home – Recollections and Reflections.”

“God put an exclamation point where I had a question mark,” Holland said. “I think it’s a sign that He wants me to write more.”

Holland had faced a number of health problems over the past year, but doctors couldn’t find a cause that fit all of her symptoms.

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Finally, on Feb. 6, she was given the diagnoses of “post-polio syndrome,” a condition that affects people who previously contracted polio.

The disease usually appears more than 30 years after contracting polio, and it causes weakness and pain in the muscles, along with fatigue.

“Not many people know anything about it,” Holland said.

The same week she learned of that diagnosis, Holland’s book was accepted by Trafford Publishing, a publishing house based in Bloomington, Ind.

Holland had previously tried to get the book published with a more local firm from Montgomery, but found the publishers to be uncooperative.

“Trafford picked it up and started working with us,” she said.

Trafford agreed to Holland’s recommendations on things like cover design, and even the color of the paper it was printed on – decisions not usually left up to the author.

By March 17, Holland had the first copy of the book in her hand.

“Part of the reason we were able to get it out so quickly is because we saved time by being able to respond almost immediately to their questions or concerns,” she said.

Even before the physical copy hit bookshelves, an e-book company sold 108 copies of the book on March 8.

Now, copies are available at bookstores like Borders, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and in countries around the world from Germany and the UK to Australia.

The book is an “inspirational memoir” about her experiences growing up and going through life.

“I’ve had an unusual and blessed life,” Holland said.

She describes the book as a “two-night read.”

In addition to her writing, Holland is also an acclaimed botanical artist and one of the only people in the country to work with dried and pressed flowers to create framed designs.

Holland said that more writing is in her future because she has promised Trafford a sequel by the end of the year.

She was also sent a tape recorder for her to record the track for the audio copy of her book.

The manuscript for her book has also been sent to a Hollywood firm by her publisher, and the hopes are that stories from the memoir will be adapted for film.

“I had not planned to grow old in a wheelchair, but many challenges in life have turned into blessings,” Holland said. “I think this will be the same.”

She lives with her husband, Gene Sykes, less than a mile into Pike County.

“I’m fortunate to have a husband who helps and never complains,” she said. “I’ve just been blessed.”

For more information about “Rural Home – Recollections and Reflections,” visit http://bookstore.trafford.com.