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Seven Questions for Cary Holladay

In Seven Questions, we interview writers, editors, designers, and others in publishing. Today we welcome Cary Holladay to the blog. Her story “Horse People” first appeared in Ecotone’s evolution issue and was reprinted in New Stories from the South 2009. It now has a home in Astoria to Zion: Twenty-Six Stories of Risk and Abandon from Ecotone’s First Decade.

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What books are open on your desk right now?

American Hipster: A Life of Herbert Huncke, The Times Square Hustler Who Inspired the Beat Movement, by Hilary Holladay, my younger sister.

Where did the idea for “Horse People,” your story in Astoria to Zion, come from?

A story my father told when he was old, or as he put it, “way up in years.” He kept saying, “When I was about eight, my father took me to get a cook. We rode on horses, way back in the woods.” The cook, Philip, was a young black man from a big family. He cooked for my father’s family for fifty years. That recollection, together with what I knew of my father’s life, Philip’s life, and of the place—Rapidan, Virginia—became “Horse People.”

If you could change one thing about a classic work of literature, what would it be?

Barren Ground, a novel by Ellen Glasgow, published in 1925, is a wonderful story of a woman’s triumph over failed love and rejection. Hardworking protagonist Dorinda Oakley becomes a successful dairy farmer. However, she ossifies into a joyless Lady Bountiful. I’d change the ending so she finally falls in love again and has fun.

Which fictional character would you choose to go on a road trip with, and where would you go?

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