Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


If there’s one question I’m always asked once people find out how long I’ve been studying muay thai, it’s “why haven’t you fought?”

The truth is, I’ve come close to competing several times. Why it hasn’t happened yet is a complicated, convoluted, somewhat unbelievable (but completely true!) story that I’ll share with you today.

In the beginning, all I really cared about was learning this martial art. I wasn’t concerned with fighting, but since some of the top fighters in the country trained at my club, it was only natural that I’d start thinking along those lines. However, fate had other plans….

Coach #1: Carlos. My training really started to take shape with Carlos, who taught me how to box. Just when I was thinking that I could be ready to fight in the foreseeable future, Carlos disappeared. He just wasn’t at the dojo anymore. Rumor has it that he got into a dispute with the owner–whatever the reason, he was gone.

Coach #2: Robert. Robert was a top-ranked kickboxer. And he was an incredible coach. My first month of one-on-one lessons with him was fantastic. The second month, not so good. He showed up late, or didn’t come to the gym at all. Turns out Robert got involved with the wrong crowd and had to escape into the witness protection program. Haven’t heard from him since.

Coach #3: Mario. Mario had his own coaching techniques, which involved dropping his pants in the middle of practice and other lewd and lascivious behaviour. I still learned a lot from him, especially when he was banned from my club and had to be my only sparring partner. Eventually, though, the sexual harassment was too much to deal with. I didn’t want to fight that badly.

Coach #4: JT. By this time, the owner of my first dojo was in jail, and his greatest fighter was in the witness protection program. So I switched gears completely and trained at a boxing gym. JT was more than willing to beat me to a pulp to prepare me for fighting. Then one day, he was gone…another (rumoured) casualty of a fight with a club owner. And soon after, I shattered my left wrist on a compacted uppercut bag.

My wrist took a long time to heal. During this period, I became pretty disillusioned with the idea of fighting. There were some horror stories of women having one fight in the ring and becoming permanently brain-damaged as a result. It didn’t seem worth it. I still took some kickboxing and boxing classes at my health club, but only for conditioning. I’d given up hope of ever belonging to a real dojo again.

Enter KWest. I knew the club owner from my first dojo, where we’d both been students. I decided to give his gym a try, and I really liked how he prepared his students for fighting. I began to consider the possibility again…maybe I should fight, if only to have something to show for all this training.

Then I broke my wrist. Again. The left one for the second time in 2008, and the right one in 2010. Neither injury was the result of kickboxing or boxing.

Now I’m back, I’m healed, and ready to give it one more shot. Since I’m pretty sure my current kru doesn’t have the witness protection program in his future, I’m cautiously optimistic….

Happy Canada Day!

I’ll be taking a few days off from the blog for a well-earned rest, and to hopefully catch up on my novel. I wish all my readers a wonderful holiday. See you on the 6th!

Thanks for reading!
1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.


  1. Jocé

    Wow that’s one fascinating story, Holli. And from it I’ve made this deduction: you stay the course; you are certainly not a quitter. 🙂 And for that very reason I just know your novels will be out there on the shelves in print one day. Take care of your wrists. Keep up the good fight. Happy Canada Day. Cheers. J

  2. Story Teller

    Aw, thanks so much, Jocelyn. That’s very sweet of you to say. I certainly hope you’re right! I wish I’d put the same consistent effort into my books that I have into kickboxing…for some reason, I find making the time to write harder, but that has to change. Happy Canada Day to you, too!


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