While growing up, Nicholas Holloway spent summers camping with his family around the June Lake Loop.
The 2007 Yucaipa High School graduate has now used that scenic location near Mammoth Lakes as the setting for his first novel, “The Loop,” a murder mystery involving a young writer. Any similarities perhaps?
Holloway, who now lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, admits he does share similarities with protagonist Gallagher Finch.
“People will tell you that he in some ways is similar to me,” Holloway said. “As a writer, you write what you know. I threw a lot of my traits into his character.”
While they may share traits and professions, the similarities end there as, after a night of partying, Finch wakes up in his June Lake home only to find a bloody body in his bed, which ultimately places him in danger.
“The Loop” is available in ebook format on Amazon and in paperback, purchased directly from JPM Publishing Co. Reviews for the crime thriller on goodreads.com are very positive.
“The book had everything I was looking for, suspense/action/drama/love triangles – all bases were covered. The story was really sad (I won't disclose too much), but my heart really broke for Gal for more reasons than one,” said a reviewer, who called “The Loop” a solid 4.5 read out of five stars.
“Oh my gosh, what an emotional, nail-biting roller coaster,” said another reviewer, who rated it five stars. “This is the first book that I have read by Nicholas Holloway, but hopefully it won’t be the last, I was hooked from page one.”
Holloway, who works remotely as a marketing content writer for a plumbing manufacturer based in Los Angeles, is appreciative and encouraged by the reviews.
“Hearing all the feedback from it has been so, so incredible,” he said. “I think I have found a niche.”
A portion of the book teaser for “The Loop” reads:
“… when he awakens, he discovers a bloody secret tangled in his bedsheets.
“Still grieving from a tragic murder in the family 13 years earlier, Gal (Finch) wonders if old enemies are drawing near once again. He begins to process his nightmares, anxiety, and fear the only way he knows how – he writes. Quickly realizing his own story could be the best-seller he has been dying to publish, Gal weaves together the truth of who killed Daphne Castro, but in the process, he discovers the story that could launch his career may very well be his own deadly ending.
“Family becomes foe, dark secrets resurface, and blood can be found on more than one pair of hands.”
Holloway has already started writing a sequel to “The Loop” that will take place in Golden, Colo., and another, separate murder mystery.
Always a writer
Even at a young age, Holloway, who grew up in Yucaipa, was a storyteller.
“If you talk to my mom and dad, they will tell you I was always writing little things here and there,” he said.
For a long time, Holloway wanted to pursue a career in the movie industry and earned a bachelor’s degree in Radio, TV and Film and a master’s in Screenwriting, both from Cal State Fullerton. He even worked in the film industry in Hollywood for about a year, but ultimately decided that was not for him.
“I kind of just fell out of love with that whole industry. Mainly the way it is run and the people who run it are not my cup of tea,” he said.
He turned his attention to new pursuits.
“I figured why not just write a book,” he said.
As he wrote his tale of suspense, he remembered those family camping trips at June Lake and wanted to use it as the backdrop to his novel.
“I always thought to myself this would be a really cool setting for a murder mystery,” Holloway said about using the scenic 16-mile loop around sparkling glacier lakes. “I had never actually written (a mystery) before, but I really love books like that. I read a lot of Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, kind of darker stuff like that.
“I thought I will try my hand at it and see how it goes.”
In just a few short weeks, the first part of “The Loop” was created.
“I pumped out the first eight chapters – a third of the book – in about three weeks,” Holloway said, recalling how it all began. “It really just came to me.”
He used some of the techniques he learned as a screenwriter to set the tone of “The Loop.”
“With a screenwriting background, they always say you should have a hook right at the beginning of the movie. That is what will keep an audience wanting more,” Holloway said. “I kind of took that, and the first chapters, they kind of hit you like a train.
“You are not really sure what is happening, then boom, he finds a body.”
After the fast start, however, Holloway decided to take a year off and travel. He ventured to New Zealand, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. During that time, he says he didn’t write at all.
It wasn’t until January 2017 when he settled in Austin, where one of his brothers lived, that he began to write again. He soon met his future wife, who was interested in his writing and kept asking for the next chapter to read, and then the next, and the next.
“She basically pushed me to continue doing it,” he said about completing his book. “I dedicated it to her for that. She really helped me finish it up.”
About the same time that Holloway finished “The Loop,” friends were starting the JPM Publishing Co., which mainly focuses on Christian content. “The Loop” is the company’s first non-Christian publication.
“It’s a new venture for both of us,” Holloway said.