THE BOOK: Orders of Protection
PUBLISHED IN: 2019
THE AUTHOR: Jenn Hollmeyer
THE EDITOR: J. Andrew Briseño, series editor
THE PUBLISHER: University of North Texas Press
SUMMARY: In abuse situations, people can go to court for orders of protection. But in these twelve stories, people also seek protection from various demons in unusual ways — by impersonating famous musicians, cooking pet chickens, marching in parades, shooting at coyotes, calling lost dogs, and more. The characters don’t always find their way to safety or even survival, but somehow optimism prevails anyway. Set in Illinois, these subtly linked stories explore circumstances and emotions through details that stay with you far beyond the last page.
THE BACK STORY: An early draft of this book was my thesis at Bennington College. I kept working on the collection for six more years — removing some of the stories and adding new ones, including the title story.
WHY THIS TITLE: The title of the book is also the title of the first story. As I worked on the collection, the theme of protection became a common theme. I wanted to understand these characters’ fears and the emotional barriers they build to protect themselves.
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: The impact of the past on the present interests me as both a writer and a reader (and just as a human). I think others might share my curiosity about the emotional barriers people build in order to move forward with their lives, and how those barriers affect relationships and shape world views.
REVIEW COMMENTS: “This debut collection marks Hollmeyer’s place among storytellers, sentence-scalpel-wielders, & empathetic observers.” — Derek Berry, Free State Review
“Orders of Protection floored me. The range of style, voice, and angles of approach had me checking over and over to confirm I was still reading the same magical book. However, these stories do more than sing their own unique songs. As I read, the myriad voices came together in a perfect harmony of pain, longing, fear, and, however strangely, comfort. It’s been a long time since I read a story collection with such excitement, so eager to see what each new installment would bring.” — Colin Winnette, author of The Job of the Wasp and Haints Stay and Katherine Anne Porter Prize judge
“Jenn Hollmeyer writes deftly, with a poet’s clarity, about ordinary disappointments in life, secrets, and the keepers of those secrets and disappointments who feel achingly familiar. This is a robust collection of stories to savor.” — Patricia Henley, author of Other Heartbreaks
“The prize-winning collection, Orders of Protection, introduces a wonderfully talented writer. Jenn Hollmeyer has a keen eye for the subtleties and pitfalls of family life. She’s smart, tough-minded, and compassionate.” — Lynne Sharon Schwartz, author of The Writing on the Wall
“Jenn Hollmeyer’s sentences come awake on the page and quickly work their way in under the skin. They move forward with rich implication, but they will also bring the reader to a sudden stop. A writer with a deeply engaged imagination, and a strong moral conscience, Hollmeyer has stepped up and claimed her voice.” — Sven Birkerts, author of Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age
AUTHOR PROFILE: Jenn Hollmeyer writes and paints in the Chicago area. She won the 2019 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction for her story collection, Orders of Protection (University of North Texas Press). She was also a finalist for the 2015 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. Jenn’s stories and essays have appeared in AGNI Online, Shenandoah, West Branch Wired, Post Road, Salamander, Meridian, and other journals. She is a founding editor of Fifth Wednesday Journal and holds an MFA in writing and literature from Bennington College. Jenn is currently seeking representation for her first novel. Learn more at jennhollmeyer.com
AUTHOR COMMENTS: I tend to think life is better without barriers, but they’re sometimes necessary for self-preservation. The pandemic of 2020 has certainly taught us the value that physical distance can bring. Emotional distance can be just as important for some, yet much harder to understand. But with understanding comes compassion. I hope readers will come away remembering that everyone in this world is working hard to protect what they hold dear.
LOCAL OUTLETS: Independent bookstores
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: UNT Press and other booksellers
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: email@example.com