About Mika Ashley Hollinger
I was born July 28, 1947 in the small East Coast Florida town of Melbourne. I spent my childhood in the tiny community of Micco, located 25 miles south of Melbourne. Our house was located on the edge of a beautiful teeming little swamp. I spent hours everyday walking and discovering the wonders of that lovely active swamp. My story, Precious Bones, is fiction. Many of the characters are derived from the cast of colorful swamp people that I learned to know and love, but the story and characters are fiction.
I was blessed to live a simple humble life with my parents. We did not have electricity until I was 10 years old. I learned from a very early age to love and respect all life and wildlife. My father gave me my first .22 caliber rifle when I was eight years old. This was a normal practice in that area and back in that day. I was taught how to care for and clean it and to respect it. All my friends had guns at that time. But it never would have occurred to any one of us to harm another human being with it. It was used for hunting food and for protection from predators. Although during my life I never took an animal’s life for food, my father and my friends did. For most of my life I have been a very strong animal rights advocate and a strict vegetarian for over 40 years.
After graduating from high school and leaving home, I got married and became a very young mother. After my marriage ended, I went out adventuring and eventually fell in love with sailboats. For ten years, from 20 to 30 years old I sailed around the oceans. I sailed the Caribbean, Central America and the Panama Canal, the South Pacific. I never made it all the way around the world. Once I reached Australia, it became obvious that there were Somalia pirates patrolling the Indian Ocean and it was very dangerous for private boats. I turned around and returned to Fiji, where I was adopted by a Fijian family, and lived for several years, before returning to Hawai’i, that I call home today.
I never had the opportunity to go to college, but even if I had back then, I wanted to be a veterinarian, not a journalist. Writing just comes naturally to me. I have always enjoyed reading and writing.
In 1988, my first granddaughter was born and for the first time in 20 years, along with my Hawaiian husband, I returned to Florida. It had changed so drastically, I hardly knew where I was. We drove down to Micco in search of my old homestead, but instead of the small community and peaceful swamp, there was a bustling trailer park. The swamp had been filled in, the forest cut down, all the birds and animals were gone. It was heartbreaking; it made me cry. I stood on what was once a magnificent teeming swamp and realized that I had to write about my blessed childhood, because my grandchildren and so many more would never experience what I did. That was the beginning of Precious Bones.
I never in my wildest dreams thought my story would eventually be bought and published by one of the largest publishing houses in the world. It has been a pleasure and honor to speak with schools and students about the story, and I will continue to do so whenever asked.
I now live with my husband on a preserved wetland on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i. On occasion it does flood, bringing back many childhood memories. We rescue and raise wild chickens, and have re-introduced native habitat for endangered ducks and birds.
Never lose sight of your dreams….they do come true. Go out explore and enjoy all of nature that you can. Get involved and protect our precious wildlife and environment! Extinction is forever!