The healing power of forgiveness

After being struck by a drunk driver in 1994 and left unable to walk for nearly a year, Holly Payne received a letter from the driver asking for forgiveness. Rather than write a letter, she wrote him the book, Kingdom of Simplicity, with the hope that he will one day be able to forgive himself. A native of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Payne now lives with her husband in Northern California. A screenwriter and private writing coach, Payne spent seven years teaching screenwriting and story development at the Academy of Art University and has spent five years with the faculty of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

She is the author of The Virgin's Knot and The Sound of Blue. Published in nine countries, The Virgin's Knot received critical acclaim as a Contra Costa Times Book Club Pick, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection 2002, a Border's Original Voices Book 2002 and was nominated for The First Novelist Award by the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University. Payne's second novel, The Sound of Blue, is set during the Balkan conflict and is based on a true story of a Serbian refugee who she befriended while teaching English in Hungary.

She received a BA in journalism from the University of Richmond and a MFA from the Master of Professional Writing Program at USC where she produced her first film. She has lived and worked in London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hungary, Turkey, Croatia and continues to travel in search of stories that illuminate the endangered people and places of the world. An avid bicyclist and hiker, she calls the Rocky Mountains of Crested Butte, Colorado her second home and leads a writing retreat there each summer. She is a member of Women For Women International and is currently at work on a new novel of historical fiction set in Bulgaria. Kingdom of Simplicity is the winner of a Marin Arts Council Grant for Fiction.

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