Shared Stories of Disaster Survived

A Mendham woman and plane crash survivor recounts her story, as well as the tales of others, in her book, "Bracing For Impact."

Photo courtesy of the publisher.

As the small aircraft in which she was flying plummeted to Earth nearly a decade ago, Robin Holleran thought her life was about to end. Instead, a new adventure began for this Mendham resident and single mother of three.

After recovering from a broken back, Holleran, now 54, stumbled  upon a private Facebook group of airline crash survivors and their harrowing stories. She was intrigued.

“In 2011, I began to think that these firsthand accounts might be worth sharing in a book,” says Holleran. “Some survivors agreed to be interviewed, some didn’t. It’s a personal decision because many have post-traumatic stress.”

One year later, Holleran suffered a stroke (unrelated to the crash) and put the book on hold. But last summer, Lindy Philip, the founder of the Facebook support group, contacted Holleran and persuaded her to resume the project.

The duo sent proposals to 15 publishers. “One response included a contract, so our project quickly became an exercise in speed writing—we had to deliver a 200-page manuscript within just a few months,” Holleran says.

She did the writing as Philip, a Vancouver native, helped with research, interviews and online marketing. Skyhorse Publishing issued the book, Bracing for Impact, last month.

The work, which profiles 16 survivors of commercial-airline and small-plane crashes, includes accounts by Holleran, her father and brother (who each survived a separate plane crash); a Lynyrd Skynryd crew member who lived to tell the tale of his ill-fated flight with the iconic 1970s band; and everyday people who walked away from the unimaginable with a new take on life.

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