Gillespie founded the Shocking Real Life Writing Academy in 2007. Since then it has grown into the largest independent writing school in the Southeast.
Gillespie’s work has been optioned by Sony Pictures and Paramount, and she has collaborated with Hollywood hard hitters like Mitch Hurwitz, the creator of Arrested Development, Eric and Kim Tannenbaum, producers of Two and a Half Men, and Amy Palladino, creator of Gilmore Girls. Hollis runs Shocking Real Life, the largest writing school in the Southeast, which offers workshops on book writing, screenwriting, blogging and social media. Kirkus Reviews lauded Gillespie’s “impeccable comic timing” for her first novel, titled Unaccompanied Minor (“A laugh-out-loud thriller about family court, money laundering and skyjacking”). For the same novel, Booklist heralded Gillespie as “a fantastic narrator: smart, funny, angry, and gifted in sarcasm.” Her fifth, titled We Will Be Crashing Shortly, was released in 2015.