Monday, June 28, 2010
Tell Me A Secret Blog Tour; Holly Cupala
I am very excited to welcome Holly Cupala on MarjoleinBookblog, welcome Holly!And many thanks for the kind Dutch words, goed gedaan (well done!) As part of her official blog tour for her new YA novel Tell Me A Secret, which was just launched June 22., she will stop by for an interview, a review of the book will follow soon!
What inspired you to write Tell Me a Secret?
First of all, thank you so much, Marjolein, for inviting me to virtually visit you from across the sea!
Before I started TELL ME A SECRET, I spent several years learning the craft of writing and thought I wanted to write and illustrate children’s picture books and had started a serious middle grade novel. However, a personal tragedy put a stop to all of that – I almost quit writing, but a number of very encouraging writing friends wouldn’t let me. The idea for TELL ME A SECRET fell out of the sky, partly inspired by my loss and many of the related emotions. But Miranda’s story took on a life of its own as I wrote it and eventually became all hers.
How much of you is in the main character of TMAS, Miranda Mathison?
Probably more than a little bit, since we spent so much time in each others’ heads! Even though the details of Miranda’s story are very different from mine, the emotions around her experiences are drawn from life. Grief, love, longing, hope – these are all feelings I’m intimately familiar with. But I think every one of the characters has a little piece of me.
How much of your writing is based on your own experience as a teenager?
Some high school experiences, and quite a few memories from college. A number of those experiences/settings/emotions are blended up into new ways. I have vivid memories of those years, and I tried to draw on them to make the characters and scenes as vivid as I could. My close friends from those years know the secrets, and they’re not telling…!
I heard you won a SCBWI work-in-progress grant for your first book, that must be very exciting! What were the challenges (literary, research, psychological, and logistical) in bringing the book to life?
Thank you! The grant opened so many doors and was such an encouragement – as a writer, you spend months with your laptop with no idea what may become of your manuscript, so the grant was a tremendous signpost to keep going.
Challenges…there were many in all of those areas, as the story began in such a very personal way. Much of Miranda’s journey was a parallel to mine. Logistically, I had parenting to plan around – at first, I hired a nanny for just one day a week, then two. It took a long time to write that way! Now I work during school hours.
Could you tell us about your path to publication? Any sprints or stumbles along the way?
Looking back, it appears pretty straightforward, though at the time it felt like a very looong path. For me it occurred in two parts: learning the craft, and finding the story. To learn the craft, I took classes, formed critique groups, and read everything. The story had to come to me. After I wrote TELL ME A SECRET, I spent several months looking for an agent, but he came to me quite unexpectedly through an SCBWI event. He’s been amazing to work with, and he sold TELL ME A SECRET in a pre-empt to my dream editor!
What did you read as a teen? Which authors inspired you the most? And which are your favorite books and authors now?
I went to a tiny private school growing up and had limited access to the wider world of literature – so when I discovered books like Catcher in the Rye and The Bell Jar, they opened up a whole new world. Not that I didn’t fill my head with teen romances (actually, I wrote two before I experienced teen romance…tragic poetry followed actual romance…). Then I studied world lit at university and fell in love with authors like Eco and Italo Calvino. I love YA, especially intense, thoughtful YA – Laurie Halse Anderson, Ellen Hopkins, Sara Zarr, Deb Caletti.
Do you have a dream for the future of your writing, something you love to accomplish?
The next book! I have a second one in the queue, tentatively titled STREET CREED, for release in Fall 2011. Then there is a third book that’s simmering right now – very intense and multi-faceted, and I know it’s going to be a challenge to write. And I’d really like to try my hand at apocalyptic fantasy.
If you could have dinner with a book character, who would it be and why?
I think Cameron of GOING BOVINE (Libba Bray) could be pretty fun. We could chat String Theory. Coincidentally, the Kamran of TELL ME A SECRET is into String Theory, too…maybe they would be buds!
Thank you again, Marjolein for inviting me to your blog!
Thank you Holly!
The next tour stop of Holly will be at Late Bloomer Online, http://www.latebloomeronline.com/, live chat from 6pm PST/9pm EST!
Want to win some official Tell Me A Secret Swag? (ofcourse you do!)
Leave comments at any official tour stop or Holly’s blog (www.hollycupala.com) throughout the tour! Each comment counts as an entry (one comment per post*)
Tweet about the tour (@hollycupala) and tell what you think!
Post about the tour, then leave a comment at Holly’s blog with a link
Each week's prizes will be announced at Holly’s blog the following week - check
back to see if you've won and contact us at the contact link at
http://www.hollycupala.com/ .(prizes will be hold for two weeks) good luck!
And today the contest is open international!