Friday, June 18, 2010

The Tell Me a Secret Giveaway!

We welcome our YA Fresh friend, Holly Cupala, to our blog today, to talk about her writing and her debut novel, Tell Me a Secret , releasing June 22 from Harper Teen!


Hi, Holly! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

I have been an SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) groupie for years! When I started out, I thought I wanted to write picture books. I’d written this (ok, don’t laugh, I was just starting out!) 1,600 word rhyming epic picture book poem and was working on illustrations for it…I’m an artist but have since discovered that I am definitely not an illustrator. Anyway, I kept writing and took classes and went to conferences and formed critique groups and wrote a lot of awful stuff, then actually started writing some publishable stuff. But all of it was a little bit at arms’ length.

Then everything sort of fell apart. We lost our first daughter at birth, and the stories I’d been writing just didn’t have any meaning for me. I almost gave up writing. A few months later, I went to an SCBWI conference, and my friend Justina Chen asked if I was thinking of writing about it. All of a sudden, it was like she gave me permission. Moments later, we went to Libba Bray’s session on getting to the heart of your writing, and there it was. In my lap. I started writing.

About a year later, I received an SCBWI Work-In-Progress Grant, so I kept on writing. As I revised, I realized I would probably need an agent. Out of the blue, I met my amazing agent, Edward Necarsulmer IV, who fell in love with the project and was really passionate about it. I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with him. He ended up selling it in a pre-empt to our first choice!

Holly, please accept my condolences on your painful loss, and so glad you could fall back on your craft and get support from helpful writer-friends.


Please tell us about your novel, Tell Me a Secret, and what we can expect from your characters.

It’s been five years since Miranda’s bad-girl sister disappeared into the night and died in a mysterious crash. Five years of holding her family together – her drama-obsessed mother, her disappearing father. In just one year, she will escape to college on the arm of her boyfriend, Kamran, and disappear herself. Until then, she has a new best friend with the keys to unlock her sister’s secret world. But now Miranda has a secret of her own…two lines on the pregnancy test that will shatter everything she hopes for.

Expect secrets, mystery, betrayal, forgiveness, truth, a bit of suspense…and a superhot sci-fi guy.

I can’t wait! Now, what’s up next?

My editor just accepted my second YA novel, STREET CREED (tentative title) for release in Fall 2011. It’s about a girl who trades her suburban life to live on the streets of Seattle. She meets up with a group of homeless kids and the one she is looking for – a boy who calls himself Creed. There are secret reasons why she’s left home, and every one of the kids has a story and secrets of their own. Ultimately she has to make a terrible choice, and she learns a lot about what it means to love.

Would you like to close with a writing tip?

My favorite writing tip is to write as honestly as you possibly can the first time, because it’s really difficult to recapture that rawness and truth when you go back to revise. Each project’s process is a little different for me – the first novel was slow and sometimes painful. I worked through it little by little when our second daughter was a baby, one day a week. Now that I have more time to devote to writing, I try to make the most of it. For the second novel, I discovered the timer, set in 15minute increments, is a wonderful device for outrunning the internal critic. Then I reward myself – with candy or tea or something. I got through most of STREET CREED that way!

Many thanks for visiting with us, Holly!

And I know our readers will be thrilled to learn we’re giving away a signed copy of TELL ME A SECRET. All you need to do to be entered is tell us, in the comments, is why you want to win! The winner will be announced on Monday!

34 fresh comments:

Cozy in Texas said...

I have just started reading YA and would love to be included in the giveaway. Thanks for the interesting interview.
Ann
cozyintexas@yahoo.com

tetewa said...

This would be a new author for me, sounds good! tWarner419@aol.com

jpetroroy said...

I've heard great things about this book. I'd love to win

jpetroroy at gmail dot com

Bee said...

Why I want to win? Well, here goes..

~I came across Tell Me A Secret on the Harper teens page and it was love at first sight!
~I read the excerpt and I couldn't stop.
~I loved Miranda's voice and I loved Xanda from the little that I could read.
~There's something about the cover which is so mysterious that it makes my hair stand on edge.
~Because June 22nd can't come sooner!
~Because I discovered Holly Cupala's website recently, and I love it.
~Also, STREET CREED sounds great.
~And if I don't have this book, I think I'll burst.

Please, please, please let me win. I want this SO MUCH!

Terry Dubbs said...

It sounds like a truly wonderful book - congrats!!!

Cari said...

I'm reading Tell Me a Secret and I love it! Great interview!

Shanise said...

Aww. Great interview. I would love to win this book!

camisadomind(at)yahoo(dot)com

Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

Sounds like a fantastic book, Holly!! Thank you so much for sharing with us on YA Fresh!

Reggie Lynn said...

A new author rising. I would love to read her book TELL ME A SECRET about quiet girl Miranda.

A new author. A new Book. A new Story.

Happy Reading to all.
-Reggie
in ragulto101@yahoo.com

bookaholic said...

Awesome interview!

I want to win this book because-
1stly,I love the cover(love at first sight,anyone?)!
I read an excerpt of the book and I loved it!
Last but not the least...I am literally 'dying' to read the book!!

*fingers crossed**prays to God*

Margay said...

I'd like to win because I love YA and I like the premise of this book. It looks interesting.
Margay

Margay1122(at)aol(dot)com

Erica said...

I can't wait for Street Creed, that sounds awesome! I'd love to win because I've heard such amazing things about her book and I've been looking forward to it for months!

:) Erica
thebookcellar@wi.rr.com

freewriter said...

Sounds like another good book to add to my summer reading.

Jessy said...

I want to read TMAS because I got a 2 chapter preview, it was so good I'm anxious to finish it now.

findjessyhere at gmail dot com

Nikki said...

I want to win because this looks like an amazing book and I cannot get enough of reading amazing books. Reading just makes me happy!

Sylvia said...

I think this book is going to be a really interesting read, and a good one at that! Not to mention, I love realistic fiction, so this book is right up my alley:)
Thanks a lot!

sylvia_uy4(at)yahoo(dot)com

Janie Emaus said...

This sounds like an amazing book, one that I will definitely read.

holly cupala said...

Thank you so much for inviting me to YA Fresh, Tina and Kelly! You gals are fresh and fabulous and I'm honored to know you. And thank you to everyone for stopping by!

TinaFerraro said...

You're welcome, Holly! :)

And a reminder that this contest is staying open all weekend, so keep the comments coming in!

Bookaholic (Jessica) said...

I've been interested in this book for a few months. I remember seeing it on a blog and thinking "wow, that is a beautiful cover"..then I read a little about it and KNEW I had to add it to my list. I've been keeping track of the tour and release info. and can't wait to read it!!

totalbookaholic[at]hotmail[dot]com

Good Golly Miss Holly said...

To put it simply, I would like to win this giveaway because I want to read the book. It's quite high up on my wish list :)

hollytaylor(AT)optusnet.com.au

Brooke said...

Awesome interview! :)
I'd love to win because this book has been at the top of my wishlist for quite a while, it's one of the only books I'm desperate to read.

thewsisterz@yahoo.com

Jeremy West said...

I've heard alot of good things about this book and can't wait to read this! jeremywest91@gmail.com

T.V and Book Addict said...

hehe her picture book story :)

I would love to win her book because I am fascinated by stories dealing with family secrets, especially it's mainly dealing with the sisters. I have a sister and we both love reading these types of books. The whole story itself seems to have way more to it that I'm also interested in though.

sweetmelissa818 said...

I've been waiting for Holly's book for so long! She's an amazing person and it's so exciting!

sweet.me.lissa818@gmail.com

adiee said...

I want this book because it seems just like my kinda book. I love books dealing with secrets and this one sounds so interesting, it's fascinated me.

knightmag@rediffmail.com

Precious said...

Why? I've read so many good reviews on Tell Me a Secret. Aside from that, the bloggers who have reviewed them have been touched to an extent and I want to experience that too as a blogger and a reader. I'm also highly interested in reading fresh YA fiction.

Thanks!

precious_shusky@yahoo.com

Yan said...

Because it looks emotional riveting like a tidal wave. Plus a friend whose book loving instincts I trust the most loves it so I definitely need to read this!

yan.pocky(at)gmail.com

Ekta said...

I'd like to win because summer's here and I want a good book to read! Thanks so much for the giveaway and great interview!

ekta.p7 [at] gmail [dot] com

Sophia said...

I'd love to win because well, first off, I've read all the interviews this week, which gave me a lot of insight on Tell Me a Secret. I also read the excerpt, which made me wish I hadn't, because it made me want to read the whole book sooo mcuh!! I am dying to read this book after hearing so much about it!! Winning this book would save me from actually buying it as I'm short of money right now :) and it would be a great selection to add to my home library!
sophiayunjin@gmail.com

holly cupala said...

You all are so sweet - I wish I could give a book to every one of you!

Erika Lynn said...

I am very sorry for your loss but glad you didn't give up writing. Can't wait to read this one. I have read Miss Match and can't wait for this.

sports[dot]erikalynn[at]gmail[dot]com

mariska said...

Why i (desperately) want to win this book ? Because i've been trying to win this book since last month, but no luck so far ! I do really need to have this book for my own ! :D

uniquas at ymail dot com

Alberto said...
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