I am so excited for today! I first “met” Holly Cupala on the interwebz when I stumbled across her website and her blog, Readergirlz. I read about her book TELL ME A SECRET and yes, stalked her.

It paid off – I won some cool swag and found out just how nice Holly is.

Well, she has graciously stopped by to answer a few questions for me. And what’s more…we are holding a special contest for not one, but TWO SIGNED BOOKS. See the end of this post for more deets. 

But first, the interview –

CF: Why did you begin writing?

HC: There was a pen. I couldn’t help it. Soon there was a story, then more stories, then teen romances before actually experiencing teen romance, then tragic poetry and short stories. I lost it for a little while in there and then remembered, and decided to make it my life’s work.

CF: How long have you been writing?

HC: Since that fateful pen! But as a career, for about 10 years. The first four were spent learning the craft of writing…believe me, there were a lot of dreadful picture book manuscripts in there, a few sales, and a not half-bad middle grade novel beginning. Then we experienced a personal tragedy, and all of that changed. The idea for TELL ME A SECRET fell in lap a few months later. I wrote a little at a time, especially when our daughter was small—four years between idea and sale, and then another two before shelf. So writers out there, don’t be discouraged if it seems to be taking forever. You’re probably exactly where you need to be. Don’t give up.

{Dude, this is exactly what I needed to hear right now}

CF: Tell me a little about your personal writing process? Are you a pantser, or do you outline?

HC: Kind of both? I usually get a movie-trailer kind of overview all in one instant, with the characters, major conflicts, and significant plot twists all at once, then I write a lot of notes and pants it from one scene to the next. A real outline would be way too much work, but I do have a rough idea as I go along.

{and yes, we even have a similar writing process!}

CF: Where do you find your inspiration?

HC: Usually some intersection of life and ideas. I think it might have been Sid Fleischman who said it takes two ideas to spark a story? That’s true for me. Suddenly some idea will hit against memory and ignite. The big fear for me as that someday I will run out of sparks!

CF: What inspired TELL ME A SECRET?

HC: A little of life, and a lot out of nowhere. Maybe like the flint and steel analogy. Two significant losses left a deep chasm, and I honestly didn’t think I would continue writing. But one day a door opened, and the story appeared. I knew it was something I was meant to write.

CF: Are any of the characters in that story like you?

HC: It’s probably fair to say that all of the characters are at least a little like me! I’d take thoughtfulness from Miranda, a little outrageousness from Xanda, awkward truthfulness from Essence, hope from Nik. Then there’s (a very slight case of) germophobia from Hillary, the mom. Seriously, a lot of the ideas explored in the novel—memory and time, whether you can find yourself in other people, the purpose of tragedy—are all things I think about.

CF: I know marketing is an important aspect of this business. What have you done to prepare for your book launch?

HC: I pretty much decided that I get to do this debut book once, so I gave it my all. Plus I have an amazing husband who has done the same—we’ve had a blast together, and we’ve done some crazy stuff! Videos, sneak previews, events. I worked really hard to plan and work ahead as much as possible, especially with the blog tour. We had a bazillion ideas to start, and as we’ve gone along we’ve narrowed it down. You can always do more, but I think it’s good to do what you can do well and what is fun for you!

CF: What can you tell us about your future projects?

HC: My next YA, STREET CREED (tentative title, Fall 2011) is in editor revisions right now. I’m so excited to share it—the story of a 16 year old girl who runs away for secret reasons and meets up with a band of street kids in Seattle…including the boy called Creed. Oh, it’s so romantic. And dark. And about what it means to love. Sigh.

And simmering in the brain right now is a third book…soon to be hitting a hard drive near me…

CF: Time for random quickfire:

  • Candy or cookies?  Candy, definitely. Especially sours.
  • Online or in person? Online and in person! Though I usually have to swallow some shyness first.
  • Book or ebook? Book. Love my books. Ebook…maybe someday.

CF: Is there anything else you would like my readers to know about you or your books?

HC: I am thankful for all of you. If you are a writer, I hope this inspires you to dig deeper in your stories and write what you are meant to write. If you are a teen, I hope you are inspired to pursue your dream. If you are a book lover, I hope you enjoy TELL ME A SECRET!

WOW! Isn’t she just fab!!!

Now, the contest. Just leave me a comment and share your secret (any secret will do). If you spread the love, let me know and you’ll get extra entries (one for each thing you do…). Contest ends Friday, July 23. I’ll announce on Sat. WOO HOO!!!

And yeah, if the winner lives outside the US – we’ll figure something out!

The prize – one SIGNED copy of TELL ME A SECRET.

Ah, but I said there would be two books. Well, I am holding ANOTHER contest for TELL ME A SECRET starting Friday on the Searching for a Good Read blog.

Sweet, right?

Thanks Holly for stopping by – you are truly an inspiration!

 And readers, join me for my Bookanista review of TELL ME A SECRET tomorrow on this blog, and another review and contest for TELL ME A SECRET on the Searching for a Good Read blog on Friday.

******CONTEST NOW CLOSED*************

33 thoughts on “Interview with Holly Cupala and a little contest…

  1. Great interview! Very inspiring!!!

    My secret (which I’m actually confessing on my blog today, gasp!): I want to quit, but can’t. That stinkin’ HOPE thing keeps luring me on. 😉

  2. Great interview, ladies! ha–my writing process sounds just like Holly’s! There’s hope for me yet!! lol. Thanks for posting this, Christine!!

  3. I liked the interview, I would take cookies over candy any day! My secret is that I am very sensitive to other’s criticism.

  4. Hmm, but I think you know all my secrets already LOL Ha! K, how about…I ate an ice cream cone for breakfast today…and lunch…and had another for dessert after dinner….and there was ice cream in that cone too *hides head in shame* It’s hot!!! And our ice maker is broken!! A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do….just sayin ;-D

  5. Don’t enter me in the contest. I just love reading interviews with Holly. I’m a bit of a stalker too. *shifty eyes*

    I like the little life story “There was a pen…”

    Also, best of luck towards 3rd book in 4 weeks, Holly!! Hehehe. It’s going to happen. You know, for some reason, in my head Street Creed has a similar “feel” to Ellen Hopkin’s book in verse Crank (which I absolutely loved, and am saddened because it is at my friend’s house, and it’s hers…she doesn’t want/like it).

  6. Thanks for the interview, it’s inspiring! (:
    My secret is that, maybe, I might just, have a thing for my friends brother.

  7. my secret is I still take the laundry to my moms house for her to do but don’t tell hubby he’s still trying to figure out why the whites get cleaner when I do the laundry as opposed to when he does it lol


  8. Great interview. I like how the story came to Holly right when she needed it the most. 🙂 Stories like this are full of kismet.

    My secret? I often try to do nice things but they backfire. LOL, some daye I’ll have to blog about it…

  9. Oh gosh, a secret, huh? I steal candy from my kids’ goody bags and Halloween/Valentine’s Day treat bags, etc., and hide it for when I really need it (like when I’m writing). I will tweet the contest, too.


  10. Hi Christine,
    Great interview! My secret is that I am a bibliophile (there I’ve said it!) and have read and own many many books which I hide from my partner!!

  11. Hmm, a secret.

    I’ve had a plantar wart on my foot for years. Supposedly they go away on their own after time, but I don’t think this one’s going anywhere unless I get surgery.

    I think most people would totally gross out if they knew.

  12. Hey there, thanks for the invite to this. This is so cool. A secret, huh? That’s hard since I tell alot of stuff on my blog. How about this? It’s a secret that I didn’t make it through Basic Training in the Army the first time around. Couldn’t pass the qualifications on the firing range with my M-16. I got it worked out the second time (they sent me back through right away), but anyway 🙂

    Thanks Christine.

  13. My secret… I ate a moth once. It flew into my ice cream sundae and I THOUGHT I got it out. But then I took a bite of caramel and crunch, crunch, crunch, gag.

    Awesome contest! Thanks for letting me know!~

  14. Let’s see… my secret would have to be… I have ocd, when it comes to spreading butter, and other stuff. Everything on my bread has to touch every part, and evenly. I know.. its’ weird. I can’t help it!


    Thanks for the great interview and giveaway! 🙂

  15. Ooooh, I wanna win. A secret, huh? Well, don’t tell my kids, but I flunked my drivers test the first time by going the wrong way down a one way street. And after the test, I locked my keys in the car. My younger brother, who got his license before me and had driven me to the test (so embarrassing), went knocking on doors to borrow a hanger while I sat on the curb and cried.

  16. Wonderful interview! Very inspirational…Every thing that happens in your life can be a spark for a story…

    Thanks for sharing your writing journey, Holly. Christine…thanks for sharing Holly with us!

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