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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A very special feature at Story Siren

Tell Me a Secret - Worldwide Blog Tour

Today we have a very special feature for the TELL ME A SECRET Virtual Tour...a virtual tour of TMAS locations around Seattle (including the creepy forehead kiss...)!

The movie is premiering with Kristi over at The Story Siren, who not only created the 2010 Debut Challenge, but she chose TELL ME A SECRET as one of her own challenge books and spread the secret word in her own, inimitable way.

I hope you like it...comment at my blog and Kristi's to enter this week's TMAS *prize drawing for signed books and more.

Plus I was invited by the very awesome author Stephanie Kuehnert (BALLADS OF SUBURBIA) to stop by for her Women Who Rock feature (including a TMAS reading and giveaway!), as well as chatting about writing secrets with my fellow debut Jenn Hubbard (THE SECRET YEAR).

Off we go!

(*full entry details here)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Going international at Marjolein's Book Blog!

Tell Me a Secret - Worldwide Blog Tour

Today I've packed my bags for a virtual visit to The Netherlands with Marjolein's Book Blog! We're talking about characters, memories, and the path to publication - plus I have a special message (bilingual even!) for Marjolein's Dutch audience, thanks to my beautiful friend Adriana who helped me translate!

Today's comments are open internationally - so don't forget to comment here & at Marjolein's blog for a chance at this week's prizes!

Back from ALA, which was quite incredible! More soon!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Secrets at A Good Addiction

Comment for a chance to win this week's awesome prizes!

Tell Me a Secret - Worldwide Blog Tour

Today's blog tour stop is with Kari at A Good Addiction! In her review of TELL ME A SECRET, Kari said, "Emotional, tumultuous, and encapsulating...a stunning debut.” We're chatting about art, fear, and teen pregnancy in lit.

Don't forget to comment here and at Kari's blog for a *chance to win this week's prizes!

(U.S. and Canadian residents today)

See you on the road!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

#ALA10: Signing at Harper at 3pm!

Hope to see you! And if you give me a book to sign, I'll give you one of these!

Secret candy!

P.S. Did you see this yet?

All I have to say is, it's amazing what the best friend since 10th grade can get a person to do. And many thanks to Sharon Loves Books and Cats for premiering!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Secret Contests...

Here's a quick recap of ways you can win a copy of TELL ME A SECRET:

Sydney Salter at My Big Nose is giving one away here (closes 6/29)...

La Femme Readers is running a 24-hour international contest! Quick quick!

Comment on TMAS Story Secrets right here at my blog (closes 6/28).

Comment on TMAS Blog Tour posts, both at my blog and tour stops, to be entered in weekly signed book and prize *drawings!

(*closes at the end of each week - US and Canada only except on specified days, see tour info for details).

Speaking of which, it's been a crazy, book-birthday-partying, wonderful week! I hope to announce Week 1, Week 2, Book Birthday, and Story Secrets winners next week. Lots of fun prizes to give away!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cat craziness! La Femme Readers! ALA! And Cake!

First, there is a very special, very sneaky, and perhaps very crazy TMAS movie premiere over at Sharon Loves Books and Cats. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Tell Me a Secret - Worldwide Blog Tour
Ok, so today's tour stop is an interview with the amazing Eleni at La Femme Readers - we're chatting covers, inspiration, and what I'd change if I had it to do all over. Comment here and there for a chance to win this week's prizes (details & rules here), plus Eleni is holding her own international 24-hour TELL ME A SECRET giveaway! Yay!
ALA Conference!
I'll be at the ALA conference in DC this weekend, starting with kidlit drink night tonight! I'm signing brand new fresh yummy copies of TELL ME A SECRET at the HarperCollins booth at 3pm on Sunday! Stop by to see me!
Oh, and RT Book Reviews wrote a really nice review of TMAS (you have to be a subscriber to read it, but they said "Be prepared for an excellent, emotional read.") and invited me to do an Author Spotlight!
Now, on to DIY Friday:
Miranda, the main character in Tell Me a Secret, is an artist - she draws labyrinths to make sense of her memories. So when I was checking out labyrinth images on Google, I found this most awesome labyrinth cake at Cake Central.

(Not that I'll be attempting to construct a labyrinth cake anytime soon, but it makes a yummy DIY Friday!)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Story Secrets: TELL ME A SECRET + giveaway!

Tell Me a Secret - Worldwide Blog Tour

Today's blog tour stop is at Little Willow's Bildungsroman blog, where we're chatting the intricacies of sister relationships, family secrets, and why names are important in TMAS - comment here or there to win! (full entry details here.)

Also, YA author Sydney Salter and I discuss stalker ex-boyfriends (and her TELL ME A SECRET giveaway!), and I'm chatting with FREEFALL debut author Mindi Scott over here about Magic 8-balls, music, and superstitions.


It feels a little funny to be telling my own Story Secrets today, after over twenty YA authors have been spilling theirs since the beginning of 2010. In fact, I'm pretty amazed that the secret is out, after being in my heart for six years!

So I thought I would tell you a bit of the story behind TELL ME A SECRET.

It's been five years since Miranda's sister died in a mysterious and tragic accident. For five years, Miranda has been holding her family together between her suffocating mother and her absentee father - but she longs to escape as Xanda would have. Now, just as Miranda has everything she's hoped for - a ticket to art school, a new friend to unlock her sister's secrets, and a dreamy boyfriend to fly her away - Miranda has a secret, too...one that will destroy everything, and send her on a path to discover her own future.

The idea for TELL ME A SECRET landed in my lap after a painful personal tragedy. Before that, I had been writing stories that were clever or funny but didn't delve into what was meaningful to me. Our experience changed everything, and I almost quit - until a friend, Justina Chen (author of NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL), opened a door and asked if I was thinking of writing about it. We were at a conference, and right after that, we went to hear Libba Bray talk about "Shutting off your brain and getting to the heart of your writing." And that's when the story landed.

I just found the notes I madly scribbled in those precious seconds before the idea took flight again, so I thought I would share a few:

Good-ish girl, double life, get pregnant - parents want her to give up, she wants to abort, boyfriend disappears.

Lives in a fantasy world, what is good versus what is real, forced to seek answers for herself.

Theme of different faces in different areas of her life - each mask stripped away one by one until the real self is left. Process of darkness coming to light.

It's been interesting to see how the story evolved - Kamran, for instance, became much more than the deadbeat boyfriend. Xanda's story emerged. Many characters had secrets, some of them a surprise to me! But some of the themes are still there.

In the original notes, Miranda's situation was supposed to have a very different, and perhaps much more tragic outcome - but when I got there, I couldn't write it. That's when my friend, Janet Lee Carey (the amazing DRAGONS OF NOOR comes out in October from Egmont USA), suggested that maybe the story didn't have to go that way. Maybe Miranda's story could be hers, and not mine. So she closed a door in much the same way Justina opened one.

You will have to read TELL ME A SECRET to find out how Miranda's story ends!


I found one more ARC that I saved especially for today's giveaway! Now is your chance to tell us a) why you want to read TELL ME A SECRET, b) a secret you have told, or c) a secret idea you've been longing to write about (disclosure of secret not required). The contest will be open until Monday at 5pm PST (US/Canada only at this time, but there's an international contest announced Fri!). Plus comments today go toward this week's TMAS Tour prizes - comment away!

TMAS Tour: Blog Realm and Live Chat at Inkpop!

Tell Me a Secret - Worldwide Blog Tour

I'm especially excited to visit my graphic novel writer and artist friend Realm Lovejoy's blog today - she has penned the most amazing fusion of sci-fi coolness, called THE CLAN, which you can check out here.

And get this: Realm is creating an original graphic illustration of the TMAS characters. I can't wait to see it!

TMAS around the blogosphere: an interview with Literary Road Trip, a stunning review from the Seattle Book Examiner, writing chat with YA author Janice Hardy, and a five mushroom review from Book Crazy!

--> Then, at 2pm PST/5pm EST, I'll be chatting LIVE at Inkpop, the HarperTeen site devoted to all things writing! We'll talk about blogging, novel writing, finding inspiration, and whatever else comes up! Hope to see you!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

TELL ME A SECRET Virtual Birthday Party!!!!

Hi, all! Welcome to the book birthday party for TELL ME A SECRET!

We have party music, snacks and drinks (from Café Shiraz, of course), quizzes, secrets, and prizes, prizes, prizes! Behind every link is a secret.... (Comment, tweet, and follow for chances to win! Details below.) And check out the amazing party crowd!

See how excited I am to party and give away swag??

First, we've got to create the mood...

What to wear?
When they go out, Miranda's mysterious new friend Delaney wants to wear a safety-pin dress Miranda's sister "painstakingly assembled like rock-star chain mail." What do you wear when you go out?
Take the official TMAS quiz to find out what your clothes say about you (and a little about each of the characters). Then come back and tell us who you are!
And if you haven't seen it already, see what the characters wear on tour - including a special appearance by Ariel:

Café Shiraz is now open for business!
On their first date, Kamran (also known as the superhot sci-fi guy), takes Miranda to his parents' Mediterranean restaurant, Café Shiraz - specialties include kebabs, pomegranate drinks, and his mom's famous stuffed figs!

Party chatter: secrets, secrets, and more secrets!

It wouldn't be a TELL ME A SECRET party without spilling a few secrets...
In fact, awesome YA authors have been posting secrets in honor of TMAS all month at Little Willow's Bildungsroman! Stop by to see secrets from Ellen Hopkins, the readergirlz divas, Deb Caletti, Sara Zarr, Lauren Oliver, Courtney Scheinmel and more!
Are you a secret-spiller, like Essence, or do you hold them close to your chest, like Delaney? Do you have a secret that will rock your world, like Miranda? Comment below to tell us one of your secrets...which brings me to...

How to win a signed TELL ME A SECRET and swag!
We have lots of goodies to give away today, including a signed first edition of TELL ME A SECRET! Plus a really gorgeous necklace handmade for just this occasion by Georgia Cranston, a.k.a. Gypsy Wings. Look how pretty!

So there are several ways to get your name in the sorting hat*:
  • Leave a comment - tell us a secret! (rated PG, since this is an all-ages party) +2
  • Tweet and/or blog about the party, and include #tellmeasecret and @hollycupala! +2 each
  • Tweet a secret! #tellmeasecret @hollycupala +2 each
  • Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger (points for each) +2 each
  • Make the TELL ME A SECRET cover your profile pic for any of the above +3 each
  • Even better: post a pic of yourself holding the book! +4
  • Tell me in a comment below with links so I can calculate your points!
(*Open to residents of the U.S. and Canada - see tour details for international opportunities!)

Tell Me a Secret - Worldwide Blog Tour
Today's official blog tour stop is at the Teens Read Too Book Club, where we're talking about characters, stars, and six-word memoirs. Don't forget to leave a comment here and at the tour stop for more chances to *win TELL ME A SECRET and secret swag! (open to residents of US and Canada only except on designated tour dates.)
Tomorrow we'll be at The Blog Realm, plus a live chat at INKPOP, 2pm PST/5pm EST!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cover Story with Melissa Walker & Book Birthday tomorrow!

Tell Me a Secret - Worldwide Blog Tour

Today's blog tour stop is a TELL ME A SECRET Cover Story with fabulously fashionable YA author Melissa Walker, who was recently on CBS to chat about the brand new site she started with her friend Anne, Before You Were Hot. You have to check it out!

Comment here & on Melissa's blog for chances to win this week's books and prizes! (details here)

Plus...tomorrow is the official Book Birthday party for TELL ME A SECRET, with music, food, party swag, and lots and lots of secrets. I hope to see you!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Secret Tour Week 2 Preview - and Book Birthday!

Tell Me a Secret

This is just a sneak preview of the blog tour stops coming up this week, including the Book Birthday Bash right here at my blog!

WEEK #2: June 21 - June 25

Monday: Melissa Walker, cover story with YA author of the Violet Series
Tuesday: Teens Read Too (and BOOK BIRTHDAY PARTY here!)
Wednesday: The Blog Realm - super cool manga art!
Wednesday at 2pm PST/5pm EST: Live chat at Inkpop!
Thursday: Little Willow's Bildungsroman - sisters and secrets
Friday: La Femme Readers - more secrets and surprises!

More swag to give away this week - signed books, t-shirts, music, previews and more! (official rules and details here)

And I'll be at ALA in Washington, DC this next weekend signing books! 3pm at the Harper Booth. See you there!

Friday, June 18, 2010

TMAS Blog Tour Week 1 Wrap-Up!

Tell Me a Secret - Worldwide Blog Tour

Hi, everyone! It's not too late to comment on this week's blog tour posts for chances to win a signed copy of TELL ME A SECRET and lots more fun prizes!

Here's the recap of WEEK #1: June 14 - June 18

Monday: Market My Words
Tuesday: Amy Brecount-White, YA author of Forget Her Nots
Wednesday: Book Chic Club
Thursday: Through the Tollbooth
Friday: Alley of Books

Plus Fantastic Book Reviews and YA Fresh are giving away copies of TELL ME A SECRET!

Commenting is open through midnight PST on Sunday (full rules here). I can't wait for you to win!

TMAS Tour: Alley of Books/DIY Friday collage

Comment here and at Alley of Books today for a chance to win this week's prizes!

Tell Me a Secret - Worldwide Blog Tour

The blog tour continues at Mitali Dave's Alley of Books, where we've put together something a little different - a vlog tour of the Cupala art gallery and a passage from TELL ME A SECRET where Miranda makes a collage to reflect her secret, inner life. Watch the video to see what happens, and then comment on my blog and Mitali's for a chance to win this week's prize pack! (US and Canada only.)

The vlog includes art by Jaime Temairik, Heidi Estey, Alice Engelhardt, Linda Wingerter, Trisha Gilmore, Molly Blaisdell, and myself. Enjoy!

Then I'm visiting authors Tina Ferraro and Kelly Parra at YA Fresh today to talk about truth in writing and how life experiences can become story. PLUS they're GIVING AWAY one copy of TELL ME A SECRET - winner announced Monday!

Writers, we can explore the dark side of writing TELL ME A SECRET at HipWriterMama.


And what's up for DIY Friday? I posted this a while back, but since it's in the vlog at Alley of Books, I thought I'd give you the tutorial for how to make those collage coasters:

You need: a few tools, papers, stamps, backing, and medium (e.g. all-pupose sticking sealant stuff) - all items you can find at a craft, art, or maybe fabric store.

I started with a stack of masonite squares cut to 4x4". You could also use illustration board, canvas, wood - anything that will hold up and be acid-free.

I coated the masonite with gesso (primer), let it dry, then painted the edges with plum acrylic paint (I use Golden, but any craft paint is fine).

Then I cut a paper background to 3 7/8" square and coated the masonite and the back of the paper with acrylic matte medium (I use Golden, but you can use Mod Podge, Liquitex, or whatever - matte or glossy, whichever you prefer). This bird paper is my favorite and I wish I could remember where I found it! Art paper is good, but so are cool wrapping papers, book pages, magazine pictures, etc. Thin papers must be treated with care, but they will be durable by the time you are finished.

I then tore a strip of another paper and/or cut paper shapes and glued them on with the medium. If you're going to use stamps, use them now before you put the medium on the printed side of the paper - otherwise your stamp ink won't sink in and will get messed up when you paint on the medium.

Then add flourishes: words out out of a magazine or book, shapes punched out with a paper puncher, engraved illustrations, postage stamps...the possibilities are endless.

Finish with a coat of medium - I finished with glossy and put it on thickly so that it would have an interesting brush texture. Let dry, and you will have a fun piece of art you made yourself!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Story Secrets: 13 REASONS WHY by Jay Asher

Tell Me a Secret - Worldwide Blog Tour

Today's blog tour stop is at Through the Tollbooth, where Liz Gallagher and I are chatting plotting, mapping, and querying - comment here or there to win! (full entry details here.) And now on to Jay!

That's right, Jay Asher is on the scene, here to share secrets to his mega-hit, THIRTEEN REASONS WHY!

I probably don't have to tell you that 13RY is published in over a dozen countries and has been on the New York Times Bestseller List for...I don't know, two years now? And probably for the rest of Jay's life?

Well, anyway, it is that awesome. Plus Jay is a super nice, down-to-earth guy, and we are thrilled to welcome him today. (At left, Jay and I hang out at the SCBWI WWA Conference.)


Thirteen Reasons Why is a suspenseful novel dealing with a lot of serious teen issues. Clay Jensen, a high school junior, finds a package on his doorstep addressed to him and containing several cassette tapes. The tapes were recorded by his classmate and crush, Hannah Baker, who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On each side of each tape, Hannah talks about a different person at their school who she feels led to her decision to take her life. And if you received the tapes, Hannah says, you're one of the reasons why.

Holly: 13RY is such a shocking, yet universal story - and you've told it in a way that resonates with so many readers. How did the idea strike?

Jay: I spent about nine years trying to find the right story to tell in this audiotour format, using two simultaneous first-person narrators. One narrator would be a recorded voice, and the other would react to what the recorded voice was saying. I wanted to structure a novel like that after taking an audiotour of a mock-up of King Tut's tomb. But I wanted to tell a story that would be enhanced by that structure rather than use that structure simply as a gimmick. Around the same time that I took that audiotour, a close relative of mine attempted suicide. She was, like the character in my book, a high school junior. Talking to her over the years let me see how someone could become like Hannah. It took nine years before those two ideas, the unusual structure and the issue of suicide, came together.

How did those two elements come together? Gradually or like a lightning bolt?

I was driving on an icy road, it was dark out with no streetlamps, and the story just came to me. At the time, I was only interested in writing funny books for young children. So when the premise hit me, it was a total shock. I was so intrigued and excited by the idea, driving was no longer safe. I pulled into a parking space at a gas station, whipped out a notebook, and just started writing. The first twelve-or-so pages of the book is very similar to what I wrote in my car.

Did anything unexpected come out of telling Hannah and Clay's shared story?

From the beginning, Hannah's voice was very clear to me. On many occasions, her character would say something that I hadn't planned, revealing something about her that I didn't know, yet sounded so natural for her to say. Every time that happened, I went with it. But giving up that control to one of my characters seemed very...weird. But it also felt right. Those unexpected moments made the writing much more interesting, and I think made Hannah's character much more realistic.

Who inspires you?

My readers. Even though I was unpublished while writing Thirteen Reasons Why, I kept my future readers in mind the entire time. I knew I was writing about issues many of them will have experienced, and that inspired me to write about those issues as honestly as possible.

What was it like to write in two voices? How long did it take, and did you have to do multiple drafts?

It took me three years to write, but I was working on other manuscripts at the same time. I'm a very slow and precise writer, so I only had one real draft. But I wrote the book in two parts. First, I wrote Hannah's story from beginning to end. That way, I could stay in her head and not have to leave her voice. Then I went back and wrote Clay's part of the story. After I finished the entire manuscript, I had four people read it to tell me where certain scenes dragged or something was confusing. It was exciting whenever someone pointed out a problem with a scene or a character because I knew the manuscript was getting stronger with every edit.

So what is the real story behind the story? Any secrets you might be willing to share?

When I was a teen, I never would've picked up a book about suicide I would've assumed it would be too depressing. As I wrote this book, I kept thinking, "What would keep someone like me from putting this book down?" So I tried to make this novel as suspenseful as possible. My main bit of writing advice is to always write as if your future reader has a bookmark within his reach. Your job is to never let that bookmark touch even one of your pages.


Thanks so much for stopping by, Jay! Readers, check out the Thirteen Reasons Why official site, which includes a video series of Hannah's tapes. Here's a video of me interviewing Jay for readergirlz:


Oh, and tomorrow's blog tour stop is at Mitali's Alley of Books with a vlog art tour and reading! Mitali said of TELL ME A SECRET, "Totally in my top faves of this year. You have GOT TO READ IT." I can't wait!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

TMAS Tour: Book Chic Club all week!

Tell Me a Secret - Worldwide Blog Tour

All week at Book Chic Club, James is featuring TELL ME A SECRET! He's reading an excerpt, posting a review, a0nd today we're chatting about The Call, YA, the process of writing, and Jelly Bellys!

(In fact, we might even give some away in honor of Book Chic - comment on my blog or his to win, US only!)

Plus your comment on my blog or Book Chic Club enters you for this week's awesome prize packs, including signed books! (U.S. and Canada only at this time, though Internationals - you'll get a chance!) AND James is giving away some TMAS swag of his own - check out the tour stop for details!

See you over at Book Chic!

Plus FANTASTIC BOOK REVIEW is running a super amazing contest to win a copy of TELL ME A SECRET. Stop by for a chance to win! (Contest open to U.S. addresses, ends June 30.)

rgz Twitter chat with John Green tonight!

Want to twitter chat with @readergirlz and @realjohngreen? (I'm @hollycupala!) Then join us tonight for a twitter chat with readergirlz' June featured author John Green! We'll be talking about Paper Towns, crazy nights, mystery romance, and more.

6pm PST/9pm EST at twitter, and be sure to use the #rgz tag!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tell Me a Secret Tuesday: tour stops, secrets, and readings!

Comment for a chance to win this week's awesome prizes!

Tell Me a Secret - Worldwide Blog Tour

Today's blog tour stop is at the deliciously fragrant blog of Amy Brecount White, fellow 2010 debut author of FORGET HER NOTS. We discuss my pitiful inability to choose a favorite flower, secrets from my life that inspired TMAS, and things I wish I knew when I started! PLUS she is giving away an ARC (see her blog for details)!

Comment on Amy's post and mine for chances to win this week's prize packs*! Tomorrow's stop: Book Chic Club.

(*Non-U.S./Canadian residents, see the full entry rules here.)


Little Willow's still posting secrets from critically acclaimed YA authors from now until launch to celebrate!

Hunger Mountain has officially posted their spring issue, of which I am a part - along with amazing authors Mitali Perkins, Jo Knowles, Tanita Davis, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Nathan Bransford and more! See a sneak peek at the first two chapters of TELL ME A SECRET and a chat.

Reading Teen says, "I really loved this book! Amazingly done," from a reader who can intimately relate to Miranda's story. Thank you, Andye! Plus she links to an excellent Parent Guide to TELL ME A SECRET (warning, some content spoilers).

And very cool author Michele Torrey (VOYAGE OF ICE and more) invited me to stop by her blog for a chat about writing freedom, tips, and stories with hope. Thank you, Michele!

And just in case you missed it yesterday...TMAS Blog Tour, Episode 1...

Monday, June 14, 2010

TELL ME A SECRET Virtual Tour Kicks Off!

Tell Me a Secret

Secrets, sisters, superhot sci-fi guys...

It's the TELL ME A SECRET Virtual World Tour!

  • Prizes each week! *Signed copies of TMAS, music, t-shirts, journals, bookmarks, magnets and more!
  • Comment on any official tour stop or my blog (one comment/post) to be entered to win!
  • Secrets at every stop!
(*Non-U.S./Canadian residents, see the full entry rules here.)

Week #1: June 14 - June 18

Monday: Market My Words - discussing the road to publication, marketing, and readergirlz!
Tuesday: Amy Brecount-White - chatting about flowers and the secrets of my past...
Wednesday: Book Chic Club - James is featuring excerpts, reviews, and secrets all week!
Thursday: Through the Tollbooth - all about the writing journey...
Friday: Alley of Books - art tour and exclusive vlog reading by me, plus a special message for Mitali...

Today I'll be hanging out with Shelli Johannes-Wells of Market My Words - leave a comment here and at Shelli's blog for a chance to win this week's prizes! PLUS Shelli is giving away some TMAS swag of her own...go check out the interview for details!

See the full tour info, rules, and schedule here, and get the TMAS Tour graphics here.

And now...the moment you've all been waiting for - me, on film. Singing on film. (No tomatoes, please!)

See ya on the road!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Just a little teaser...

The TELL ME A SECRET virtual world tour starts Monday!

You won't believe the incredibly goofy thing I did (prompted by my best friend since high school, who helped me put it together).

Tell Me a Secret

Come back Monday for secrets and prizes - plus you can make fun of me (thanks, Amy).


Friday, June 11, 2010

DIY Friday: Bird's Nest Necklace

I just had coffee the other day with my beautiful Danish writer friend Adriana, who was wearing the most adorable necklace:

Here it is close up:

I was thinking...if you had some jewelry wire and some beads, it wouldn't be too difficult to make one yourself.

Or...you could just buy one from AdornJewelry on Etsy, which Adriana was kind enough to share with us - thanks, Adriana!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Story Secrets: SEA by Heidi Kling

Do you know what a sweetheart Heidi Kling, debut author of SEA (launching today!), is? I'm here to tell you she is that, and more. I just met her at the very amazing Teen Author Carnival in NYC, and she is every bit as nice as you would expect. (Pic: me, Heidi, Sarah Ockler, and Kieran Scott)

Heidi and I are meeting up at ALA in Washington, DC at the end of this month to sign our debut books - PLUS she's here today to spill some secrets about SEA...

So without further ado, I present Heidi!


SEA is a romantic adventure about hope after tragedy set in post-tsunami Indonesia.

I spent years in Indonesia, a place I'd never been. Also, did a lot of soul searching --how would my family react if I suddenly went missing--how would I react to this situation if I was 15--it was incredible spending time with these characters. I love them like they are my own family now.

Holly Cupala: I love to hear the stories behind the story. How did SEA hit you?

Heidi Kling: The long story is on my website, but I was inspired by my husband's real life volunteer efforts.

What driving force is at the core of SEA?

I'm inspired by people who see the world in a positive way--who react to situations like, "How can I make this better? How can I help improve myself? How can I be a better friend/spouse/citizen of the world. I try to surround myself by like minded people who are constantly working to evolve and make the world a brighter place.

How long did it take you to write, and did the story evolve as you revised?

Three years. I started writing SEA when my son (who is now 7) started preschool. It took a lot of research and since it involves another culture, I wanted to make sure I was sensitive as well as honest in my portrayal. I made friends with some of the tsunami survivors, who helped me a lot--particularly a young man named Usul, who I consider a good friend now. He's amazing.

What do you most hope your readers will take away?

A sense of hope. A sense that one person can make a difference. Also, a sense that you can be true to yourself--your decisions don't have to please everyone, but if they ultimately enrich your life in a positive way---that may be the best decision for you. Sienna makes some choices that make some people very nervous, but I think they were right for her in that situation.

Any secrets you might be willing to share?

Are you asking me to play Truth and Dare, Holly? ;-)

'What's up next after SEA?

I'm finishing up a modern fantasy novel about estranged witches and warlocks set in a beach town. It's a planned trilogy. Also, I'm contributing to the Mystic Falls Vampire Diaries anthology which is coming out in October. #TeamDamon.


Thanks, Heidi, for stopping by to tell us the secrets of SEA! And readers, be sure to visit Heidi's blog for lots of launch day celebration! Here's the cool trailer: