Today is my stop for the official Tell Me a Secret blog tour!
Title: Tell Me a Secret
Author: Holly Cupala
Publication Date: June 22, 2010
Tell me a secret, and I'll tell you one...Holly Cupala's debut novel, Tell Me A Secret is a refreshing and eye-opening take on teen pregnancy and its consequences. Built on lies and secrets, Cupala crafts an intense story about a girl and her baby with nobody to trust. Tell Me A Secret is not for the lighthearted. It's all-consuming and Rand's story demands any reader's attention. I was immediately pulled into Rand's mindset and was completely amazed at Cupala's gritty, honest prose.
In the five years since her bad-girl sister Xanda’s death, Miranda Mathison has wondered about the secret her sister took to the grave, and what really happened the night she died. Now, just as Miranda is on the cusp of her dreams—a best friend to unlock her sister’s world, a ticket to art school, and a boyfriend to fly her away from it all—Miranda has a secret all her own.
Then two lines on a pregnancy test confirm her worst fears. Stripped of her former life, Miranda must make a choice with tremendous consequences and finally face her sister’s demons and her own.
In this powerful debut novel, stunning new talent Holly Cupala illuminates the dark struggle of a girl who must let go of her past to find a way into her future.
Rand is a person who goes through so much personal growth. At the beginning, I found her infantile and rather naive, but as she comes to terms with her situation, I found her to be an inspiring character. I thought that Xanda was a well-developed character through different flashbacks and memories. She played a large part in Rand's life and held many secrets. In Rand's life, I felt suffocated and trapped by all of the secrets and lies that surrounded her. In Tell Me A Secret, you don't empathize with the character, you ARE the character.
Tell Me A Secret is the most devouring debut novel that I've read. Cupala provides us with real, genuine characters, many brutal truths, and a harsh, but nonetheless beautiful story of a girl, trying to make the best of her situation.
Holly Cupala wrote teen romance novels before she ever actually experienced teen romance. When she did, it became all about tragic poetry and slightly less tragic novels. When she isn't writing and contributing to readergirlz, she spends time with her husband and daughter in Seattle, Washington. These days, her writing is less about tragedy and more about hope. TELL ME A SECRET is her first novel. Ten percent of the author's proceeds go toward World Vision's Hope for Sexually Exploited Girls.
How long did it take for you to write Tell Me a Secret?
From idea to sale, it took about four years – which seems like a really long time! But I wasn’t writing full time. At first, I only wrote a few pages at a time while trying to find the story, then we had a baby daughter and I pretty much didn’t work on it for about ten months. Then I hired a sitter for one day a week and went to the library to work! When I received a Work-In-Progress Grant from SCBWI and Judy Blume, I added a second day. Then I signed with my wonderful agent and worked on a final revision for a few months, and he sold it in just a couple of weeks to our top choice, my dream editor!
How did the cover of Tell Me a Secret come to be? Did you have any input on it?
I’ll tell you a secret: we didn’t have a title or a cover until the last possible minute! My working title was Brimstone Soup (which made sense if you read it but sounded paranormal), then sold it as A Light That Never Goes Out (a reference to a Smiths song), but it wasn’t quite right. We went through literally hundreds of ideas, and the design department at Harper was patiently waiting for us to decide before they could get to work on the cover.
The night before we had to have a title to put in the official catalogue, I was falling asleep and remembered the conversation that takes place between Miranda and her sister in the very first chapter. “Wanna know a secret?” “Tell me, and I’ll tell you one.” Tell Me a Secret! I sat up in bed at 2 a.m. and shook my husband. “Honey! Tell Me a Secret!” They loved it, and within a couple of days the design department sent back the first version of this cover, and we all fell in love! All I had to do with it was coming up with the right title. :-)
Any secrets your willing to share with us?
There are lots of little personal secrets that found their way into TMAS. Like funny phrases my husband uses: watch, and learn. (Xanda says this.) Or my daughter’s favorite stuffed animal, ‘Raffe, who makes an appearance. Or music from our friends’ bands (we used lyrics from a Splashdown song with permission, and Milo wears a Freezepop t-shirt in one scene). Café Shiraz is named after my husband! The funny thing is when my 15 year old niece came to visit last year, I gave her the almost-finished manuscript to read. She glued herself to the couch and read it in one sitting, and as she was reading, she thought, “Oh, that’s exactly what Aunt Holly calls my cousin,” and other things like that. As she was reading, she forgot it was me who wrote the book! Which, I thought, was pretty cool!
Thank you so much, Mavie, for inviting me to The Bookologist and for being a part of the TMAS tour!
Author Spilling Secrets Video
(Suzanne Young, Caridad Ferrer, Kimberly Derting, Beth Kephart, etc..)
ISN'T THIS VIDEO, LIKE, THE COOLEST VIDEO EVER? It's awesome, it's funny, it's just.. so.. EPIC. I love it! I can just watch this video over and over again. And, plus, some author secrets are now revealed!
I'm the last stop for the TMAS tour, so, sadly, there won't be a stop tomorrow, or the day after that, or the day after the day after tomorrow (did that make any sense?).. well.. you get the point.
BUT, Holly is the featured author at readergirlz for the entire month of August, so there's still plenty of time to learn more about her and TELL ME A SECRET. Be sure to stop by!