I was able to interview the wonderful Holly Cupala, author of Tell Me A Secret.
Describe Tell Me a Secret in one sentence:
Miranda’s family has secrets: her parents’ silence, her sister’s death, what really happened that night…and now she has a secret of her own.
If you could pair Miranda with any character from another book (romantically), who would it be?
I wonder…who would Miranda like? Kartik from A Great and Terrible Beauty? (No wait, that’s me.) I imagine Kartik to look like my devastatingly handsome Indian husband. In fact, Kamran in TMAS, who is Persian, kind of looks like him, too…
Character-wise, I think she’d maybe like Owen from Sarah Dessen’s Just Listen, or Sebastian from Deb Caletti’s The Nature of Jade. Or Creed, from STREET CREED (my second novel, coming Fall 2011)! Swoon. I can’t wait for him to be out in the world.
What do you hope your readers will take away with them after reading your book?
Many ideas went into this book—so many questions I ponder about relationships and time and the universe, and how different people can experience the same events and come away with completely different memories. If I had to boil it down to one or two things I hope readers will take away, I’d say you can’t find yourself in other people, and the past does not have to define the future.
What part of Tell Me a Secret was the hardest to write?
Definitely the second-to-last chapter. I knew Miranda would have the final knock-down-drag-out with the primary villain, and that there would be some significant secrets revealed that would shed light on the entire story. The first draft, I skipped it! The second, I muddled through and kept peeling back the layers until I felt like I’d hit on something true.
What do you do when you have writer's block?
I wish I’d know this while writing TMAS—it would have made things so much easier. While I was writing STREET CREED, I discovered the most amazing trick: a kitchen timer. I would set it for 15 minutes with a goal of 300 words—candy at the end…bonus!—and usually I would hit 400 or more. It was great for outrunning the internal critic, which can be really devastating when you’re trying to write a book (or do anything, really). The last voice you should listen to is the one that says you don’t have value.
About you - Favorites:
At the moment, I’m completely taken with the gummy stars from Whole Foods. Yum!
Movie you've seen this year?
Alice in Wonderland – loved the costumes, especially what Alice wears in the Red Queen’s castle. Xanda would have made it herself by now!
Song of the moment?
Right now I’ve been listening to “Ironspy” by Splashdown, which is featured in the TMAS trailer. And “Beyond Orions Arms” by Symbion Project, written and performed by some of the same people who created “Ironspy.” You can find them all on iTunes!
Book you read this year?
Conrad Wesselhoeft’s Adios, Nirvana, which comes out in October. It’s exquisite. You can watch the trailer here.
Palimpsest. It’s my favorite, and I was able to include it in TMAS! It means something that has been erased and written upon again in layers of history and meaning. (Hint: look for it at the Halloween party.)
Anything else you'd like to say?
Thanks a bunch for the interview Holly! Readers, you must check out her book Tell Me A Secret.