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Take Five with YA Author Holly Cupala
Nov 2nd, 2010 by Liza Wiemer

SHH! Tell Me A Secret!

www.hollycupala.com

Win a signed copy of Tell Me a Secretsee below for details!  Easy to enter – just click on comments and write something about this interview.  This will work too: “I would love to read this book!” 


Tell Me a Secret - Free Audiobook PodcastFree serialized audiobook podcast at www.tellmeasecretnovel.com

 

Author Holly Cupala

 

Holly Cupala, author of Tell Me a Secret (HarperTeen 2010), didn’t shy away from answering the five tough questions below.  I found her answers to be meaningful, thought provoking, authentic.  Thank you Holly!

I brought Tell Me a Secret to Starbucks to read while I waited for a friend to join me.  I didn’t want to put it down!  When my friend was busy adding cream and sugar to her coffee, I snuck in a few more sentences.  After she left I decided I wasn’t leaving Starbucks until I finished the book.

This YA novel will grab ahold of your heart and squeeze tight.  I held my breath and swiped away more than a few tears, not wanting to be overtly public and sob out loud.  The characters come to life and become a part of you.  This is not a book where you can be indifferent.  Holly addresses tough issues of sisterhood, faith, friendship, pregnancy, secrets, dreams, and identity.  There is something for everyone in this novel – lessons to take to heart as long as you look for meaning.  Don’t miss Tell Me a Secret. It’s a must read for YA, parents, and teachers.

1. In Tell Me a Secret there are several secrets.  What do you feel should be the “rule of thumb” for keeping or sharing secrets with others?

Liza, you’re not going to let me off easy! I think there are a continuum of secrets, ranging from harmless to dangerous, and it can be so difficult to determine where on that continuum someone else’s secret is. There are the obvious ones: physical abuse. Date rape. Life-threatening habits. But what about the subtle ones? Like emotional abuse? If a friend told me a secret, I would do my best to help my friend make healthy decisions and to stick by them as they dealt with the consequences. If a friend is sharing a secret with you, they may be asking for help. Trust your instincts.

2. Your MC, Rand (Miranda) discovers that she is pregnant.  What are some dos and don’ts for a pregnant teen or for a friend of a pregnant teen?

Miranda doesn’t have very many people she can trust in the novel—she’s lost her best friend, the baby’s father avoids her, and her new friend is not what she seems to be. Her mother is locked behind a wall of her own grief and shame, and worst of all, the sister she trusted and looked up to most is gone. Miranda eventually seeks out her own support network and finds a friend in the last person she expects.

If I had a pregnant teen friend, I would encourage her to find a friend, mentor, or family member she could trust to help her through the difficult decisions and processes of a pregnancy. Whatever she chose, there would be consequences—a good friend would help her. On the other side, friends can be a lifeline through unexpected circumstances. If you are a friend, you may be more important than you know. True friendship shines through adversity, and there is hope on the other side.

3. Rand made quite a few mistakes that were painful lessons for her.  What do you think a YA can learn from mistakes and how can they move past them or learn from them?

Miranda sees flaws in others but is blind to her own, until extreme circumstances awaken her vision. I think most of us, to a greater or lesser degree, don’t really see our own mistakes. What’s that saying? We judge others by their actions, and we judge ourselves by our intentions. To see one’s own mistakes is a powerful kind of wisdom, one that opens doors for helping others. I think one of the most painful lessons for Rand—but also the one that sets her free—is that she can’t find herself in other people. For much of the story she wonders, what would Xanda do? When she begins to make her own choices, she finds a surprising strength.

4. Tell Me A Secret also is a novel about the meaning of friendship.  What warning signs should a YA look for in their relationships that someone is not a true friend?

True, there are some wicked friends in Tell Me a Secret! Some of the warning signs? When you feel bad or sad or small or ashamed whenever you’re around that person. When it’s all about them. When they aren’t interested in what is important to you. When they blow off your concerns about their behavior. So many more, but it can be so hard to recognize when you’re in the middle of it.

When I was in high school, I hung out with a group of girls that were exactly like what I just described, but for some reason I just didn’t see it. I wanted things to get better. I thought if I could just work a little harder, or say the right thing, we would have a great friendship. Finally a girl I met in my English class, and who I talked with all the time, said, “Why do you even hang out with them? Why don’t you hang out with me and my friends?” I did, and she is still my very best friend. (In fact, we now say our friendship is over 21. J)

5. Rand is forced to take a job at a bank and give up her dreams of going to art school.  There’s a great lesson here about pursuing your dreams.  What’s your best advice to YA who have dreams, but are not sure that they actually can make them happen?

Thanks, Liza! I hope, if anything, that this book inspires readers to pursue their purpose in life. It doesn’t come easy. Sometimes I think it takes a whole lifetime to discover it, but there are glimpses. In our dreams, in our passions, in our talents. Miranda makes a decision that completely shuts one door—but what she gains is determination and courage to follow another course. The job turns out to be an asset to her, and in a way, she finds out the only person truly responsible for her future is herself. I would wish that for every person longing to pursue a dream.

Enter to win a signed copy of Tell Me a Secret.

It’s easy! 1. Click on comments and write that you’d like to win this book or comment on this post.  Or 2.  Tweet about it (let me know) Or 3. Post in on Facebook or link this interview on your blog. (let me know.)  Contest ends November 16, 8:00 PM CST.  Open to US residents.  Winner will be randomly selected from entries.

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