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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Countdown: Day 4: Interview w/ Holly Cupala + Giveaway

So today is the 4th day of our Christmas Countdown! You guys must know that we're giving away copies of The Other Side of Dark by Sarah Smith, Adele Griffin's Picture of the Dead and Christy Raedake's Prophecy of Days, right? No? THEN HEAD OVER TO THIS POST AND HELP US CELEBRATE!

We have the awesome Holly Cupala as a guest in our blog, where she talks about her book, Tell Me A Secret and sharing something about what she's doing for Christmas. Read on!

About the author:

Holly Cupala wrote teen romance novels before she ever actually experienced teen romance. 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.


What or who inspired you to write TMAS? Why?

The year I started TELL ME A SECRET was a very difficult one, with two significant losses. I almost quit writing because of it. Then I went to a conference a few months later, and a friend asked if I was thinking of writing about it. All of a sudden, the entire idea came to me, just landed in my lap, and I started writing it down as fast as I could. Miranda’s story isn’t my story, though my experiences inspired a lot of the emotions. The mystery and the relationships and the secrets…those all grew organically. Some of the secrets I didn’t even know until I typed them!

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I’ll let you in on a secret: most of the time, writers don’t even know this (often called the theme) until the book is finished, or very nearly finished. As I was writing, I would hit on some new layer and think, this is the theme…then later: no wait, this is the theme! I didn’t realize until reaching the end that the central messages are, you can’t find yourself in other people, and the past does not have to define the future. But then what I hope the most is that readers will take away what is most important to them.

Why do you write for teens?

Before I started writing Tell Me a Secret, I wrote all kinds of stories for different ages—none of them teens. When the idea came to me, I was terrified, both because I knew it would be a very intense story to write, and I didn’t know if teens would be interested. I’ve been amazed by the response and have made so many friends as a result! That has been astounding and wonderful.

What do you think is the role of secrets in our lives?

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.

How do you prepare for Christmas?

I’m a DIY girl like Miranda’s sister Xanda, so Christmas is all about making stuff—peppermint ice cream (my own secret recipe here:, scarves, Christmas cards, collage art. Our house becomes a flurry of art and baking supplies all month.

As an author/writer, are you doing something special this Christmas?

Having a party! That, and making lots of Tell Me a Secret-related presents for the very kind people who have helped me along the way. In fact, I’m giving away a magnet set and a print of a secret-inspired collage I did on my website, I hope you’ll stop by!

Does your family have a Christmas tradition?

Lots of them—but maybe one of my favorites is making gifts and cards for friends. Also, the holidays are an excellent excuse to hone my candy-making skills…this year it’s soft caramels, almond rocha, and peppermint bark (so far).

Do you take advantage of the Christmas vacation and write?

I’m working on the copyedits for the second novel (Don’t Breathe a Word, coming in Fall 2011!) and just beginning to put down ideas for a third novel. But for the most part, it’s all crafts and outings and crayons with my little one home from school for the holidays. January is for working!

As a writer, do you think it would be better to gift books for Christmas? why? Have you ever done this before?

Every single year—I have four nieces and nephews, so whenever I go to an author event or a conference, I pick up signed books to give them. They have a seriously excellent collection! Everything from Jane Yolen to Meg Cabot to Brian Selznick to John Green. I also love to pass on my favorite books to people who I think will love them.

If you were to gift one book to any person, what book would it be?

I wish I could give a copy of Tell Me a Secret to everyone who wanted one! But we’re doing the next best thing: we produced an audiobook, read by the amazing, award-winning actress Jenna Lamia, and are releasing it as a free(!) serialized podcast at! So far we’ve released over half and will have the special edition full version available soon.

Watch the trailer for Tell Me A Secret:

And you can also listen to the free podcast here:

Tell Me a Secret - Free Audiobook Podcast


You can find Holly here:

Author website
Tell Me A Secret official site
Tell Me A Secret Podcast
Facebook author page



We are giving away a SIGNED copy of her debut novel, Tell Me A Secret! Holly, being the amazing person that she is, will be sending it to one lucky commenter. So leave her a thoughtful comment, okay?

Contest Rules:

Must be a follower.
Comment about the interview.
U.S. only!
Ends January 1, 2011!
Include your email address so I can contact you!

Extra Entries (not required, but greatly appreciated):

+2 Twitter (please leave link)
+2 sidebar (leave link)
+4 blog post (leave link)
+3 Post the Christmas Countdown blog button on your sidebar (leave link)
+2 Follow Fragments of Life


  1. the trailer was nice! and im going to check out the audiobook, and make that ice cream! lol.

    +2 i follow fragments of life

  2. O a new book? It sounds awesome! Great interview
    I follow fragments of life+2
    Posted button +3
    =5 entries

  3. I wish she was my aunt! Haha! I would love to read this book.
    GFC follower (Lexie@BookBug)
    +2 Tweeted at!/LexieBookBug/status/15254512465874944
    Twitter Name: Lexie
    +3 Button on blog at
    +2 Follower of Fragments blog


  4. GFC follower-Lisa R/alterlisa

    +2 Follower of Fragments blog


    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  5. That is one awesome trailer, I must say!

    Holly, I think it's great that you still keep arts & crafts and baking alive in your house--some of my favorite Christmas memories revolve around doing arts and helping my mom bake, so it always makes me happy to see other people doing that, as well.

    I'm a follower

  6. It's absolutely amazing that you're releasing a free podcast. Thank you

    +2 fragments follower

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  7. I'm sorry to hear about the losses in Holly's life, I lost both parents within a few months of the other so I understand how she feels.

    I love the graphics of the trailer - the bird impaled by a flower was surreal.

    I am a follower
    + 2 Fragments of Life follower
    + 2 Tweeted here:

    d.septer at

  8. I am a follower

  9. I may have to try making that ice cream :) Myself I make a Peppermint candy Cane cake for Christmas

    +2 Twitter:!/YearofTiger86/status/15542195230609408
    +4 blog:
    +3 sidebar:
    +2 I am a follower of Fragments of Life

  10. I loved how she gives signed books to her neices and nephew for Christmas. What a great idea.

  11. forgot my e-mail, lol, so here is my comment again with my e-mail:

    I may have to try making that ice cream :) Myself I make a Peppermint candy Cane cake for Christmas

    +2 Twitter:!/YearofTiger86/status/15542195230609408
    +4 blog:
    +3 sidebar:
    +2 I am a follower of Fragments of Life

  12. The free podcast is a neat idea

    Hello, Im a follower.


  13. Thanks for the giveaway! I really like the trailer for Tell Me a Secret. The music in the background and the art go well together.

    Im a follower
    +2 tweered
    +2 i follow fragments of life

    jessica b

  14. I've downloaded the free podcast of Tell Me a Secret and have just started listening to it. It's great so far, I can't wait until I have time to listen to more!

    +1 comment/follower
    +2 Fragments of Life follower
    =3 Total

    Thanks so much!

  15. Xmas Countdown Day 7 - extra entry
    d.septer at

  16. This weekend was one heck of a driving weekend for me. I started the podcasts of Tell Me a Secret to keep me entertained and knocked out the first 31 chapters. I'm loving it and would love to own a copy for myself. Though it's not my daughters genre (I'd love them to read it though), I imagine my mother would love to read Tell Me a Secret when I'm finished.

    +2 Twitter!/ReenaJacobs/status/16624574187708416
    +2 Follow Fragments of Life

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  17. Forgot to add my email addy:

    Thanks again,

  18. Holly knows how to make peppermint ice cream! I wish I could try them out!

    +2 Twitter

    +2 sidebar

    +4 blog post

    +3 Post the Christmas Countdown blog button on your sidebar

    +2 Follow Fragments of Life

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  19. Ohhs! This book is on my tbr list, but haven't gotten a copy myself yet. :\ I hope to read this!

    Spread the word:
    +2 Twitter:
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    +3 Post the Christmas Countdown blog button on your sidebar:
    +2 Follow Fragments of Life: Ivy


  20. Xmas Countdown Day 8 - extra entry
    d.septer at

  21. Xmas Countdown Day 9 - extra entry
    d.septer at

  22. Thanks for this contest! I can't wait to read Tell Me a Secret. The cover is stunning:)


  23. Great interview! Thanks for the giveaway!

    +2 Follow Fragments of Life


  24. Wow I so wanted to read this book
    Tell me a Secret is such a catchy title and i love the cover

    +2 Follow Fragments of Life
    +2 Tweeted:


  25. Great interview. Read lots of good things about her novel.

  26. Yet another book I hadn't heard of, I must be living under a rock. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, I will be adding it to my wishlist. At this rate my wish list is going to be even longer than my read list.



I love getting comments from my readers and fellow bookworms, and I try my best to respond to all of them. Feel free to give me a piece of your thoughts. Also, this is an award-free blog. I simply don't have the time to highlight them anymore, but thank you for thinking of my blog!

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