Thanks so much for visiting HipWriterMama, my blog about children's books, authors and readergirlz!

It's time for a change. I've decided to focus my attention on my writing blog, www.vivianleemahoney.com. Hope to see you there!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Author Spotlight with Holly Cupala and TELL ME A SECRET

I'm so pleased to welcome Holly Cupala, one of the readergirlz, to my blog. Holly's debut novel, TELL ME A SECRET, will be out next Tuesday! TELL ME A SECRET "illuminates the dark struggle of a girl who must let go of her past to find a way into her future."

There's nothing like exploring the darkness within our characters and even ourselves. It can be downright scary and overwhelming. Holly shares a devastating loss to shed some light on how far writers can go when writing about dark topics.

Holly: When I started writing TELL ME A SECRET, I was way out of my depth.

Up to that point, I’d written a stackful of unpublishable picture books, some magazine articles, a Chicken Soup story, and I’d just begun a middle grade novel. Our first daughter would be born any minute, and life seemed good.

Then everything changed in one missed beat of the heart.

After our loss, I couldn’t see the point of writing anymore. There was no meaning in it, no solace. In the dark hours, a story would flutter across my mind, only to be engulfed in grief. Then a friend, Justina Chen, took me out to lunch at a writing conference and asked, “Are you thinking of writing about Ezri?”

Moments later, the story literally landed in my lap—like nothing I had ever imagined before. It would be oh so difficult, so real, so terrifying. And yet, I need to write it.

For months, I only wrote notes, terrified of putting words to the page. I had no idea how to do this, how to write from the heart, how to delve into sadness and difficult relationships and somehow break through to hope and even healing.

And yet, I needed to write it—one word at a time.

At first, I stopped myself at every sentence. Too trite, too cliché, too empty. There weren’t words to dig deeper. I recounted my own stories, trying to get at the truth of my character’s, and beat myself with doubt and unworthiness all along the way.

And somewhere—I’m not quite sure where—it transformed, from my story to her story. Perhaps it was when our second daughter was born, happy and ready for life. The characters came into their own. At the same time, I felt a lightness and a purpose—I’d needed to write the story to get through my own loss, and now I needed to let the characters go where they were supposed to go.

It meant the story taking a different turn than I’d first thought. And that became the road to hope that I’d envisioned from the start.

Looking back, I see the necessity of seeking truth over seeking darkness, of outrunning one’s own writing demons in order to be honest in storytelling. Of living life. There’s the layer of ourselves, and there’s the layer underneath.

Writers, dig deeper to find it.

Thank you so much, Holly, for sharing this with us.

Holly's book, TELL ME A SECRET, is out next week. Click here for a sample read from TELL ME A SECRET. You are going to want to read more.

In case you didn't know, Holly organized a virtual book tour celebrating her book. She is giving away lots of prizes, so follow her on the tour! Holly will be back on July 13th (will cross-post on my writing blog).

I'm putting together interview questions for Holly. If you'd like a chance to ask Holly a question, please go HERE and fill out the form at the end of the post.

How will you reach for the truth in your manuscripts?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

readergirlz chat TONIGHT! John Green, Paper Towns and Spontaneity

Tonight. June 16th. 6pm PST/9pm EST.

If you've never used Twitter before, here's how to do it in three easy steps:

1. First, create a Twitter account if you don’t have one already. It’s easy and free, and all you need is an e-mail address.

2. Log onto Twitter at 6 p.m. Pacific, 9 p.m. Eastern TODAY!!

3. Type @realjohngreen plus your question, followed by #rgz. This asks John your question and funnels it into the readergirlz chat stream.

To follow along the chat, go here (the #rgz Twitter stream).

Going forward, you’ll be able to follow rgz and lots of your favorite authors on Twitter. You can find us and everyone we follow here: @readergirlz

I'll be checking in the chat stream under @vleemahoney.

Please stop by! You know you want to.

See you there!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Come Visit My New Writing Blog

Well, it's official. I've decided to move my writing related posts over to www.vivianleemahoney.com. Please stop by for writing inspiration and tales of my writing progress.

I'll keep HipWriterMama for book discussions, author interviews and readergirlz related information.

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

June, readergirlz and Paper Towns by John Green!

We are thrilled to welcome John Green to readergirlz. His fantastic novel Paper Towns is our June pick! Check out our interview with John, book party ideas themed around his book, and our Reach Out project idea--as well as the awesome soundtrack John has chosen for the book--on readergirlz.com.

Here's a little about Paper Towns:
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life -- dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge -- he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Quentin arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Quentin soon learns that there are clues -- and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Quentin sees of the girl he thought he knew.
And the buzz...

2009 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel
New York Times Bestseller

"Green's prose is astounding -- from hilarious, hyperintellectual trash talk and shtick, to complex philosophizing, to devastating observation and truths. He nails it -- exactly how a thing feels, looks, affects -- page after page." - School Library Journal, starred review

"Deliciously intelligent dialogue and plenty of mind-twisting insights." - VOYA

"[Green is] clever and wonderfully witty... he's a superb stylist, with a voice perfectly matched to his amusing, illuminating material." - Booklist, starred review

We are so excited to have the awesome John Green with us this month! Join us all month at the readergirlz blog for discussions and mark your calendars a LIVE chat on Wednesday, June 16th at 6pm PST/9pm EST.

Happy June, readergirlz!

Writing Confession: It's in the Details

Details are really important to me.

I've interrupted writing sprees to research the little things, all to construct realistic scenes of places I've never seen, traditions I've never practiced, clothing and accessories I've never worn. Some people may think it's a time waster, but I believe these details will help me create a believable setting for my manuscript. This may seem inconsequential in the big scheme of things, when we need to focus on dialogue, plot and character arc, not to mention writing a unique story that will appeal to agents, publishers and readers.

Oh, the pressure!

But, let us not forget the details. You will add life to your pages, you will set your story apart from the masses, if you remember to capture the details.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June, Writing and Transitions

Today is June 1st and it's the first day of my new writing program. Thank you, Kaz Mahoney (no relation), for organizing this "writing group". School ends in 17 days. I need to implement structure right now, if I want to survive the summer fun and still get my writing done.

So, if any of you would like to join me, please come over to my new writing blog at www.vivianleemahoney.com. I'll be detailing my daily efforts and supplying inspiration. We can work through our challenges and cheer each other on.

Who is with me?