Hello, hello! So UNDERWATER is starting to feel officially official because it now has a cover and a cover reveal. You guys, when my editor, Joy Peskin, sent me this design, I gasped in awe. To say I love it would be an understatement. The cover is designed by the super talented Andrew Arnold who also designed the stunning cover for Ava Dellaira's LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD.
Behold the pretty!
UNDERWATER will be published on January 12, 2016 by
FSG/Macmillan and Macmillan Children's UK.
About the Book:
In the aftermath of a deadly high school shooting, 17-year-old Morgan is an agoraphobic trapped in the apartment she shares with her mother and brother; when surfer boy Evan moves in next door, she has to face the life she's been missing.
I was lucky enough to get an ARC (advanced readers copy) of THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND (HarperTeen, February 17 2015) by Kathryn Holmes. I adored her lovely YA contemporary debut and I highly recommend grabbing a copy. This is an extended version of the interview I did with her for The Sweet Sixteens.
About the Author:
Kathryn Holmes grew up in Maryville, Tennessee, where she was an avid reader and an aspiring writer from an early age. She now lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and piles upon piles of books. A graduate of The New School’s MFA in Creative Writing program, Kathryn works as a freelance dance journalist, among other writing gigs. The Distance Between Lost and Found is her debut novel. Find Kathryn on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
About THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND:
Calhoun has just endured the most excruciating six months of her life. Once the
rumors about her and the preacher’s son, Luke, made their way around school,
her friends abandoned her, and Hallie has completely withdrawn. Now, on a hike
in the Smoky Mountains with the same people who have relentlessly taunted her,
Hallie is pushed to her limit. Then Hallie, outgoing newcomer Rachel, and
Jonah—Hallie’s former friend—get separated from the rest of the group. As days
go by without rescue, their struggle for survival turns deadly. Stranded in the
wilderness, the three have no choice but to trust one another in order to stay
alive . . . and for Hallie, that means opening up about what really happened
that night with Luke. THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND is available for purchase at Amazon, Powell's, Books a Million, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound. Marisa: Can you tell us a bit about your road to
publication? Finding your agent, your editor, etc.?
Kathryn: Sure! I
started writing THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND at a point when I was
feeling a little discouraged about the publication process. I’d been revising
and querying and revising and querying a previous book for several years, getting
so close but with no offers of
representation. I was trying to come to terms with the idea that maybe that
book—which I’d once been so confident about—just wasn’t meant to be. DISTANCE
gave me the chance to work on something completely different for a while. I
thought it might give me some perspective. And then I fell in love with the
and did three revisions in about 10 months, and then entered my query into
WriteOnCon’s “Luck o’ the Irish Pitchfest” (a St. Patrick’s Day–themed affair)
in 2013. I’d planned on using the pitchfest as a testing ground for my query,
since the book was still so new, but instead, the most amazing thing happened.
Alyssa Eisner Henkin of Trident Media Group selected my query as her winner,
and the prize was a full manuscript read. A week later, I got the e-mail I’d
been dreaming of: she loved the book and wanted to discuss representation. After
we talked on the phone, I didn’t have a shred of doubt about signing with her,
despite the fact that no other agents had read the manuscript. Alyssa just got it.
months later, DISTANCE went out on submission. The first editor to read it was
Alexandra Cooper at HarperTeen. As other editors kept passing for various
reasons, Alex continued to push my book up the ladder at Harper. When she and I
talked on the phone, it was just like it had been with Alyssa. I loved Alex’s
enthusiasm for the book and her ideas for taking it to the next level. And so,
when Harper made a formal offer, saying yes was pretty much a no-brainer.
Marisa: What was the "ah-ha" moment for the idea for
THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND? The moment of inspiration, so to speak.
Did you hit the ground running once you thought of it or let it marinate? Did
you have a feeling this book was "The One?"
Kathryn: The whole
book came from the name “Hallelujah Calhoun”! Some good friends of mine gave
their daughter “Hallelujah” as an unofficial middle name, and when I heard it,
I knew I was going to write a book
about a 16-year-old girl with that name. I knew the book would be set in East
Tennessee, where I grew up. I also knew the story would have a crisis of faith
as one element—how could it not, with a main character named Hallelujah?—and
that I wanted it to take place over seven days, like the creation account in
Genesis. I knew Hallelujah would become someone different, someone new, over
those seven days. But…I had no actual plot. I let the idea marinate for a few
months, tossing around different scenarios. At one point, the characters were
going to go on an overnight hike in the Smoky Mountains—and then it hit me.
What if they got lost? What if that ordeal was what helped Hallelujah recreate herself?
It snowballed from there.
knew from the first draft that this was “the one.” I wrote in a frenzy. I knew
there were plot holes, and I knew the characters were only sketches of who
they’d eventually become, but I also knew, in my gut, that I had found the
story I needed to tell.
Marisa: Your book was both harrowing and hopeful and you did
such a fantastic job of throwing obstacles at your characters. What kind of
research did you do to in order to nail the setting, survival, and possible missteps
that Hallie, Rachel, and Jonah face while lost in the wilderness?
I did enough
day hikes in the Smokies growing up that I was able to write the first draft
without getting too bogged down in research. I simply thought of the worst
possible thing I could do to my characters at any given point in the story,
trying to keep the stakes escalating. (Hm. Time for someone else to get
injured. How can I make that happen?)
I did more research on the details. What plants are in bloom in April in the
Smokies? What’s the temperature first thing in the morning on a mountaintop?
What exact trail did my characters start on, and where exactly do they end up?
I looked online, and I ran details by my dad, who’s an avid recreational hiker.
I also emailed back and forth with the Chief Ranger of the Great Smoky
Mountains National Park, who was kind enough to read a short plot synopsis and to
answer my questions about the Park’s search-and-rescue procedures. I wanted the
mountain setting to be almost a character in its own right, and so I knew I had
to make it as accurate and vivid as possible.
Marisa: If you could describe your dream reader, who would it
Kathryn: It may be
cliché to say that my dream reader is me in high school, but…that just might be
it. I wanted to write a book that I would have devoured as a teen, but that
would have also made me think and ask questions about why I believed what I
believed. I wanted teen Kathryn to see a bit of herself on the page.
that, my dream is to see someone reading my book in the NYC subway. That would
blow my mind.
Marisa: What is your next project?
Kathryn: My next YA
Contemporary is due out from HarperTeen in Summer 2016! It’s about a teen
ballet dancer with body image issues who is sent to an anxiety camp for elite
artists and athletes, where she gets into a complicated relationship with one
of her counselors.
Lightning Round Questions:
Pen and paper, computer or typewriter?
have to get the words down at the speed of thought!
Planner or pantser?
plotter? Plotting pantser? Basically, I need a loose skeleton to guide me, so
the story can unfold on its own.
Sing in the choir or sing in the shower?
Sing in the
shower—and I do. Often. The acoustics are killer.
Song that makes you think of your book?
There are so
many! I made a playlist to go along with the book, filled with music I listened
to while writing it, artists Hallie loves, and songs that remind me of certain
scenes. But as for single songs, The Avett Brothers’ “The Weight of Lies” sums the
book up pretty well.
Oddest job you've ever had?
marketing copy for small business websites. On any given day, I might have to
wax poetic about tax resolution, plumbing problems, basement waterproofing,
junk removal, appliance repair…
Favorite writing snack?
try not to snack while I’m writing, because I’ll have no idea how much I’ve
eaten until the package is gone! My one absolute must-have is coffee.
Captain Kirk or Captain von Trapp?
question actually made me LOL! I have to go with James Tiberius Kirk.
What were you reading when you were sixteen?
A solid mix
of classics (for school and for pleasure) and fast-paced murder mysteries. I
used to devour series like Sue Grafton’s Alphabet books (“A” IS FOR ALIBI,
etc.) and Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta mysteries. I’d finish every book in
one series and move straight on to the next.
Which actors play Hallie, Rachel, and Jonah in the
Hailee Steinfeld from “True Grit” and “Ender’s Game” would make a terrific
Hallie—and not just because of her name. Kiernan Shipka (Sally Draper on “Mad
Men”) could bring good depth to Rachel. Jonah’s the hardest, because I have the
clearest picture of him in my head! That said, I was really impressed by Liam
James in the movie “The Way, Way Back.” He’s shorter than Jonah is supposed to
be, but I think he could capture Jonah’s inner conflict and quiet strength.
you'd want with you if you got lost in the wilderness?
This is a loaded question, given all the research I’ve done on this
topic! Luckily, since I plan to stay in one place until the rescuers find me, I
may not need a full backpack of supplies. I’ll say a water bottle, a flint or
lighter to start a campfire, and, obviously, a good book. THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND is available for purchase at Amazon, Powell's, Books a Million, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound.