One author, Four questions. Today we’re talking to Tracy Holczer, author of THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY. Here we go!
The path to publication was slow, slow, then all at once. I had been writing for five years when I attended the SCBWI National conference in 2007 and won the Sue Alexander Award. I was over the moon, and honored, and got many requests to see the manuscript, but I had no idea how to finish it, and felt so much pressure to do so (pressure of my own making – everyone along the way was nothing but kind and patient), that I got a bit stuck. As in, pull-your-hair-out-yell-up-to-the-heavens-with-flailing-arms kind of stuck.
With three young kids at home, a business to run and volunteering to do, I decided I wasn’t in a position to have a career quite yet, but I kept at it. I attended workshops and classes when I could, gave up writing completely for six months (my arms were tired), ate lots of cinnamon scones (which I prefer to chocolate), and then the story just fell into place. In December of 2011, with one daughter in college, one in high school and one in 5th Grade, I felt I was ready to take on the submissions process and whatever may come of that.
I entered the Miss Snark’s First Victim Baker’s Dozen in December 2011 and was selected to be in the auction. While the winning agent passed, I had three more full requests as a result. Feeling confident, I also queried two agents I’d had my eye on, and was very honored to be offered representation by Rosemary Stimola of Stimola Literary Studio fairly quickly. She then sold DAISY to Stacey Barney at Putnam/Penguin in a two-book deal in May.
Can you tell us a little bit about the book? What inspired you to write it?
The Secret Hum of a Daisy is a contemporary Middle Grade about a twelve-year old girl who, after the sudden death of her mother, has to live with her estranged grandma in a close-knit small town. It’s about the damage done by family secrets, the healing power of friendship, and the idea that being true to yourself is the best kind of loyalty.
The inspiration came from my own childhood where I made a decision that I very much regret, so I wrote a story where the main character chooses differently. Don’t worry, I didn’t rob a bank or forge checks or anything. It was one of those self-preservation types of decisions, and I’m hopeful the story will reach children in that way.
What are you most excited about in the debut process?
I’m crazy about images, and most of my writing stems from them. So when I saw this bird (for more, see Jeannette Janson’s awesome blog) a whole section of my story fell into place. Because of this, I am most excited about my cover art. Seems like it should be revisions, or holding the book in my hand. But really, I can’t wait for that email from my editor with a thumbnail of my book cover. Squee!
What cool facts might readers not know about you?
- I am Extremely Freckled
- I’m not a fan of chocolate
- I hardly ever have to wait in line. Lines always form behind me (except Disneyland – but we’re working on it). My husband is convinced this is a superpower
- I am two degrees of separation from Ryan Gosling
- I once owned a porcelain statue that I believed was magic (it broke, which was a tough way to find out it wasn’t)
- Reading Little Women at eleven-years old changed my life, and made me want to be a writer
|Tracy Holczer lives in Southern California with her husband, three daughters, and two rather fluffy dogs named Buster and Molly. She has a deep love for the mountains where she grew up so she writes them into her stories. THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY (Putnam/Penguin Spring 2014) was written in praise of both nature and family, and all that can be found if you’re willing to hunt for treasure.|