Hi, everyone! I’m Kathryn Holmes, and my debut novel THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND comes out from HarperTeen in early 2015. I’m a writer and dancer originally from east Tennessee and now happily settled in Brooklyn. I’ve been a writer (and an obsessive reader) for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until 2008, when I started at The New School’s MFA in Creative Writing program, that I started to really push toward writing books as a career. (Before grad school, I spent several years as a magazine editor, and I still write for an array of dance publications, including Dance Spirit.) These days I’m a full-time freelancer, dividing my time between writing my next book, writing dance articles, and a few other writing/editing gigs—plus weekly dance and yoga classes, of course.
So what’s my book about? Here’s the flap copy:
Ever since the night of the incident with Luke Willis, the preacher’s son, sophomore Hallelujah Calhoun has been silent. When the rumors swirled around school, she was silent. When her parents grounded her, she was silent. When her friends abandoned her…silent.
Now, six months later, on a youth group retreat in the Smoky Mountains, Hallie still can’t find a voice to answer the taunting. Shame and embarrassment haunt her, while Luke keeps coming up with new ways to humiliate her. Not even meeting Rachel, an outgoing newcomer who isn’t aware of her past, can pull Hallie out of her shell. Being on the defensive for so long has left her raw, and she doesn’t know who to trust.
On a group hike, the incessant bullying pushes Hallie to her limit. When Hallie, Rachel, and Hallie’s former friend Jonah get separated from the rest of the group, the situation quickly turns dire. Stranded in the wilderness, the three have no choice but to band together.
With past betrayals and harrowing obstacles in their way, Hallie fears they’ll never reach safety. Could speaking up about the night that changed everything close the distance between being lost and found? Or has she traveled too far to come back?
In grad school, I’d been working on a book set in my adopted home of New York City. When I put that book in the drawer, I knew I wanted to go back to my roots and set my next book where I grew up. My parents’ house is not far from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While I wouldn’t say I was particularly outdoorsy as a kid or teen, I enjoyed visiting the mountains for day hikes and picnics. When I go home these days, it’s always nice to squeeze in a quick trip to the GSMNP.
And so when the character of Hallelujah appeared in my head and I was starting to figure out her story, I knew I wanted to put her in those mountains. The plot—Hallelujah, Jonah, and Rachel getting lost and struggling to survive, as well as Hallelujah finding her way back from everything that happened with Luke—grew from there. I couldn’t be prouder of the finished product.
I wrote THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND wanting to explore not only survival in a physical sense, but also how a single screwed-up incident can put someone in social “survival mode” for months afterward. I also wanted to explore trust and faith—in oneself, in other people, and yes, even in a higher power. Learning to trust again might be Hallelujah’s only way out of the woods—and I hope you’ll enjoy taking that journey with her.
In the meantime, I am so thrilled to be a Fearless Fifteener. I know my book will be in excellent company on the shelves in a year!
|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. Her debut YA novel, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND, comes out in early 2015 from HarperTeen. You can find Kathryn online at www.kathrynholmes.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Kathryn_Holmes.|