We’re pleased to welcome Tracy Holczer, whose book THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY just debuted from G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
Twelve-year-old Grace and her mother have always been their own family, traveling from place to place like gypsies. But Grace wants to finally have a home all their own. She thinks she’s found it with Mrs. Greene and her daughter Lacey so when her mother says it’s time to move on again, Grace summons the courage to tell her mother how she really feels. She’ll always regret that her last words to her were angry ones.
Now faced with making a home with a grandmother she’s never met, and according to her mother, didn’t want her in the first place, Grace is desperate to get back to Mrs. Greene and Lacey. A mysterious treasure hunt, just like the ones her mother used to send her on, may must be the key. It all begins with a crane. And Grace is sure it’s her mother showing her the way home.
SL: How long have you been writing and how long did it take you to write THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY?
TH: I’ve been writing for twelve years, which I mark by the date I joined the SCBWI. And Daisy took six of those years.
SL: How did the crane symbolism come about? Were you involved with the process of creating the cover?
TH: My editor was kind enough to share versions of the cover as we went along, asking for input. We nixed the first two covers and when they showed me the one we have now, I have to admit that, at first, I wasn’t sure it was a match to the story. Really, though, it just wasn’t a match to my very narrow view of how I thought the cover should look. I mean, I had it all picked out, and my daughter had drawn a perfect pencil sketch, don’t you know.
The magic that came out of that process for me was letting go of my very narrow view (sort of like Grace!). And thank goodness for it. Annie Ericsson created a beautiful cover and the cranes are such a perfect metaphor for Grace’s story. DAISY is so not just about loss, but about transformation and self-identity. It is the absolute perfect cover for my book and I am grateful every day that no one asked for my daughter’s pencil sketch (even though it is gorgeous and I framed it and hung it in my family room).
TH: Let’s start with the ideal writing day. I would get up, walk the dogs, exercise, SHOWER, change into actual clothes, eat a balanced breakfast, take my vitamins and sit down to write for four hours. Then I would do an hour of internet/marketing/fun stuff and be refreshed from my wonderfully productive day so that I have loads of energy for when the kids get home from school.
Typical is more along the lines of throwing the toy down the hallway a few times in lieu of walking the dogs and staring at the exercise DVDs with loathing as I throw on a pair of ratty jeans and head to my local coffee shop where I spend too much time on the internet. BUT, I do get the words down, so I’m working on not judging myself on those days I’m not Polly Perfect.
SL: What have you learned from working with your editor (Stacey Barney)?
TH: Oh, I don’t know, let’s see. How about EVERYTHING. I think the twelve years I wrote, attended workshops, took classes, read how-to-write books, and everything else I did to try and cram writing knowledge into my brain gave me a great foundation. But the true work of story, of getting down the thematic significance and the pacing, really came clear during the editorial process with Stacey. She did what all really good editors probably do, which is point out the holes without telling you how to fill them. She made herself available for all the questions. She was encouraging. But then she stood back and gave me the room I needed to write my story.
SL: What is the one thing you’d like readers to take away from your book?
TH: That we are the sum of our parts. Not just the positive experiences, but the negative ones, too. Humans are equal parts joy and loss, light and dark, and those dark times that we survive are worth celebrating. It’s never too early for a child to know this, I don’t think. Also, no one is impossible to love and forgive if they are willing to work hard to repair the damage done.
SL: Do daisies really hum?
TH: For me, they do.
THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY is available now. Tracy Holczer may be contacted at 2629 Foothill Blvd. #144, La Crescenta, CA 91214 or emailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also tweet her at @tracyholczer.
|Stacey Lee is a fourth generation Chinese-American whose people came to California during the heydays of the cowboys. She believes she still has a bit of cowboy dust in her soul. A native of southern California, she gave up her job as a lawyer to finally took up the pen because she wanted the perks of being able to nap during the day and it was easier than moving to Spain. UNDER A PAINTED SKY is her first novel, coming Winter 2015 from G.P. Putnam’s Sons. To learn more, visit www.staceyhlee.com or follow her on Twitter.|