An interview with YA Author Hope Bolinger

Hope Bolinger Headshot

Hope Bolinger is younger than my children and makes me jealous to see all she’s accomplished in her young life. Now that I’ve confessed it, LOL, on with the interview. Welcome Hope, it’s so fun to have young blood on my blog. It reminds readers we can follow our writing dreams at any age. Tell my readers a little about your writing journey.

I started writing novels in high school. I buried myself in books and wrote just about everything I could.

Fourteen novels later, I found myself at Taylor University’s professional writing program, which offered a student scholarship to attend the Maranatha Christian Writer’s Conference. Having just completed Blaze (a modern-day Daniel) over the summer, I decided to pitch it to every editor I could fit a one on one for. Eddie, the editor at LPC, gave me some edits to fix the three-chapter sample but encouraged me to send it to the YA imprint of LPC.

It made it past Pub Board, but had a number of edits needed after they reviewed the full. After I went back and forth several times with the managing editor, it was polished and ready to go.

I remember getting the acceptance email in the college parking lot after my friends and I had seen a rather solemn viewing of Avengers: Infinity War. It was going to be published.

Tell us about Blaze

Blaze is being released in June. It essentially is the first three chapters of Daniel plopped into an American high school. It follows the story of Danny as he, and three of his closest friends, are transferred to their rival after his school mysteriously burns down.

Great story idea. How did you research to create your story?

This one was unique because it involved a lot of research into the time of the Babylonians, commentaries on Daniel, and just about everything in the 500-400 BC range. For this one, I spent a lot of time buried in books in the Old Testament to make sure I included as much symbolism and historical references as possible. Also, having written this from a male’s perspective, I made sure to have some male friends look over the manuscript to make sure Danny walked, talked, and sounded like a high school sophomore.

Yeah, guys gotta sound like guys. Why a retelling of the Book of Daniel?

I was sitting in an Old Testament class in which we blazed (buh dum tssh) through the Old Testament in a semester. On the day we covered the book of Daniel, my professor said something along the lines of, “Daniel and his friends would’ve been about 14 to 16 years old when the Babylonians took them into captivity.”

I sort of jolted in my seat, thinking, “Wait. Fifteen years old?”

Here are these four brave men who stood up to Kings, and they were just teens. Not to mention they were extremely involved in Babylonian culture and had to be adept at just about everything.

Then I thought, “What would that look like today? To get involved in a completely different culture but still stand up for what you believe in . . . as a teen?” Blaze was born.

When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

It’s hard to pinpoint a certain time when I didn’t write. I have copies of three-page stories I made in first grade buried somewhere in my room. But I didn’t actually take it on as a full-time calling until my AP Lit teacher in high school, in a passing remark, noted I wrote well. Granted, she gave me a B on that paper, but it stuck with me. In that moment, I thought, “Wow. I could actually do this.”

Taylor’s professional writing program helped solidify that. We had articles published our first semester (I got a little too into it and had 300 published by the time I graduated), and we walked through just about every aspect of the publishing industry. I’m forever indebted to the instructors there.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

It used to be Colossians 3:17. I loved the idea to do everything for Christ.

But lately the whole chapter of Psalm 103 has helped. Like Danny, I struggle with anxiety, but those verses have helped keep me calm and at peace, especially during some very dark spiritual episodes this past semester.

I usually ask this question to much older authors. 😊 But I’m curious  about your answer. If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

Learn to accept criticism. It took me a while to realize that writing takes a lot of work. I think I had this idea that I would just write a book, throw it through spell check, and viola! Off to the publisher it went!

. . . not quite. It takes an insane amount of time and dedication, and more often than not, the editor is always right.

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

I always throw it back to my best friend James. I’ve known him for four years, and every time I want to quit, he refuses to let me. He reads just about everything I send him and is my biggest cheerleader.

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

Of course, YA. I think YA writers have way too much fun. I also love diving into the Classics. I love to know why a book stood the test of time.

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Here’s the back cover copy of Blaze

If you can’t stand the heat, don’t walk into the fire.

Danny knew his sophomore year would be stressful . . . but he didn’t expect his school to burn down on the first day.

To make matters worse (and they were about to get a lot worse), he — and his three best friends — receive an email in their inboxes from the principal of their rival, King’s Academy, offering full-rides to attend the town’s prestigious boarding school. Danny wants nothing to do with King’s Academy and says no. Of course his mother says yes. So off he goes to be bullied and picked on for not being part of the popular and rich “in crowd.”

From day one at King’s, Danny encounters hazing, mocking insults from girls at the “popular and pretty” table, and cafeteria food that, for such a prestigious school, tastes as if it were purchased from a military surplus supply warehouse. If he survives, Danny will have to overcome his fears of failure, rejection, and loneliness–all while standing strong in his beliefs and walking into the fire.

 

Intriguing . I want it read. 

Who is Hope Bolinger?

Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a recent graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing program. More than 300 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer’s Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column “Hope’s Hacks,” tips and tricks to avoid writer’s block, reaches 2,700+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young’s blog, which receives 63,000+ monthly hits. She is excited for her modern-day Daniel “Blaze” to come out with IlluminateYA (an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). She enjoys all things theater, cats, and fire.

 

Contact Info:

Facebook: @therosewoman

Twitter: @hopebolinger

Instagram: @hopebolinger

Website: hopebolinger.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hope-Bolinger/e/B00V0VWFKQ?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_fkmrnull_1&qid=1550020518&sr=8-1-fkmrnull

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13700140.Hope_Bolinger

 

A Visit with Krysten Lindsey Hager

Today I welcome  YA  authorr Krysten Lindsay Hager to Jubilee Writer.  I always enjoy learning about authors, their projects and what makes them tick. Let’s begin, Krysten what’s your latest published project.Krysten Hager

Can Dreams Come True is my latest young adult novel. It’s about a girl named Cecily who has always had a huge crush on singer Andrew Holiday. She wants to be an actress, so she tags along when her friend auditions for his new video. However, the director isn’t looking for an actress, but rather the girl next door—and so is Andrew. Cecily gets a part in the video and all of Andrew’s attention on the set. Her friend begins to see red and Cecily’s boyfriend is seeing green—as in major jealousy. A misunderstanding leaves Cecily and her boyfriend on the outs and Andrew hopes to pick up the pieces as he’s looking for someone more stable in his life than the models he’s dated. Soon Cecily begins to realize Andrew understands her more than her small-town boyfriend—but can her perfect love match really be her favorite rock star?

 Sounds like sonething many young adults dream about. How did you research for your book?

I read a lot of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs of singers and watched a lot of music documentaries and biographies as well. I decided to use singers from different decades for a wider range of material. Some of the singers I included were: Ed Sheeran, Elvis, Justin Bieber, Whitney Houston, Katy Perry, Marvin Gaye, George Michael, Andy Gibb—and several others. I ended up walking away with a different picture of what it’s really like to be a performer.

Researching  real celebrities lives for deeper background is a great idea. Interesting.

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What inspired you to write your book?

I used my own celebrity crushes to create a “what if” moment and to see what the mindset would be for a girl who was put in that position to date her ultimate crush while being a normal girl next door. I wanted to explore that relationship and compare it to the high school relationship she had been in.

It is obvious you are still in touch with the younger version of yourself.

When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but it wasn’t until college that I knew it was my calling for sure. I read a biography of Paula Danziger and I could really relate to why she wanted to write for teens.

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

I would tell myself the importance of enjoying the writing process and not to focus just on getting published. I think too often writers put this insane pressure on themselves to get a book published. Put the focus on the writing.

Excellent advice. Now tell us who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

Having friends who enjoy the books helps so much. I had a friend who was messaging me how much she loved Dating the It Guy and then when I’d respond she’d tell me to leave her alone so she could get back to reading! That helps a lot to know people are enjoying the work. My best friend encouraged me to keep going with Can Dreams Come True when I stopped for a bit after my pop star crush passed away unexpectedly. That helps a lot.

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

I love biographies/autobiographies and YA books.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I write in my office. I was a military wife moving around for years, so having a place to settle down and actually have my books unpacked and on the shelf is sooo inspiring.

Thanks so much for stopping by Krysten, thanks for sharing links so my readers can contact you and buy your books.

Biography: Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Next Door to a Star,  Landry in Like, Competing with the Star, Dating the It Guy, and Can Dreams Come True? True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Bestseller Award for childen/teens. Competing with the Star is a Readers’ Favorite Book Award Finalist. Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc View, Dayton Daily News, and on the talk show Living Dayton.

WEBSITE: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/krystenlindsay/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/KrystenLindsay

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/KrystenLindsayHagerAuthor

PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/krystenlindsay/

Buy links:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079S3KJSH

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079S3KJSH

Amazon IN: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B079S3KJSH

Amazon Germany: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B079S3KJSH

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B079S3KJSH

Amazon AUS: https://www.amazon.com.au/Dreams-Come-True-Cecily-Taylor-ebook/dp/B079S3KJSH

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/can-dreams-come-true-krysten-lindsay-hager/1128104849?ean=9781621357469

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