I’m extremely happy to have talented author Evelyne Holingue on my blog today. I met Evelyne through her fabulous blog.
I was bound to love Evelyne’s blog and her writing. Evelyne is from France (alongside Italy, my favorite country in the world), where she grew up in beautiful Normandy and studied in Paris.
As an adult, Evelyne moved to America-to California-with her husband, where they raised their children. Evelyne’s posts are full of wonderful observations about life in America through the eyes of a French woman. As the mother of children who have fully integrated into their new homeland, she also offers insight into watching her family growing up in two cultures.
Evelyne writes in both French and English. Her first published novel is a young adult adventure entitled Trapped in Paris. Although I’ve been lucky enough to have hosted many author interviews on my site, Evelyne is my very first young adult author, so an especially big thanks to Evelyne for joining me today!
Evelyne, can you provide us with the blurb for Trapped in Paris?
Sixteen-year-old Cameron and Framboise have nothing in common and no reason to meet. But when a volcano eruption in Iceland interrupts all air traffic, the two teenagers find themselves trapped in Paris.
Confronted with exceptional events, Cameron and Framboise must rely on each other. Ultimately they will overcome their personal grief and open their hearts to the possibility of change and love.
How did you decide to write this book?
After the eruption of a volcano in Iceland in April 2010, thousands of air travelers were stranded for days in airports and cities. My sixteen-year-old daughter had just returned from France two days sooner. This connection of events planted the seeds for my novel.
It sounds as if you have lots of elements in this book – a murder, adventure, a love story, and, of course, the wonderful backdrop of Paris. You also have a male and a female protagonist. Is it harder to write young adult books that appeal to both boys and girls? Did you write this book with a broader reading public in mind?
Paris is never far from my mind. Often, Paris and France described by North America writers are a little too picture-like. I wanted to show a different side of Paris and the suburbs. Over the years, I extensively volunteered in my children’s schools, organized writing events, and book fairs. I noticed that many young teens, and particularly boys, enjoy fast-paced stories with suspense and action. Although I grew up in a family of girls and have only one son, I like to write from a boy’s perspective. So it was natural for me to choose a male protagonist. The female character showed up as soon as I started to write and I kept her. In a funny way, most of my readers are girls. There is definitely something for everyone in this novel.
How did you go about publishing this?
After I finished the first draft, I wrote several more with the help of my writing group.
I’ve learned one important lesson in the States: you can be your own boss if you are willing to work hard. I decided to publish on my own to fully embrace the whole process. In Paris, my husband and I worked in a publishing company. My husband supported my idea to go indie and took care of the formatting of my manuscript for the printed and electronic version and did the cover design, too. I hired a copy editor with extensive experience in the publishing business, and particularly in children’s literature. Along this DIY journey I’ve met other writers who chose this alternative route. Sharing and learning from their experiences has been uplifting and rewarding.
What is the young adult market like today? Who are some of your favorite authors?
The YA market is very rich in its diversity and quality.
My favorite YA author is probably A.S. King. Like many people, I admire John Green’s work. I was hooked when his editor read an excerpt of his first book Looking for Alaska at a conference, months before the novel was published. I am also a fan of Markus Zusak, Laurie Halse Anderson, Mary E. Pearson, M.T. Anderson, Sarah Dessen, Patricia McCormick, Sherman Alexie, to name only a few.
I have a deep respect for the authors who paved the road: Robert Cormier, Lois Lowry, Judy Blume, Sharon Creech, Walter Dean Myers, Jacqueline Woodson… Again, only a few names.
Anyone who writes a good story, traditionally or independently published, deserves to be supported. For example, Miss Mabel’s School for Girls written by indie author Katie Cross is a very good book with an intriguing plot and excellent writing.
You write both young adult and adult novels and short stories. What are the major differences when you approach a young adult or an adult project?
I haven’t published any novel for adults. I completed a manuscript based on my immigration experience, which I’m trying to sell. Several of my short stories for adults have placed in different writing contests or aired on Valley Public Radio, local National Public Radio for the vast Central California Valley. I think it’s easier to publish and promote independently for the adult market than it is for the children and YA market. The buyers remain parents who will more likely pick the book from an author their child or teen already like than try a new name.
How have you promoted and marketed your book? What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way?
School and library visits as well as signings in local bookstores have been good venues to showcase my novel. Independently published authors must support each other. I write reviews for independently published book of good quality (content and writing). Some writers have done the same for me. Bloggers have been very kind to feature Trapped in Paris on their blog. I take the opportunity to thank you, Kimberly, for inviting me on yours.
If you could offer one piece of advice to a writer thinking of entering the young adult market, what would it be?
Whether you want to submit to an editor or agent or publish independently, it is crucial to have a polished manuscript. Join a supportive and honest writing/critique group to get the best possible story. Then hire an editor or at least a copy editor before submitting or publishing.
What are you working on now?
1-The release of a middle grade novel set in a small Normandy town in the early 70s and written from the perspective of a thirteen-year-old American boy and a thirteen-year-old French girl.
2- The release of my ‘memoir’ related to my immigration experience if the editor who has it says no.
3- A YA manuscript set in contemporary California, with a dash of dystopia.
4- For the first time ever, I entered a French writing contest. The piece I wrote triggered my desire to write more in my native language. I’ll see what I do with the stories I am currently writing.
Thank you so much for joining me today, Evelyne! Hope you will come back again to join me for your next book.
To follow Evelyne or order her book, see these links.