Saturday, January 30, 2016

0 Rebecca Podos, author of THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES, on the million ways to doubt yourself

We're honored to have Rebecca Podos join us to talk about her debut novel THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES.

Rebecca, what was your inspiration for writing THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES?

My inspiration for HOLLOW PLACES actually began with my day job as a YA and MG literary agent, where I was on the hunt for a mystery. I’ve always adored the genre, in part because, as Imogene says in the book, you know that whatever burning questions you have, they’ll be answered if you just hang in there till the last page. That’s such a satisfying narrative, when you think about it! So then, I was looking for something more specific in this book: a detective who truly believes in that comforting narrative structure, to the point where she uses it as a guide to navigate her own story. But as she goes along, real life intrudes, challenging what she thinks she knows about mysteries and about herself as well.

And because I’d fallen in love with this pretty particular idea, in the end, I thought I’d write the book myself. So that’s what I tried to do.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

The most important thing that writing this book taught me is that I can write a book. Seriously, I’ve found one million ways to doubt myself as an author, and I’m sure there are millions more I’ve yet to discover. But never again will I be able to say to myself, “Just stop it, stop where you are, because you know you’ll never be able to write a book.”

I’ve always thought of it like Harry Potter’s patronus in The Prisoner of Azkaban: having accomplished it once, it’s that much easier to believe you can do it again.

What are you working on now?

I’ve just finished the first draft of my next book, a YA contemporary, and I’m so incredibly excited about it. It has tiny New Mexican ghost towns and performing mermaids and LGBTQ romance, and if HOLLOW PLACES is about loneliness, then this book is about feeling trapped. It’s about the snares life sets for us and the kind we set for ourselves, and about believing someway, somehow, that we’re strong enough to climb out of them.


The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos
Balzer + Bray
Released 1/26/2016

All Imogene Scott knows of her mother is the bedtime story her father told her as a child. It's the story of how her parents met: He, a forensic pathologist, she, a mysterious woman who came to identify a body. A woman who left Imogene and her father when she was a baby, a woman who was always possessed by a powerful loneliness, a woman who many referred to as troubled waters. 

When Imogene is seventeen, her father, now a famous author of medical mysteries, strikes out in the middle of the night and doesn't come back. Neither Imogene's stepmother nor the police know where he could've gone, but Imogene is convinced he's looking for her mother. She decides to put to use the skills she's gleaned from a lifetime of her father's books to track down a woman she's never known, in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she's carried with her for her entire life.

Rebecca Podos' debut is a powerful, affecting story of the pieces of ourselves that remain mysteries even to us - the desperate search through empty spaces for something to hold on to.

Purchase The Mystery of Hollow Places at Amazon
Purchase The Mystery of Hollow Places at IndieBound View 
The Mystery of Hollow Places on Goodreads


Rebecca Podos' debut YA novel, THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES, is forthcoming from Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins) on 1/26/16. Rebecca is a graduate of the Writing, Literature and Publishing program at Emerson College, where she won the M.F.A. Award for Best Thesis. Her fiction has been published in journals like Glimmer Train, Paper Darts, Bellows American Review, and Smokelong Quarterly. Past Awards include the Helman Award for Short Fiction, the David Dornstein Memorial Creative Writing Prize for Young Adult Writers, and the Hillerman-McGarrity Scholarship for Creative Writing. She works as a YA and MG agent at the Rees Literary Agency in Boston.

Have you had a chance to read THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES yet? Do you find a million ways to doubt yourself? After writing your first book, do you find it easier to believe you can do it again? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Erin, Susan, Sam, Lindsey, Sarah, Sandra, Kristin, and Anisaa

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