Saturday, September 3, 2016

0 Mary Hooper, author of POPPY, on the timelessness of feelings and emotions

We're excited to have Mary Hooper join us to share more about her latest novel POPPY, which won the Historical Association's award for best historical fiction for young adults.

Mary, what was your inspiration for writing POPPY?

Simply because World War I was a period of history I hadn’t yet tackled, and its Centenary was coming up.

What scene was really hard for you to write?

Any scene where a casualty had some ghastly injury that Poppy had to tend to.

How long did you work on POPPY?

I did about six months of research and planning, and another six months of actual writing (which sometimes just consisted of looking at a blank screen and sighing a lot). When I’d finished writing POPPY, I began research for POPPY IN THE FIELD, in which Poppy goes to work at a hospital in France and makes friends with two American Red Cross nurses.

What do you hope readers will take away from POPPY?

The knowledge that times and circumstances may change, but feelings and emotions don’t.

How long or hard was your road to publication? 

I was lucky enough to get into writing teen fiction way back in the days when there were hardly any teen books out there.

How many of your books never got published?

None! I’ve managed to find homes for all of them.


by Mary Hooper
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Released 8/30/2016

Set against the backdrop of World War I, this romantic novel is equal parts sweeping and heartbreaking.

England, 1914. Poppy is 15, beautiful, and clever, but society has already carved out her destiny. She will become a servant to the aristocratic de Vere family . . . and bury her feelings for their youngest son, Freddie. He could never marry a girl like her.

But the path for Poppy's life changes when it becomes clear that the war isn't going to end soon. England needs every able bodied person to serve in battle, which, for Poppy, means volunteering on the front lines as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse. As she experiences what people are capable of--the best of humanity and the worst--Poppy will discover how to be her own person.

This sweeping drama vividly blends swoon-worthy romance with the story of a girl looking for her place in a war-torn world is perfect fans of Elizabeth Wein and Ruta Sepetys.

Purchase Poppy at Amazon
Purchase Poppy at IndieBound
View Poppy on Goodreads


Mary Hooper is a very popular writer for children and young adults. Her brilliant historical novels have a huge fan base, as do her contemporary novels for teenagers. At The Sign of the Sugared Plum was selected as part of the 2010 Booked Up scheme and Fallen Grace has been nominated for the Carnegie Medal 2011. Mary lives in Henley-on-Thames.


Have you had a chance to read POPPY yet? Do you find it difficult to write scenes with horrible injuries? How much time do you spend researching your books? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Anisaa, Sam, Erin, Susan, Michelle, Laura, and Kristin

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