Monday, November 4, 2019

Cynthia Hand Interview - The How & the Why

Photo Content from Cynthia Hand

Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for teens, including the UNEARTHLY trilogy, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, MY LADY JANE and MY PLAIN JANE (with fellow authors Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows), THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE, and the upcoming novel THE HOW AND THE WHY (Fall 2019). Before turning to writing for young adults, she studied literary fiction and earned both an M.F.A. and a Ph.D. in fiction writing. She currently resides in Boise, Idaho, with a husband who's addicted to typewriters, two kids, two cats, one crazy dog, and a entourage of imaginary friends.


Imprint: HarperTeen (November 5, 2019)
On Sale: 11/05/2019
Pages: 464
List Price: 17.99 USD Age: 13+
ISBN: 9780062693167
ISBN 10: 0062693166

Praise for THE HOW & THE WHY

“The novel’s great strength is the emotional depth of its characters and the complexity of their relationships. A heartfelt and hopeful story about coming of age as an adoptee.” ―School Library Journal

“Hand explores adoption’s multiple dimensions with great insight and sensitivity. Inclusive and illustrative: an engaging lesson in timeless family values.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Cynthia Hand is the master of pulling at your heartstrings. The How & the Why tells both sides of an adoption story with love, compassion, and care. You’ll be reaching for your tissue box with this one -- if you can stop turning pages long enough, that is.” ―Brigid Kemmerer, New York Times Bestselling Author of Letters to the Lost

“Beautifully rendered and superbly shaped. Hand has crafted an absorbing novel that focuses on family, friendship, teen pregnancy, adoption, personal choices, and serious health issues. Give this exquisite novel to readers seeking an emotionally intricate story.” ―Booklist (starred review)

You have a new book: THE HOW & THE WHY, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
THE HOW & THE WHY is about two teenage girls: one who calls herself S, who is living in a home for pregnant teens in the year 2000, writing a series of letters to the unborn baby that she intends to place for adoption, and the other, Cassandra, the high school senior in the year 2018 that baby grows up to become. It is a story about finding your identity and figuring out, not only who you are, but who you want to be. It is also what I like to call “a book of my heart,” because I myself was adopted. It’s not my autobiography, by any means, but it definitely explores a lot of the journey and emotions I’ve faced as an adopted child.

What part of Cassandra did you enjoy writing the most?
Cass is a theatre nerd, which I also was in high school, so one of the elements I most enjoying in writing about her was her life in the theatre. She gets to try out for, rehearse, and perform one of my favorite musicals: Into the Woods. I always wanted to be in that play back when I was doing theatre, but I never got the chance. So I got to vicariously through Cass, which was really fun. I had to think about what part she might be cast in, and I designed the set and the costumes (on paper, anyway) and I was right there with her when she was having anxiety over her stage kiss with Prince Charming. It was awesome writing that part.

Best date you've ever had?
There was a guy who organized a double date with a seventies theme. We dressed up in bellbottoms and polyester. For dinner we had fondue with the Bee Gees blaring in the background. We danced to disco, and ended the night by watching Saturday Night Fever. It set a pretty high bar for dates after that.

What are 4 things you never leave home without?
1. I always have a little notebook for ideas in my purse. I never know when inspiration will strike me. 2. A Sharpie. Again, I’ve so often needed one of these while I’m out somewhere and not had one, so I make it a point to always have one in my purse now. 
3. Burt’s Bees Coconut and Pear lip balm—I love all things pear-scented, and I’m addicted to this stuff. 
4. A lotion bar. I got into these through my love of knitting, which is my other obsession outside of books. These bars are made with lanolin, so they don’t stain or get your knitting greasy, but they’re great at moisturizing my dry hands. Pear scented, of course.

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer?
One of my best memories about writing happened a few years ago, when Jodi Meadows and Brodi Ashton (my co-authors for MY LADY JANE, MY PLAIN JANE, and MY CALAMITY JANE, which is coming out in June, *wink) were working on the opening to MY CALAMITY JANE all in one Google doc at the same time. We were writing a scene that sadly doesn’t exist anymore, as we had totally revise the story of MCJ since then. It involved our three characters: Calamity Jane, Annie Oakley, and Frank Butler, tied up on a runaway train speeding toward the edge of a cliff. It was straight out of a cowboy melodrama. We were all working on it simultaneously, each adding jokes (at one point, “Snakes on a train!” was said, I mean, come on!), Jodi going along at the end correcting our grammar, and it was just the most energetic and hilarious and amazing time writing I’ve ever had. Most of the time writing is done alone, silently, thinking hard. This was like the opposite of that. It was awesome. We were able to salvage a little bit of this train scene into a tied-up-in-a-stagecoach scene at the end of the current MY CALAMITY JANE (out in June, *wink), and I am so glad!

A poignant exploration of family and the ties that bind, perfect for fans of Far From the Tree, from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand.

Today Melly had us writing letters to our babies…

Cassandra McMurtrey has the best parents a girl could ask for. They’ve given Cass a life she wouldn’t trade for the world. She has everything she needs—except maybe the one thing she wants. Like, to know who she is. Where she came from. Questions her adoptive parents can’t answer, no matter how much they love her.

But eighteen years ago, someone wrote Cass a series of letters. And they may just hold the answers Cass has been searching for.

Alternating between Cass’s search for answers and letters from the pregnant teen who gave her up for adoption, this voice-driven narrative is the perfect read for fans of Nina LaCour and Jandy Nelson.

You can purchase The How & the Why at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CYNTHIA HAND for making this giveaway possible.
3 Winners will receive a Copy of THE HOW & THE WHY by Cynthia Hand.
NOVEMBER 5th TUESDAY A Court of Coffee and Books REVIEW
NOVEMBER 5th TUESDAY Life Within the Pages REVIEW
NOVEMBER 7th THURSDAY Movies, Shows, & Books EXCERPT 
NOVEMBER 8th FRIDAY Crossroad Reviews REVIEW 

NOVEMBER 13th WEDNESDAY Two Points of Interest REVIEW 
NOVEMBER 14th THURSDAY Random Bookish Banter REVIEW
NOVEMBER 14th THURSDAY Little Bookish Thoughts REVIEW 
NOVEMBER 15th FRIDAY Nay's Pink Bookshelf REVIEW


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