Character Interview + Magnet Set Giveaway: Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala

Holly Cupala's Tell Me A Secret is a gripping novel about a teen girl named Miranda who has lost a sister and is finding out that her friends, boyfriend, and parents are not the people she thought they were. And, she's just found out that she's pregnant. Rather than find support among the people who know her best, Miranda finds the advice and help she needs to stay strong in an online chat room for women who are expecting. She poses as an older girl who has it all figured out--which could not be further from the truth.

In this online forum, Miranda meets a woman named Nik, who really helps her to feel strong and supported. Like Miranda, I fell in love with Nik and was so very excited to interview her. Here is our little chat, which contains some spoilers if you have not read this book. Make sure to enter the giveaway for the Tell Me A Secret magnets at the bottom of this post, which will be sent to you by Holly Cupala herself!

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I have to say that I was moved by your relationship with Miranda. As a teacher of at-risk youth, I often work with teen parents. How were you able to be so available but so lovingly firm with Miranda?

Thank you, Hattie! I have a feeling we would get along well. I’m not sure if I was firm with Miranda, but I think she deserved for someone to tell her the truth. She had herself so mixed up in confusion—in things her family told her, in what she believed, in all those memories she wrapped herself up in—that I’m not sure she could really see what was going on. I’m glad I could be there for her.

There were times as I read Tell Me a Secret when I wished that you were Miranda's mother. You seemed to be calm and caring when Miranda needed that the most. What advice do you have for mothers of teen girls?

It’s easier to trust someone outside of your family sometimes, someone who isn’t all wrapped up in the family patterns. But no one can replace a girl’s mother. You can’t control your daughter, but you can be her advisor. You can show her with your actions and not your words. You can listen and respect her opinion. You can be a place of safety.

You have all of these wise sayings for Miranda when she's going through hard times. Where do these come from? Are they something you heard growing up, or lessons you've learned along the way?

Wisdom comes from all over—you know it when you see it. I had a friend who said, “It’s the grit that makes the pearl,” and I’ve found that to be true. When I was going through a hard time myself, a wise woman told me the reasons for difficult events might not be in the past—they may be in the future, for how we respond and what we do with those experiences. It gave me hope in a dark time. I’ve never forgotten that.

I am so sorry that you lost your baby, Micah James. How are you doing now? Do you plan on trying to have a baby again?

By the time you read this, I might be on that road again. You never know. I’m hopeful about the future, as always. I’ll keep you posted, Hattie!

What's your relationship with Miranda like now that she's in college and is living at home?

Miranda has grown up quite a lot since all of this started. I see her trying to make it on her own, but also relying a lot more on the people who care about her. She’s a good employee, even if she hates every minute at the bank. She’s a pretty resilient girl, even if she doesn’t think so.

Any words of wisdom for a struggling pregnant (or not pregnant) teen who might be reading this post?

If I could take you aside and hug you, I would. Hold onto that little thread of faith you have—in yourself, in the future, in what you know is true. Don’t give up. Find friends. In the end, the hard things in life are what matter the most.

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Thanks, Nik! Now, you all have a chance to win a set of Tell Me a Secret magnets, which Holly Cupala will send to you herself. (She sends the best stuff!) If you'd like to win this gift from Ms. Cupala, just leave a comment about this book or this interview and leave an email address so that we can contact you (Closes 12/ 13). Thanks for reading!