Tuesday, May 21, 2013

10 Questions with Polly Holyoke, author of THE NEPTUNE PROJECT

with Karen Harrington

Author Polly Holyoke is celebrating the release of her marvelous middle-grade debut, THE NEPTUNE PROJECT today! This terrific new novel has been praised by Kirkus as a "suspenseful undersea dystopia."

The story asks the question: What if you had to give up everyone you ever loved to live in the sea, forever?

The Neptune Project is set in a future where the seas are rising and wars and famines wrack the surface world. Nere Hanson and her teen companions are shocked to learn that they have been genetically altered by their desperate parents to live in the sea. Protected by her loyal dolphins, shy Nere leads the rest on a perilous journey to her father’s new colony. Fighting off government divers, sharks and giant squid, can Nere and her companions learn to trust each other before their dangerous new world destroys them?

I've been friends with Polly for a little while, but I wanted to get to know her better so we recently sat down over coffee and I tossed out a few questions. (Because I love James Lipton's Inside The Actors' Studio final 10 question format on Bravo, I took those questions and modified them for writers.) 
Polly at her first signing and talk on
May 18th.

KH: What is your favorite book?

Polly: This is an impossible question, but for today I’ll answer THE BLUE SWORD by Robin McKinley.  The magical desert world she creates is amazing, and I love her story of a young woman who discovers the hero inside herself.

KH: What is your favorite word?

Polly: “Serendipitous.” I like both this word’s sound and its meaning. When something nice and special just happens, that’s wonderful.

KH: What is your least favorite word?

Polly: “Slut.” It sounds ugly, and it is ugly, judgmental kind of word.

KH: What was the moment/experience in your life that made you KNOW you wanted to write?

Polly: The first year after I earned my teaching certificate, I was a substitute. The days I didn’t get called in to work, I started to write a fantasy novel, just for fun. I was hooked from the very first chapter because I found it so exciting to create a world and the characters who lived in it. As they write, authors get to live their characters’ adventures. I LOVE the scene in the movie Romancing the Stone where Kathleen Turner’s author character makes herself cry as she finishes the last scene in her novel.  I’ve often made myself cry and laugh as I write. Either this means I’m creating a truly vivid story, or I need psychological treatment.

KH: What’s the best writing advice you’ve received?

Polly: Keep your butt in the chair and only reread the last page you wrote when you sit down to start writing again.

KH: What writing tool can you not live without?

Polly: I’m afraid I’ve become totally dependent on my computer.

KH: What turns you on creatively?

Polly: Chocolate… and stories about quiet kids who are thrown into impossible situations and find out they are brave and capable.

KH: What turns you off?

Polly: Answering phone calls and urgent emails.

KH: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Polly: I’d love to be a radio talk show host on NPR. That would give me an excuse to read all the time and meet fascinating new people. Wait, I’m an author, which means I already have a good excuse to read all the time and meet fascinating people!

KH: What profession would you NOT like to do?

Polly: I would NOT like to be a dentist. I do not think people’s teeth or gum diseases are the least bit interesting (my apologies to my own dentist who happens to be one of the nicest guys and best dads in the world.)
Polly's remote controlled shark hovered
about during her first signing. 


Learn all about THE NEPTUNE PROJECT and more on Polly Holyoke's website. 

Other places to find Polly: 

At home with her SIX pets. 


  1. Always a fun set of questions. I just read about The Neptune Project, so this was especially fun. Thanks.

    1. I very much appreciated having some interesting and different questions to answer. Way to go, Karen Harrington! And best wishes to you, Rosi!