Friday, May 3, 2013

All About Middle Grade Interview: Polly Holyoke (author of The Neptune Project)

Y'all, I am extremely excited to welcome debut author Polly Hollyoke, author of The Neptune Project, to the blog. Hope that y'all will enjoy her interview and give her a warm welcome.

About the author:

I grew up in Colorado and love hiking, camping and skiing in the mountains. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude from Middlebury College in Vermont, and earned my teaching certificate from the University of Colorado. I taught middle school social studies for almost a decade before leaving teaching to concentrate on my writing career. I've always LOVED reading and wrote my first book, RUSTLERS OF THE HIGH COUNTRY, with my best friend when I was fifth grade. This, um, remarkable tale about two little girls outwitting horse thieves never was published, but it did get me hooked on writing stories.
My husband introduced me to scuba diving, and I've been fortunate enough to dive all over the world. Like my heroine, Nere, I am claustrophobic, though, so I don't dive in wrecks or lava tubes anymore.
I live with three sweet dogs, two lazy cats and a very nice husband who puts up with piles of books all over our house. I love going to work in my pajamas and getting paid for daydreaming.
You can haunt Polly Holyoke at-
Website | Twitter | FB | Goodreads |


What inspired you to write THE NEPTUNE PROJECT?

When I see how terribly we’re messing things up on land, it just seems logical to me that someday we might try living in the oceans that cover 5/6ths of our planet. But it would take a great deal of technology for humans to survive in this hostile environment. Every day, however, we make huge strides in genetic engineering. Why couldn’t we change our bodies to live in the sea?

In seven words, how were the kids in the Neptune Project changed. What will be the most difficult challenge for them?

Their lungs can absorb oxygen from water.
Food is REALLY important to teens, and I think they all would be desperately homesick for the food they used to eat on land like bread, pizza and candy.

What was the most difficult aspect of writing THE NEPTUNE PROJECT?

The most difficult part was also the coolest part: doing LOTS of marine research. I was a history major in college and a social studies teacher for a decade, so I don’t have a strong background in science. I wanted to make Neptune as believable and accurate as possible which meant I spent HOURS looking up things like fish species, dolphin communication, and genetics. I have two good friends who are high school science teachers, and a friend who works for NOAA. All three of these women were incredibly patient about answering  questions for me.

Why do you think readers will connect with Nere and her story? Anything you hope they’ll take away after reading it?

Nere is a shy girl, and I think lots of girls are shy in middle school and junior high. She’s basically a nice, quiet kid thrown into an incredibly challenging situation, and in the end, she surprises herself by becoming an effective leader. I hope the girls who read Nere’s story realize that all of us have the potential to become leaders, and all of us have something important to contribute.

Since the characters in THE NEPTUNE PROJECT will face action, danger and adventure as they head to their safe haven, do you have a real life story where you had a brush with danger?

My most colorful story is when I was bitten by a rattlesnake while I was running by myself in a canyon in Utah. I felt something sharp poke my ankle. A few steps later when my lips started to tingle, I knew I was in trouble. I was at Lake Powell and literally hundreds of miles from a real emergency room. I’m proud that I kept my cool, hiked out, and my friends and family did a great job of getting me off the lake and eventually to a hospital.

Can you talk a little about climbing fourteen thousand foot peaks in Colorado?

I started hiking and climbing “fourteeners” with my dad back when I was twelve. That was before climbing these peaks became such a big fad in Colorado. I’m really proud of the fact I’ve climbed most of them because a few are pretty steep, and I’m a real chicken about heights.

The world has fallen to a robot invitation and only one hero/heroine can possibly save the day. Who would you choose?

I had to think about this one for a bit, but Ender, from ENDER’S GAME, has my vote. He is so resourceful and brilliant that I think he’d figure out a way to re-program the robots to serve mankind! And boy, could I use one to clean my house right now…

Tell us about your writing cave.

I’m definitely one of those people who like to write in a specific place. I love my snug little office. It’s so cluttered with pictures and knickknacks that it drives my hubby nuts, but it suits me fine. And any time I settle in to write, I usually have one or both of my cats supervising my efforts.

Any upcoming projects you want to share?

I’m very excited that Puffin UK has bought the sequel to THE NEPTUNE PROJECT, which means I was able to write more undersea adventures for my heroine Nere and her friends.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Polly. Cannot wait to read The Neptune Project

The Neptune Project by Polly Holyoke, May 21, 2013. Published by Disney Hyperion.
THE NEPTUNE PROJECT is set in a future where the seas are rising and global warming is out of control. Nere Hanson and her teen companions are shocked to learn 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 before their dangerous new world destroys them? 


  1. Sounds like an awesome book! It looks like the author has had some really cool experiences and a fun time writing the novel.

  2. Sounds like an awesome book! The author sounds really interesting, and it sounds like she had a great time writing the novel.


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