Monday, September 7, 2015

The Neptune Challenge Blog Tour: Author Q&A and GiveAway!

(sequel to the award-winning The Neptune Project,[click for Hall Ways Review])


Polly Holyoke
Genetically engineered to survive in the ocean, Nere and her friends are recovering from their long, treacherous journey to refuge and settling in at Safety Harbor. Despite its name, plenty of dangers still lurk just outside the colony's boundaries. When two among them are kidnapped, the remaining Neptune kids and their loyal dolphins must set out on a mission even more perilous than their first: infiltrate the kidnapper's fortress to save their friends and steal away a vital scientific secret that may save the world and its oceans. Fighting terrifying mutated creatures and teens, will the Neptune kids find a way to save their friends, themselves, and their underwater world? The stakes couldn't be higher in this thrilling sequel to the award-winning The Neptune Project.

Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble   ~~~   Amazon ~~~~  indiebound     

Our Safety Harbor inlet is calm this morning. Small swells lift and lower me gently. Already the sky overhead is starting to gray, and clouds along the horizon blush pink and red. I can just make out the hardy spruce trees that cling to sharp outcroppings along the shore. The morning is quiet except for the rush of the nearby surf and the cry of a gull winging its way across the dawn sky.
Mariah, the leader of my family’s dolphin pod, finds me bobbing on the swells. Her little calf, Tisi, swims a tight circle around me while her daughter Sokya rushes up and flips water in my face.
“What worries you this morning?” Mariah asks as she cranes her head out of the water so she can see me better. At forty, Mariah is a grandmother several times over. Her teeth are a little worn, and her right side is scarred by an old shark bite, but her eyes are still bright with intelligence. Mariah is also amazing at reading my moods.
“There’re so many people at Safety Harbor,” I try to explain while I rub Sokya’s favorite spot, in front of her dorsal. The slick, rubbery feel of her skin is familiar and comforting. “And they all think Dad’s awesome and great at running things. I’m afraid they expect me to be just like him. That Janni girl wants me to join her Sea Rangers and help fight the Marine Guard and sharks, but I just want to work with dolphins.”
“You led us safely here through many fights and many miles of sea,” Mariah reminds me.
I wince, remembering the dangerous journey my friends and I had to make from the southern sector to reach my father’s colony. I hadn’t really led everyone here safely. Two of our group died on our trip to Safety Harbor, and we lost sweet Pani, one of Mariah’s granddaughters, all killed by Marine Guard divers sent by the Western Collective to capture or eliminate us.
“We never would have made it here without your help,” I say to Mariah.
“I helped the most,” Sokya declares. She leaps out of the water and lands on her side, dousing me with a wave.
What has been your favorite part about being an author?
I’ve so enjoyed sharing my stories with young people and hearing about why they love Nere’s adventures with her dolphins and her companions. I’ve also relished learning about oceanography and marine biology. But I’d have to say that during this past year, my favorite part of being an author has been visiting schools. I used to be a certified middle school teacher, and I’ve missed being in the classroom. Now I’ve given my assembly on how to become a better writer to thousands of students, and I often get to teach writing workshops to smaller groups of kids. I enjoy convincing students that being an author is the best job in the world, that they need to READ, WRITE, UNPLUG and leave time to DAYDREAM, and that there will always be jobs for people who can use their imaginations.

If you had not become an author, what else would you have liked to do for a living?
I was a teacher for a decade, but then my husband started moving us around so much that it was hard to keep my certifications up to date. I loved teaching history and trying to help kids see how relevant, interesting and topical history can be. I also would have loved to be an archaeologist, a paleontologist, a folksinger or a jockey.

Twelve-year-old Polly… reading a book!
What advice would you give to your 12-year-old self?
I would tell myself not to feel guilty or worried about reading too much. When I was a tween, my mother was terribly worried that I wasn’t experiencing life because I read so many books. I believe, however, that I am a writer now because the reading I did as a girl strengthened my ability to imagine and picture stories. I firmly believe that kids who read are actually wiser and more empathetic than kids who don’t. When young people read, they are in some fundamental way living the adventures and lives of the characters in their books.

If you could time travel, where would you go first?
I’d like to solve some of the great mysteries in history. It would be very cool to shadow Oswald and Ruby and figure out if Oswald acted alone in assassinating Kennedy and find out why Ruby shot Oswald. I’d like to know what happened to the Roanoke colony and the little princes whom Richard III may have murdered. I would love to meet Abraham Lincoln (perhaps the finest writer to ever live in the White House) or the real William Shakespeare. I’ve studied enough history, though, to have no interest in staying in the past. Some of the most fascinating times in history were bloody, dangerous and uncomfortable!

What was the last book that was recommended to you?
Three different people recommended Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein to me, and now I’m just sorry I took so long to read it. I thought this novel was a fabulous historical. The author had clearly done her research, her characters were vivid, and the story structure clever. I love books that sweep me away to another reality, and Code Name Verity did that in a most satisfying fashion.

What is your writing process like? Do you have any interesting writing rituals?
I keep a journal and try to capture story ideas whenever they come to me. Then I usually daydream and research a particular plot in detail. I try to imagine at least twenty major scenes, and more recently I’ve started incorporating those scenes into a rough synopsis. I often write bios for my major characters, too. Then I’m ready to write, but once the story gets rolling, I’m always willing to add scenes or take detours. My best-imagined characters often develop free will and take over the story, and I’m delighted when that happens!

I’m afraid I don’t have any interesting rituals. I have become seriously addicted to sipping a warm cup of tea when I write. I may try keeping thermos in my office this fall, so I don’t have an excuse to keep stepping away from my desk to brew another cup. I have a hunch I could increase my daily page count considerably if I stopped making so many trips downstairs to make more tea!

I just started this book, so the Hall Ways review will post separately. But let me say this -- I'm only fifty pages in and WOW! There is already action and crisis and evil plots!  I fully anticipate that when I again pick-up the book (which is staring at me, longingly, begging me to do so right now), I won't put it down 'til it's done!  Check back for my review in the next few days, and in the mean time, check out my review of the first book in the series, The Neptune Project
Polly Holyoke is a former teacher and loves reading, camping, skiing, scuba diving and hiking in the desert. She lives in Plano, TX with three rescue dogs, two spoiled cats and a nice husband who tolerates piles of books all over their house. Her debut middle-grade novel,The Neptune Project, was published by Disney/Hyperion and was selected to the 2014-15 Texas Bluebonnet Master List along with state reading lists in Maryland and Ohio. It was also named one of Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of 2014. Her second children’s book, The Neptune Challenge, was released May, 2015.

Here you can find a treasure box of information about the series, the sea, and writing. There is information for school/group visits, use in the classroom (including curriculum guides), and links for extended research. 
You can contact Polly, and her publicist via the “contact” page.

signed copy & dolphin necklace and earring set!


Aug 24 - Books and Broomsticks - Guest Post
Aug 25 - Because This is My Life, Y’all - Promo Post
Aug 26 - Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books - Promo Post
Aug 27 - Texas Book-aholic - review
Aug 28 - TexasBookLover - Guest Post
Aug 29 - All For the Love of the Word - promo post
Aug 30 - Bookishjessp - promo
Aug 31 - Feather Pens, Tartan Dreams - Promo Post + Author Q&A
Sept 1 - A Novel Reality - review
Sept 2 - Book Crazy Gals - Guest Post + promo
Sept 3 - The Crazy Bookseller - review
Sept 4 - Secret Asian Girl - review
Sept 5 - My Book Fix - review
Sept 6 - The Page Unbound - review
Sept 7 - Hall Ways - Author Q&A

blog tour services provided by

*NOTE FROM KRISTINE at HALL WAYS: The content of this promo post was provided by Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours.  If you're a Texas blogger interested in joining the ranks of Texas Book Blog Tours, contact Tabatha Pope. Hall Ways Review will post separately

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