Her first book, Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, was published in 2002 by Simon & Schuster. Tithe was called “dark, edgy, beautifully written and compulsively readable” by Booklist, received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, and was included in the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults. Holly has since written two other books in the same universe, Valiant (2005), and the sequel to Tithe, Ironside (2007), which spent five weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Valiant was a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award for Young Readers and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature.
Holly collaborated with her long-time friend, Caldecott award winning artist, Tony DiTerlizzi, to create the bestselling Spiderwick Chronicles. The first two books, The Field Guide and The Seeing Stone were released together in 2003 by Simon & Schuster, with the next three, Lucinda’s Secret (2003), The Ironwood Tree (2004) and The Wrath of Mulgarath (2004), following in rapid succession. The Wrath of Mulgarath climbed to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. The five-book serial has been called “vintage Victorian fantasy” by the New York Post and Time Magazine reported that “the books wallow in their dusty Olde Worlde charm.”
The lavishly illustrated Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to The Fantastical World Around You (2005), The Notebook for Fantastical Observations (2005), and Care and Feeding of Sprites (2006) expanded the Spiderwick universe. To date, the books have been translated into 32 languages. There are three more chapter books in the Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles series,The Nixie’s Song(2007), A Giant Problem (2008) and The Wyrm King(2009).
The Spiderwick Chronicles were adapted into a film by Paramount Pictures in conjunction with Nickelodeon Films. Released in February 2008, the film stars Freddie Highmore and Sarah Bolger, with Mark Waters as the director.
Holly has also been a frequent contributor to anthologies, and has co-edited three of them: Geektastic (with Cecil Castellucci, 2009), Zombies vs. Unicorns (with Justine Larbalestier, 2010), and Bordertown (with Ellen Kushner, 2011). Her first collection of short fiction, Poison Eaters and Other Stories, came out in 2010 from Small Beer Press. She has just finished the third book in her Eisner-nominated graphic novel series, The Good Neighbors, and has just released Red Glove, the second novel in The Curse Workers series. White Cat, is the first title in the series.
Holly lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Theo, in a house with a secret library.
Q: With so many various writing conferences and cons nowadays, authors seem to have several options to fill their schedules. What is it about Romantic Times that made you add this event to your busy schedule?
A: I attended RT last year for the first time and I had so much fun that I decided to come back for my release of my new book, RED GLOVE.
Q: As far as busy schedules go, do you find time to read for yourself? If so what are some of your current favorite books?
A: I am actually just making my way through Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series right now, on the recommendation of friends. But the three books I’ve been enjoying recently aren’t out yet: LISTEN FOR A WHISPER by Sarah Rees Brennan, MISFIT by Jon Skovron, and Caitlin Kiernan’s THE DROWNING GIRL.
Q: So many adults are enjoying the YA genre now. Do you feel like your writing has messages for the targeted audience of young adults, or do you keep in mind the cross-over audience as well?
A: I keep in mind the stuff I care about and love to read about and concentrate on that. I think the only audience you can really know how to please is yourself.
Q: Do you ever get “star-struck” meeting other authors or have “fan-girl” moments?
A: All the time. My favorite thing about being a writer is getting to meet other writers, especially writers I’ve been a fan of for many years. I almost cried the first time I talked to Charles de Lint and he said he’d read my book. It was embarrassing — and I think I might have screamed the first time I met Megan Whalen Turner.
Q: Since Romantic Times has an emphasis on romance, who are some of your favorite romantic couples of fiction, or ones perhaps you’ve created?
From my own books, I have a soft spot for Kaye and Roiben from TITHE and IRONSIDE, since TITHE was my first book. And I am really loving how complicated Cassel and Lila’s relationship is in RED GLOVE. They are both childhood sweethearts and rivals in a way that’s really fun for me.
Q: Are there certain things you have to have to write, like snacks or music?
A: I need to have coffee at pretty much all times — other than that, I write a lot with headphones on and music playing. But I travel quite a bit, so I try not to get caught up with a particular habit that will mean I have trouble writing on the road.
Q: Writing seems to be such a personal thing, is it hard to send your work out into the world? How do you deal with getting feedback from so many different people?
A: Honestly, I try really hard to let the work go. I don’t google myself or go hunting for discussions about my work (although I’ll read something if it’s sent to me). I have a workshop I really trust, an editor that I think is fantastic, and a bunch of first readers. But the thing is — no matter how much you love something or how good you think it is, people might not respond the way you hope. Some things work for a lot of readers and some have a narrower audience — and I don’t think there’s any way to know until the work is out there.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to young adults (on anything), what would it be?
A: You know those “It Gets Better” videos? It really does. As Joss Whedon has memorably shown us, high school is hell. But the rest of life is pretty great — and you get to pretty much make it up as you go along.
Q: What is your opinion on the steady popularity of supernatural elements in YA fiction? Do you think that the Vampire (were’s, angels, demons, fairies) trend is here to stay?
A: I think supernatural elements have always appealed to teenagers — as well as to adult readers. When I was fourteen, I was obsessed with Anne Rice’s INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE and re-read it every night before I went to bed. And I’m still reading and loving supernatural books now that I’m in my thirties.
Q: As writers of Young Adult fiction, teens (and some adults for that matter) can get kind of obsessed with characters and the authors that created them. Do you enjoy the fame and attention you have gained from writing or is it more of a nuisance?
A: I love to meet readers and talk about my characters with them. Characters live in my head for a long time before a book is published and so, I often feel like I know these people really well, but no one else does yet. It’s kind of a crazy feeling — and a real relief to be able to discuss them with others.
Q: What is next for you? Any exciting news you could share…or tease us with?
A: I just finished the third book of the Curse Workers, BLACK HEART, and the second book, RED GLOVE, comes out on April 5th! I am extremely excited (and a little nervous)!
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