Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Interview with P. J. Hoover, author of SOLSTICE

Today we have our own P. J. Hoover (aka Tricia) with us on the Inkpot. I've asked her to share about the publication journey of her young adult futuristic fantasy, SOLSTICE, from submissions to digitally publishing to a book deal with Tor Teen.

author photo P. J. Hoover
MG & YA Fantasy author, P. J. Hoover
P. J. Hoover first fell in love with Greek mythology in sixth grade thanks to the book Mythology by Edith Hamilton. After a fifteen year bout as an electrical engineer designing computer chips for a living, P. J. decided to take her own stab at mythology and started writing books for kids and teens. When not writing, P. J. spends time with her husband and two kids and enjoys practicing kung fu, solving Rubik's cubes, and watching Star Trek.

For more information about P. J. (Tricia) Hoover, please visit her website

Welcome, Tricia! 
Thanks so much for the interview opportunity, Lena! I’m excited to be here! J

First off, what is SOLSTICE about and when will it be published?

SOLSTICE is a YA novel set at least eighteen years in the future when global warming is killing the earth. This girl, Piper, gets a mysterious box as a present for her eighteenth birthday, and her entire world shifts. She discovers that, in addition to her global warming world, there’s this world of mythology, and somehow she’s deeply connected to it. Her mother is psychotic and won’t give her any freedom, so when Piper gets a rare opportunity for freedom, she seizes it. And the next thing she knows, her best friend almost dies, she visits the Underworld, and gods are walking the earth. And that’s only in the first eighty pages.

As for when it’s coming out, SOLSTICE will be published by Tor Teen in June 2013.

So you self-published SOLSTICE first. How did that come about?

When I originally wrote SOLSTICE (summer 2008), I always intended to publish it traditionally. I sent it to my agent. We revised it back and forth a couple times (and then a couple more), and then it was ready to go out. And we got great feedback from editors. People loved the story. In fact, it went to acquisitions but the deal fell through at the last moment. After this, I was completely disheartened, but I revised it again and we were going to submit it for another round.

About this time, the whole self-publishing market all-of-a-sudden got huge press. And my agent, Laura Rennert, presented the option of digitally publishing SOLSTICE with the help of the agency, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. It sounded exciting to me and because I was all about trying something new, I decided to give it a go. And so in May 2011, I independently published SOLSTICE.
I was thrilled with this decision. I loved how quickly the process worked, how fast it got into readers hand, how immediate the results of my efforts were. And so all was good…right?

Sounds great! So, how was your self-publishing experience?

It was wonderful! First, there was the time leading up to publishing SOLSTICE. I had input into the cover design, the pricing, the formatting. And yet, I didn’t have to do any of the work besides the revisions. And of course the marketing, too. But the process of making SOLSTICE into a book was handled completely by the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, and they did a fabulous job.

In the six months SOLSTICE was available, I met fantastic readers, bloggers, teens, librarians, etc, all excited about the story. The best thing about being an author is hearing from readers who loved the stories I’ve written, no matter whether a book has been self published or traditionally published. The readers make it all worth it!

How did SOLSTICE go from self-published to being published by Tor? What happened?

Right, so this kind of came out of nowhere. I was busy marketing SOLSTICE and also finishing up revisions for a MG Egyptian mythology story (TUT). And when TUT was ready, my agent sent it out traditionally. Susan Chang, one of the editors at Tor Children’s, loved TUT and asked my agent what else I had written. Laura Rennert mentioned SOLSTICE, and Susan was immediately interested, and so we sent her the manuscript. It wasn’t long before an offer came in for SOLSTICE which then turned into a two book offer for SOLSTICE and TUT. Needless to say, I was thrilled, especially because it came as such a surprise.

The cover for the digitally published version of SOLSTICE (it's a beauty, right?)

So what's next? Will SOLSTICE change? Your current cover is gorgeous, but do you think it will change for your upcoming release?

Well, I get to launch the same book twice! That said, SOLSTICE has gone through revisions with Susan Chang, and I love how the revisions have made the story so much stronger. I’ve had the benefit of taking a year of review feedback along with the eye of a very talented editor and making changes I feel great about.

As for the cover, I’m fairly sure it will change, but I haven’t heard any information about a new cover yet.

Finally, tell us about TUT: what is this story about and when will it be published?

TUT is my favorite book I’ve written yet and tells the story of a young immortal King Tut, who's been stuck in middle school for over 3,000 years and must defeat an ancient enemy with the help of a dorky kid from school, a mysterious Egyptian princess, and a one-eyed cat. It’s going to be published by Tor Children's in Winter 2014.

Thanks so much for interviewing me, Lena! It’s been fun!

Thank you, Tricia! I've loved hearing more about SOLSTICE’S publication journey. Thanks so much for sharing. TUT sounds amazing too. I can’t imagine being stuck in middle school for 3000 years—it’s tough enough to go through it once! LOL

Interview by Lena Goldfinch
Lena Goldfinch is the author of The Language of Souls. She lives in New England with her husband, two teens, and a very spoiled black lab. You can visit her online at


  1. I am so excited for you P.J!  SO EXCITED!!!!

    And we will be 2013 releases together! Yay!!!!

  2.  I can't wait to see the new cover, too, Leah! Tor does such a great job with covers. Thank you!

  3.  Thanks, Lisa! I love how it all came about!

  4. Solstice and  TUT sound wonderful. Congratulations on your success.

  5. What a great, great, encouraging story Lena and Tricia!

  6. Such a fascinating story. I'm so curious to see what the new cover looks like - and, of course, to read the book!

  7.  Thanks, Erin! I was so happy to sell both books to such an amazing editor at such a great house! Yay!

  8.  Oh, how cool you met Susan! Did she mention me :)
    SOLSTICE has actually be edited quite a bit! I plan on posting all about it once I get through the line edits...
    Thank you!

  9.  Thanks, Amy! It continues to be a great book, doesn't it. I'm due for a re-read.

  10.  Yay for Edith Hamilton, Ellen! She left a huge impact on all of us (and continues to). Thanks for the well wishes!

  11.  Thanks, Lena! I am very excited for TUT to hit the world. And yes! Changes are so interesting...

  12. What an interesting interview! Thank you Lena and Tricia. Both Solstice and Tut sound fabulous - I can't wait to read them!

  13. Great interview--it really highlights a lot of the changes we're seeing in publishing these days. And I love the sound of TUT--I'm a great fan of all things Egyptian.

  14. It's awesome that you had the chance to grab this interview. You brought out some excellent insights into the writing process. P.J. Hoover sounds like an interesting person and I'd like to read her books.
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