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Chandra's Blog


Entries in HarperCollins (6)


Favorites on Friday -- Harper

I love HarperCollins, who brought CHOSEN to life as a hardcover and last month, in paperback, and I am having a great time on the blog tours with TLC and ChickLitPlus, but this post is about another Harper debut, my sweet niece born on 11/11/11 at 11:11 who has me smitten. Harper Ford

What a fantastic sister I have to not only move from the Caribbean to the PA farmhouse in the apple orchard only a hundred yards from my front door with her instant playmate daughter for my daughter, Piper's 'sister-cousin', but then to give birth to another sweet baby who brings magic and her angel sphere to our life every day. 

My love for babies is no secret--I will travel to orphanages in Eastern Europe to hold babies and have cherished that early time with each of my three. There is a frequent revisiting of this issue in the Hoffman House (captured in my article "Are You Done?") a constant questioning about whether or not this sphere will only visit our house in the form of nieces and nephews from now on... 

Harper in our lives is all the fun of baby time--walking up to steal her away for a prolonged visit at our house while my sister sleeps, play with her, and then the ability to drop her back off if she squawks too much.

What a gift for my kids as well! I knew Piper would love her (and accelerate her campaign big time for Piper and Harpera baby sister of her own) and Max has always been obsessed with babies, but one of my biggest delights was when Hayden held her for the first time. 

Hayden is a great big tough ten-year-old now, bustling from hockey games to researching rare reptiles to hip-hop dance class and interested in all things Flyers and Lego. I put a week-old Harper in his arms during our extended family's Sunday Night Dinner, and her pure innocence and magic touched something in him--he started laughing, the delicious, uncontrolled, joyful chortling of his toddlerhood, a hearty belly- laugh I haven't heard from him in ages. It didn't stop--he just kept laughing, marveling over her toes, her tiny fingers clutching his, the way she dreams with dramatic rapid eye movement, lids open...  

Today, my favorite thing on Friday is Harper, and the rest of her lovely family, the gift of getting to raise my family in this extended village, and be the doting auntie to its newest member. 

Auntie C and Harper Ford


Writers on Wednesday -- Maya Ziv

Today I have the distinct pleasure of bringing someone from the writing world, an editor at HarperCollins who worked very closely with me to bring CHOSEN to life, the lovely and talented Maya Ziv. Maya graciously answered many questions, some submitted by readers, some I just dreamed up, to share with you the life of an editor and some inside scoop from the ever-changing world of publishing. Welcome! 



1) What was the first book you ever loved?

I feel like I never know how to answer this question! I can say that as a young girl, I was absolutely obsessed with the Cinderella story. I had versions from all around the world and watched the Disney adaptation—and any other adaptation I could get my hands on!—about a million times. I also had a tape deck (so dated now!) on which I played the Disney soundtrack so many times my father almost broke the tape on purpose. It was this fervent obsession that made my aunt, also a book editor, comment that I was a born English major.


2) What originally drew you to the publishing world?

 Not to be corny, I was just born a reader. I was one of those kids that ate books, and unfortunately, was not very strong in other areas (read: math and science). When I was nine, we had “Take Your Daughter to Work Day”, and I couldn’t go with my mother, who’s a therapist, so I went to work with my aunt, the book editor. I walked into Simon & Schuster, saw the rows of books, and fell in love. I think what also helped was that for lunch we went to the 21 Club and I ate french fries. I think it was the french fries that really sealed the deal. I still have a note that I wrote that day stating my intention to be an editor when I “grew up.”


3) What is the publishing accomplishment of which you are most proud?

That’s a good question, one that I’m not sure I can answer. I guess a touching moment that stands out to me, was the first time I gave a debut author an early copy of his finished book. It was the first book I had worked on and so, in many ways, I think I over-identified with it. We both teared up looking at it, and it hit me that we had created something tangible that was indeed out there in the world. 


4) Readers ask me all the time if it hurts the author when they buy my book for their Kindle or other e-reader. I've always figured a sale is a sale is a sale, and at least it's probably harder to loan someone a book that you bought electronically. What's the inside scoop?

My personal opinion is that sales are sales, and while e-books are undoubtably here and making an impact on the market, I don’t think it’s a negative thing at all. Change is scary (I’ve always hated it!), but in this case I think it’s exciting.


 5) As part of a major NYC publishing house, what do you make of conversations like this about prominent writers abandoning their publisher and going out on their own? What about for the everyman? 

I’m embarassed to admit that sometimes I’m so caught up with emails and manuscripts that I don’t actually follow some publishing stories enough to form an opinion, so I feel a bit uninformed to make an intelligent answer. Re: the argument that there may not be a need for publishing houses, I always direct people to Laura Miller’s excellent piece on Salon. As someone who has been up to my elbows in slush, I think it makes a great point! 


6) Another stock question, but one I know some of my readers will want to hear the answer to: what is your best advice for a new writer trying to get his/her manuscript published?

 My best advice is to revise your manuscript until you would want to send it out yourself. And then read comparative titles, see what’s working in the market. And lastly, build a platform: Network with other authors, try to get pieces or stories published, gain a following on a blog, Facebook, or Twitter. I think the best thing an author can do is be informed and engaged in the process.


7) I know you're a runner--what do you listen to while you run? 



I actually don’t listen to anything! It’s me time—thinking through things, composing emails in my head, going over a mental to-do list. It’s my only real destresser.  


8) What book do you most wish you had been part of? 

 I’ve never been asked that, what a great question! I know I should be adventurous and name a book that involves time travel or exotic places, but the truth is, I’ve always longed to live in a Jane Austen novel. I want to take walks with Elizabeth Bennett and be friends with Emma. I know those women comparatively had very dull lives, but I’m a sucker for the clothes and for the period language. 


9) What author would you most like to have lunch with? Why?


 Well, when I was in elementary school I won a tea with Judy Blume, which is pretty much the highlight of my childhood. As an adult…I think Laurie Colwin. I just love her books and aesthetic so much, that I envision her making us a delicious homecooked meal while she gives me sage advice. Does that make me sound completely selfish?


10) Which book would you most like to see adapted to film?

Tricky question! Too many that I just can’t think of. I’ll stick to the classics and say that as much as I LOVED the Anne of Green Gables movies, there could be room for a new adaptation. 

11) In the movie version of Chosen, who would you cast as the main characters? 

After seeing Water for Elephants I am completely confused about casting direction. For now, I can definitively say Rachel McAdams as Chloe. (Chandra, do you want to kill me?) CKH: No, I can see it. I was thinking Claire Danes, because she does such a good job of being an ugly crier and wearing her anguish on her face, but maybe she's getting too old to be Chloe? 



12) Top 5 books of all time?
Disclaimer: This question changes everytime someone asks me, so this is the answer as of today:


Cowboys Are My Weakness by Pam Houston

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

Happy All the Time by Laurie Colwin

The Known World by Edward P. Jones

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


Diverse enough for you?

13) What's on your nightstand now?

Ha—what isn’t?! Bossypants; As Always, Julia; The Saints Will Find Their Way; Persuasion


14) What great question didn't I ask that I should have?

Q: What book has motivated you to do something new? I have to say that Julie Powell’s Julie and Julia motivated me to start cooking more, while Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project helped me implement small changes that made day-to-day life seem more manageable. 

 * *** *

BIO: Maya Ziv grew up in New York City, and after a stint in the Midwest for college, returned to New York to work in book publishing. An avid reader and runner with sadly no other real hobbies, she lives in Brooklyn, NY. 

You can find/follow her on Twitter: @Maya784



WRITING on WEDNESDAY--Chandra Hoffman

Take heart; very soon we will have a Q&A with the fabulous Julianna Baggott talking about her most recent novel The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted. 

But before all that, I wanted to take a minute today and catch subscribers/readers up on what's going on around here, and why this site and blog have been so relatively quiet. I'm really missing writing my Monday Musings and Favorites on Fridays series but the proverbial plate has been piled high. Paraphrasing from one of my favorite Facebook posts this year, from a friend who is homeschooling her SEVEN kids and has a menagerie of high-need farm animals and just finalized the adoption of a newborn: I might have bitten off more than I can chew; would anyone mind if I spat a little out on the side of my plate here? 

Things have been a little nutty. I just finished a whirlwind month of edits on my second novel and a proposal for a third that feels like it is literally writing itself. I am so excited to share both of these stories with readers and feel like I jump maniacally between three worlds constantly: the real world where I am mom/writer/teacher, and Boulder, Colorado where my characters are getting themselves into terrible tangles in book two, and the new story where my Grand Cayman couple navigates their waves of love and grief, possibility and heartache. My reality is here in PA where spring promises to make an appearance very soon, and then there's the breathtaking Rocky mountains and the warm, aquamarine Caribbean sea... I can think of worse places to be. 


Other big things: Chosen has a paperback release date of Nov 1, 2011 and I am working on putting together book clubs and tour schedule for this--please use the above link to contact me if you are interested or know someone who might be. I'll be having a fun little give-away as incentive, so stay tuned for all of this as well.

To this end, I've consolidated all of my recent online press like reviews, articles and interviews in one place. You can read more about this here. I have also reluctantly joined Twitter, which is as daunting and baffling and alphabet-soupy as I thought it would be right now. If you are so inclined, FOLLOW ME for heavens sake, as I only have two followers right now, and I share a toothpaste tube with one of them, so he gets most of his updates straight from the source. 

I promise to come back with a vengeance soon. Therese Fowler will be talking about her timely, heart-stopping novel Exposure and I will dish up the inside scoop on publishing today in an exclusive interview with a HarperCollins editor later next month... Sometime in there, I'll get back to Musing about life on Mondays, and Favorites on Fridays, but right now, my favorite thing is that 3pm coffee my husband makes up sweet and strong that just barely gets me through to bedtime and another chapter from the complete collection of Roald Dahl.

The gist: I'm still here, just chewing furiously, trying not to be rude and spit anything back out on my plate.

(Just in case, does anyone have a napkin?)




Monday Musing--Building the Hype for Heroine Love 

What better month than February to share the love? I have been invited to be part of an amazing blogfest and giveaway at I am contributing a signed audio version of "CHOSEN" and will be a guest blogger on one of my favorite literary heroines, Annie McGairy Brown from  "Joy in the Morning" on Wednesday, Feb 9. 


Click here for the link to Erin's site announcing the awesomeness. Also for fun I will be blogswapping with the hostess herself next Wednesday, Feb 9. So while I am talking about heroines on her site, she will be blogging on mine.


There will be amazing prizes donated by my publisher HarperCollins and fabulous bloggers and writers. 

This is a crazy new world for me, this whole literary blogswap-hypebuilding-freebies party, but I am honored to be a part of it. I hope some of my readers get a chance to read, enter and even win! 







Thank you, HarperCollins, for the book contract

In my mind, this validates me as an artist, and allows me to play the 'eccentric artist' card when I want to set up an old bed on my front porch. See here