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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Teen Author Tuesday Presents Mara Purnhagen!

I'm excited to welcome one of my Class of 2k10 mates back again!. Mara Purnhagen, a 2010 debut author, already has her 2nd book coming out!

PAST MIDNIGHT came out September 1, 2010 from Harlequin Teen. It is Contemporary YA for ages 14 and up.

Welcome, Mara! Can you tell me about your book in seven words or less?
 paranormal, normal, discovery, secrets, mystery, friendship, energy

Sounds great! Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours and why?
I like Avery, who is my main character’s friend. She’s a cheerleader hiding a tragic secret. She bonds with my main character, Charlotte, because Charlotte is new in town and doesn’t see her as others do: with pity. Avery can’t stand people feeling sorry for her. She’s tough and can handle intense situations.
Can you tell my readers a little about yourself?
I’m a night owl. I like to read during the day and write at night. It took me a while to find a good creative groove, but this is what works for me. Night time is also the only quiet time in my house. I have three sons, and each one is louder than the next. If they’re not sleeping, they’re talking. Or jumping. Or running around screaming. That kind of happy chaos is not always conducive to writing.

Yes, that makes sense! What's been the most surprising thing about your path to publication so far?
I think I was surprised most by the amount of time I spend on self-promotion. I’ve had to learn to hand out bookmarks to people and discuss my writing, which is something that has taken me a while to adjust to. I’m a writer—I prefer to sit behind my computer rather than stand in front of a crowd.

What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors?
When inspiration strikes, go with it. Don’t worry if your first draft isn’t perfect. You will read and revise your story at least a dozen times before it goes to print, so write as much as you can and fix it later.

Are you swept up with promotion for your books right now or can you give us a sentence or two about something new you're working on?
I have a very busy year ahead of me! My first novella will be published online in January 2011. The second book in the series, One Hundred Candles, will be published in March 2011. A second novella comes out in the summer of 2011, and the third book in the series, Beyond the Grave, hits shelves in September 2011.

Wow! Yes, you must be busy, but congratulations on all of your success! What did you write when you were a teen? Did you journal? Write poetry? Write overly literary or emotional stories? Or avoid writing altogether?
I kept journals, but I read more than I wrote. As far as reading young adult books, there wasn’t as much available to me in high school as there is now. I read Paula Danziger, Judy Blume and Anne Rice. Today, the YA genre has exploded into something that would have thrilled my younger self. I love it.

What's the last book you read that you really loved?
I try to read two books a week, so that’s a tough question for me. Two books that stood out to me in August were Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards, which featured an incredible story steeped in history, and Everything is Fine by Ann Dee Ellis, which had a contemporary plot. Totally different books, but I would highly recommend both.

Three Rivers Rising was awesome! I'll have to add Everything is Fine to my TBR list. If readers want to find out more about you and your writing, where should they look?
My website:,
My Facebook:
My LiveJournal:

Thanks so much for visiting today, Mara! And all the very best with your upcoming craziness!


  1. I continue to be impressed with Mara's amazing output (especially with her 3 little boys) - and I can't wait to read this one (love the cover!)

    Great interview, Mara and Denise.

  2. Wow, Mara must be crazy-busy with her books coming out so close together! Wishing her all the best (and also wishing her time to write amidst all the promotion stuff!).

    Enjoyed the interview -- thanks, Denise!

  3. Thanks Mara and Densie! I love Mara's comment about self-promotion. It is amazing how much you do!