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Event! Celebrating The Art of Holding On and Letting Go featuring author Kristin Bartley Lenz!!

Guys I promised you something really awesome...and today's the day!

I was able to read and review this amazing novel and now I can't wait to share a little more of it with you and also a little more about the author, Kristin Bartley Lenz!

I was able to interview Kristin and find out a little bit about her thought process when creating something new and fresh within YA literature.  So please, read on and discover not only a wonderful author but a fantastic debut novel!

“Cara is an appealing, engaging narrator. Surrounded by a well-rounded cast, Cara's journey toward a peaceful, fulfilling life is almost perfectly depicted. A compelling, unusual coming-of-age story.” —Kirkus

Lenz offers a thoughtful meditation on life after loss. Lenz effortlessly explains complicated climbing terminology and intermixes moments of levity with contemplative quotations from naturalists and mountain climbers.”—Publishers Weekly

“When every piece falls into place, it’s like a dance, a delicate but powerful balancing act. The art of holding on and letting go at the same time.”

Competitive climber Cara Jenkins feels most at home high off the ground, clinging to a rock wall by her fingertips. She’s enjoyed a roaming life with her mountaineering parents, making the natural world her jungle gym, the writings of Annie Dillard and Henry David Thoreau her textbooks. But when tragedy strikes on an Ecuadoran mountaintop, Cara’s nomadic lifestyle comes to an abrupt halt.

Starting over at her grandparents’ home in suburban Detroit, Cara embarks on a year of discovery, uncovering unknown strengths, friendships, and first love. Cara’s journey illustrates the transformative power of nature, love and loss, and discovering that home can be far from where you started.

Q&A Session with author Kristin Bartley Lenz
The Art of Holding On and Letting Go

1.  The Art of Holding On and Letting Go is your YA debut novel.  How did you get your creative juices flowing?  What really inspired you to sit down and put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard per se?

  • This was one of those magical first draft experiences where the story just flowed in a way that I’ve never experienced with any other manuscript. I was working as a social worker at the time and had every other Wednesday off of work. Somehow knowing that I only had this limited time made me focus on my writing. This was also a few years after my own move from California to Michigan. The reasons for my move and my experience were completely different than my character, Cara, but I’m sure I poured some of my own feelings into her story.

2.  How familiar do you get with your characters?  How necessary is this for the writing process?

  • I thought I had done a decent job of developing my characters through many revisions, but my editor asked me to do some journaling to further deepen characterization. I had always avoided those character question lists and exercises in writing workbooks, but now I had an editor to push me. He asked me to imagine a seminal scene in each character’s life. Much of that writing never made it directly into the book, but the discoveries helped me to understand my characters’ histories and motivations much better.

3.  Do you have any similarities to your characters?  Cara? Kaityn?

  • Like Cara, I love and need to spend time immersed in nature. I’m very different from Kaitlyn, but I think she shows a vulnerability that everyone can relate to. Both Cara and Kaitlyn are much braver than me.

4.  What is your favorite line within the whole book?

  • Do I have to choose just one?! My favorite lines come from a scene where Cara is doing some urban climbing along a train viaduct. The passage ends with these two sentences, and it’s where I found my book’s title:

“When every piece falls into place, it’s like a dance, a delicate but powerful balancing act. The art of holding on and letting go at the same time.”
But truly, my favorite lines are probably the ones I quoted from Annie Dillard and Mary Oliver!

5.  I love the fact that you have used book passages and quotes within your book to make the character more relate-able to the situation.  What inspired your passage and quote selections?

  • I didn’t discover Annie Dillard until a few years after I had written the first draft of TAOHOALG, but the way she wrote about the mountains reminded me so much of my main character, Cara. At first, I only planned to include one quote at the beginning or the end of the novel, but then I started reading and rereading some of the other nature writers I admired from classics like Thoreau to Mary Oliver’s poetry. It was through brainstorming with my editor that we decided to further use the quotes as a way for Cara’s dad to communicate and share his values with her.

6.  What do you want your readers to take away from the book?  Emotions/Goals/Thoughts?

  • I hope readers relate to Cara’s journey and are inspired by her resilience in coping with loss and ultimately thriving and remaining hopeful through major life transitions. I hope the story also leads more readers to make time for immersion in nature.

7.  What are some of your favorite books or series?  Who inspires you?

  • My reading tastes are all over the place, from the magic of Harry Potter to gritty realistic novels by Laurie Halse Anderson. Laini Taylor’s fantasy series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, is a favorite, and I was recently caught by surprise by how much I enjoyed the dystopian novel, Station Eleven. I also love when authors mesh various genres like David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks.

8.  Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

  • It’s a bit nerve-wracking to send your writing out into the world, and I’m so grateful for the generosity and support I’ve received from friends and family and the many reading, writing, blogging, teaching, and book-selling communities. Thank you!

9.  What advice would you give to someone who would like to follow in your footsteps and become a published writer?

  • Start building a supportive network of other writers who truly understand the challenges of writing and publishing; it’s often a very long and bumpy road. If you’re writing for children and teens, The Society of Children’s Book Writers and illustrators is a great place to start.

Thanks so much for having me, Amy!

Kristin Bartley Lenz is a writer and social worker whose career has taken her through rural Appalachia, the California Bay Area, and inner-city Detroit. She is the co-editor of the Michigan Chapter blog for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. The Art of Holding On and Letting Go is her first book.

I would like to thank Kristin for appearing on my blog and the many people who I have spoken with to be able to have this wonderful opportunity!  Kristin's novel was a joy to read and I cannot wait to see what else she brings to the literary world!  Congrats Kristin, I know you will have much success with all you do!!

The Art of Holding On and Letting Go, goes on sale September 12th, 2016.  You can purchase Kristin's novel using the links below:


You can also click the link below to contact Kristin's publisher:

Kristin has a very tight schedule the next few months!  Here is where you can catch her next!

Full blog tour schedule:

·         Mon., Aug. 22 – Kristin makes a guest post on Making Connections
·         Fri., Aug. 26 – Kristin interviewed on Fiction Over Reality
·         Tues., Aug. 30 – Kristin interviewed on A Leisure Moment
·         Thurs., Sept. 1 – Kristin interviewed on Crazy Book Obsessions!
·         Sunday, Sept. 4 – Kristin makes an appearance on blackplume
·         Tues., Sept. 6 – Kristin makes a guest post on Books Are Love
·         Thurs., Sept. 8 – Kristin interviewed on Alice Reeds
·         Mon., Sept. 12 – Release day post on Making Connections
·         Mon., Sept. 12 – Kristin makes a guest post on Books & Tea
·         Mon., Sept. 12 – Kristin is interviewed by her agent, Carrie Pestritto, on Literary Carrie
·         Thurs., Sept. 15 – Kristin interviewed on Books Are Love
·         Tues., Sept. 20 – Kristin makes a guest post on The Reading Date
·         Friday, Sept. 23 – Kristin makes a guest post on Twenty Three Pages
·         Mon., Sept. 26 – Kristin interviewed on Literary Rambles
·         Wed., Sept. 28 – Kristin interviewed on Wandering Educators

·         Wed., Oct. 5 – Kristin interviewed on Operation Awesome  

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