Bennett, Holly 1957-
Bennett, Holly 1957-
Born January 3, 1957, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; daughter of Norman Jack (a pharmacist) and Betty Jane (a homemaker) Bennett; married John Hoffman (a journalist and musician), March 13, 1982; children: Riley, Jesse, Aaron. Education: Trent University, B.A. (with honors), 1979; Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, M.A., 1984. Politics: "Lefty." Religion: Unitarian.
Home—Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. Agent—Lynn Bennett, Transatlantic Literary Agency, 72 Glengowan Rd., Toronto, Ontario M4N 1G4, Canada. E-mail—[email protected]
Editor and novelist. Today's Parent (magazine), Toronto, Ontario, Canada, editorial trainee, 1986, now editor-in-chief of special editions. Program developer for aboriginal organizations and youth counseling agencies.
PEN Canada, Humane Society.
New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age inclusion, and International Reading Association Notable Children's Book designation, both 2006, and White Pine Award honor designation, 2007, all for The Bonemender.
YOUNG-ADULT FANTASY NOVELS
The Bonemender, Orca Book Publishers (Custer, WA), 2005.
The Bonemender's Oath (sequel to The Bonemender), Orca Book Publishers (Custer, WA), 2006.
The Warrior's Daughter, Orca Book Publishers (Custer, WA), 2007.
The Bonemender's Choice (sequel to The Bonemender's Oath), Orca Book Publisher (Custer, WA), 2007.
Also author, with Teresa Pitman, of "Today's Parent Steps and Stages" nonfiction series.
Holly Bennett told CA: "I don't know what switch got thrown that made me, at nearly forty-five, sit down to write my first novel. I had been editing and writing nonfiction for most of my adult life, and hiding the dirty little secret that, although I loved working on magazines, I didn't love reading them. That what I read was—and is—fiction.
"I do know how lucky I am that my first novel, The Bonemender, was not only published but well received! But I'm pretty sure I would have kept on writing even if it had been firmly rejected—I already had a sequel drafted before the first book sold. Writing fiction was pretty much an instant addiction and I really don't feel ‘right’ now if I don't have a book on the go.
"One of the things I love (and sometimes feel) about fiction writing is the way it can take on a life of its own. When I began writing The Bonemender I had most of the plot already planned out. Then one day I looked at the computer screen and saw that I had just sent a main character over the mountains into enemy territory. Or maybe he just up and went there by himself—it certainly felt that way. My first thought was, ‘Oh, crap!’ Suddenly I had huge problems. I had to invent and describe a whole new country, and I had to somehow find a way to get him back safely. But I also knew that sending him there was the right thing to do—that it perked up a long, boring stretch in the story and gave this character a chance to reveal himself to the readers.
"When my first novel came out, I had to fill out a bio sheet for the publisher and one of the questions was, ‘What is your best qualification for writing this book?’ I didn't really think I had any qualifications for writing a book, but made a dutiful attempt to answer and said, ‘all the fantasy I have read aloud to my kids.’ That phrase shows up all over the place now and sounds more lame and embarrassing each time I read it! However, there is a real truth here for aspiring writers: reading widely is an important element of learning to write. And reading out loud is really valuable—it trains you to pay attention to the way words sound and fill together, not just their meaning. I remember reading The Secret Garden and marveling at how easily those long Victorian sentences came off the tongue. The book had obviously been written to be read aloud, with rhythm and fluidity, and it was a real pleasure to do so. I read my own writing out loud all the time (or at least mutter it under my breath), and find it is the very best way to discover awkwardness, poor phrasing, clunky dialogue, and a host of other problems.
"I'm really thrilled that kids enjoy reading these books—my favourite review was by a girl who confessed she stayed up until four a.m. on a school night reading The Bonemender's Oath cover to cover. That kind of reading is one of life's great pleasures. Creating it is another."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 1, 2005, Krista Hutley, review of The Bonemender, p. 36.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, November, 2005, April Spisak, review of The Bonemender, p. 130.
Canadian Children's Book News, fall, 2005, Ming Wong, review of The Bonemender, p. 32.
Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2005, review of The Bonemender, p. 1076.
Kliatt, November, 2005, Stephanie Squicciarini, review of The Bonemender, p. 19; November, 2006, Stephanie Squicciarini, review of The Bonemender's Oath, p. 26.
Resource Links, October, 2005, Myra Junyk, review of The Bonemender, p. 30; October, 2006, Angela Thompson, review of The Bonemender's Oath, p. 29; Margaret Mackey, review of The Warrior's Daughter, p. 40.
School Library Journal, December, 2005, Saleena L. Davidson, review of The Bonemender, p. 140; February, 2007, Carly B. Wiskoff, review of The Bonemender's Oath, p. 115; June, 2007, Nancy Kunz, review of The Warrior's Daughter, p. 138.
Voice of Youth Advocates, December, 2006, Michele Winship, review of The Bonemender's Oath, p. 438.
Transatlantic Literary Agency Web site,http://www.tla1.com/ (July 16, 2007), "Holly Bennett."