Monday, April 6, 2015

Secrets, Diary of a Gutsy Teen by Barbara Becker Holstein - Interview and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Barbara will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Thanks to Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein for stopping by to answer a few questions for us. Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

I am a positive psychologist who is passionate about helping people live their dreams and reach their potential. Writing books for girls, tweens, teens and hopefully their parents is a dream come true to help me get to the right populations. After all, just about all of us in childhood are able to have fun, laugh a lot, feel hopeful and excited and full of dreams. It is as we face growing up and as we are adults that a lot of the inner spark fades. By creating a character in The Truth and Secrets, who can share her most inner most thoughts and secrets and yet still come out on top, I have a way to excite both kids and grown-ups to stay true to the spark within! It is a win-win for everyone.

What research is required?

What is necessary to write the way I do in both The Truth and Secrets is a deep commitment to the preciousness and talents of childhood and a deep desire to reawaken in others that spirit that we all had at one time. The combination of a psychological background, and an educational background certainly helps but may not be mandatory. Loving childhood is.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

I have learned o much from the girl in The Truth and Secrets! The most important thing I've learned is to remember our promises to ourselves that we made when we were young. This promises, such as not to be be mean or to travel and have fun were not made lightly. They were made through the pain of what we saw and felt as adults in our lives made more choices that often made our lives worse than they needed to be. So the promises must be honored as best we can for the world to be a better place! I keep trying and I think the girl for my determination!

Do you have any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

Wow, that is an interesting question. I don't think so. If standing up a few times when I should be writing and getting tea and more nuts to eat is a quirk, then I guess that is mine! And my hips don't thank me!

Are you a plotter or pantser?

I do have a good idea of what I am writing. With both The Truth and Secrets I knew the plot beforehand in that the girl as she wrote each diary had to evolve into a new level of truth, hope and maturity to take her to the next stage in her life. However, some of the things she thought up and I ended up writing about were not consciously on my mind and of course I thank her for all those pages.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

To my right in my printer and my cell phone. How much have both become like alive objects in my life! The printer is amazing, considering I remember the days when I had to go to the drug store to make a copy of a short story I had just typed on my electric typewriter. And as far as that i-phone, it is hypnotic. There must be a secret being inside of there. Hey, that would make a good short story!

Anything new coming up from you? What?

The play version of The Truth and Secrets, titled The Locket is my major new project around these books. Please go to YouTube to see scenes from the play in its developmental stages.

Do you have a question for our readers?

What feelings do you remember from when you were 11? What dreams and hopes did you have then? Are you keeping any promises to yourself? And did you have a crush? Love to know more. Write to me at or leave your answer in the comments.

Following in the footsteps of The Truth, Secrets: Diary of a Gutsy Teen begins as the thirteen-year-old protagonist makes a move with her family to a new town. She has grown up a lot over the past year—and has made a list of everything that’s important to her now that she doesn’t want to forget when she gets older. But now, as she enters her early teen years, she begins to write down the secrets she wants to keep—and the ones she has no one to tell about. From new school experiences to a new baby in the family to a new crush, this new teen finally feels empowered on making her own decisions with confidence and keeping those secrets she holds dearest for herself.

In a positive and supportive diary-entry format, Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein encourages tween and early teen girls to carry the most precious parts of themselves into adulthood. A great book for mothers and daughters to read together, Secrets is aimed to improve communication, understanding, and self-esteem for young girls as they enter the rocky road of teenager-dom.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Date: December 2
Dear Diary,

I have a secret and it’s been eating me up inside, so I have to tell you. I lied to Angela. I told her I had a terrible sore throat and couldn’t come for the weekend. She said she was sorry and that she would invite me again.

I felt terrible, and then my throat really began to hurt. But I just couldn’t go to Springport for a whole weekend_even though I miss being around Angela.

Now that I have best friends here, I don’t feel the same way I used to about going back to visit. And I didn’t know how to tell Angela that. I could tell when we talked on the phone that she really wanted me to come. And she sent me a new selfie, holding a sign that reads I Miss You! She even told me that she doesn’t have a new best friend since I left. She really misses me. She also told me that Paul is in lots of her classes and he asks if she’s talked to me. How could I tell her I’m in love with Rob and don’t care about Paul anymore? How could I tell her that I have new best friends and want to stay here with them?

I did go to Sally’s instead, and we had the best time. Her mother ordered pizza for us and we drank Coke. We watched television and made popcorn and did each other’s hair with all of Sally’s older sister’s hair products we found in the bathroom. I look silly with curly hair. We kept laughing and falling on the floor and giggling, and we played this fun game that Jackie learned in camp last summer. We all lay down on the floor and we each put our head on someone else’s belly. Someone says, “Ha-ha,” and then the next person says, “Haha-ha,” until everyone is laughing. Then you can’t stop laughing because the belly you are on is bouncing all around under your head.

Sally’s mom got really angry at all the noise we were making, and we had to turn off the lights and pretend to go to sleep. I hardly slept a wink, though. I was so excited and having so much fun with my new friends. I was tired the next morning and really did have a sore throat when I went home, but I didn’t care. It was worth it to have so much fun.

 About the Author:
I have been a positive psychologist in private practice for the past thirty years. In the course of working with my clients, I originated the idea of THE ENCHANTED SELF(R), a positive psychology therapy where I teach people how to recognize and utilize their strengths, talents, skills and even lost potential. I have developed a number of methods, including using our memories to rediscover what is right about ourselves and our lives, rather than what went wrong, helping people to overcome adversity, experience positive emotions and live the good life!

Since developing this concept, I've been able to use many tools to bring the Enchanted Self to everyone, particularly women and girls. I've written many books, starting with THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy, and then Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU! My books for girls are very popular, as they are great fictional reads and also help deal with many of the questions that trouble kids as they move into the tween and teen years. The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween and Secrets, Diary of a Gutsy Teen are the first two books in this series.

I really love to teach and educate about happiness and how to benefit from positive psychology in ways that let us lead lives of meaning and happiness. You can find me all over the place on the web.

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So... inquiring minds want to know: what do you think?