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Saturday, 20 September 2008
A Talk With Holly Jahangiri
Topic: Author Interview
Today we get to talk with Holly Jahangiri, author of Trockle. Her friend, Vivian Zabel, who knows her quite well, put in her opibion on a few questions :-)   We hope you enjoy the interview!!
 1. What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Honest, empathetic, imaginative

From Vivian: Excellent insight on Holly's part.
2.  How do you think others would describe you?

Intimidating. I'm very direct and not shy about speaking out on issues I feel passionate about.

From Vivian: Many people are intimidated by Holly, but under that tough exterior is one tough woman. Seriously, her exterior is more intimidating that the person she is inside, but she is not shy about speaking her mind (and she's very often completely right).

3.   Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

My husband and my children. Freedom of speech. Civil rights. You know how kids will stomp a foot and yell, "That's not fair!"? I have always had an overactive sense of righteous indignation – I may not stomp my foot and yell, but dismissing injustice with a shrug and saying, "That's life" just doesn't do it for me.

From Vivian: Believe her when she says she does not take injustice lightly, and the anger at injustice or unfairness is not limited to her family only. I know of times when I'm glad she couldn't reach some people who were not "fair."

4.     Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

Right now, we have a green anole named Bob and a whole slew of tiny crickets that ultimately belong to the lizard. Bob's a little shy; I'd introduce you, but he goes all brown and skittish around strangers.
5.     What is your most precious memory?

You ask such impossible questions, Joyce! I have to choose just one? If forced to choose, it's going to be the obvious cliché answer – childbirth. But now, if my kids read this, they're going to ask, "Which one of us?" How about the day I walked down the stairs on my father's arm, and saw my husband smile from across the room as he waited for me to join him in taking our marriage vows? How about the moment I first held Trockle in my hands? Don't make me choose just one, Joyce – life's too full of precious memories to play favorites.
6.     What is your most embarrassing memory?

When I was ten, I got a tape recorder for my birthday. I used up a whole hour of tape singing, "Happy Birthday to MEeeee!" and running a sort of radio show in which I sang, announced that I would "never be nine again," and generally babbled nonsense. My parents found it, played it, declared it "adorable" and put it in a safe place - basically, any place where I couldn't find it and destroy the evidence in later years.

My mother said that she knew J.J. was destined to be her son-in-law the day I had her dig up the tape and play it for him. The only other people I let listen to the tape are my kids, to demonstrate to them that even the most mortifying moments can be cute, laughable, silly, and totally harmless in retrospect. So they'd know, next time they're feeling humiliated, that they'll survive – even look back, some day, and laugh.
7.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

I probably would have chosen one of my fall-back options: volcanologist or lawyer.
8.      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Holly Jahangiri died today at the age of 105. She is survived by her husband J.J., her daughter Katie, and her son William. She finally ran out of words and turned the page. She will be missed by a generation of young readers who remember learning to love reading with her books.
9.     Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

I should have realized it in middle school. My English teacher, Lee Thorsten, assigned an essay. I took my dog for a walk by the lake, and while we rested on a log, I wrote the essay. Mrs. Thorsten liked it – she wrote all up and down the margins, correcting this, praising that – I learned to love the red pen. I started writing unassigned essays and short stories, and Lee Thorsten read every word. She took the time to comment on all of them. I loved being able to convey my thoughts and ideas to someone else, to form pictures in their minds using nothing but words.

Along the way, I got distracted; for a time, I wanted to be a volcanologist, an actor, an archaeologist, a veterinarian, a lawyer. I even went to law school. And then it hit me – I was already a professional technical writer. I loved writing fiction and poetry. And I was pretty good at it. I didn't have to "practice" like lawyers and doctors. If I made a typo, no one was likely to go to jail or lose their home or family. And I didn't have to work eighty hour weeks unless I wanted to. I don't think I ever doubted I was a "real" writer, but it took a while to accept that that was what I was going to do for a career.
10.      What is going on with your writing these days?

I have a contract for the second book with 4RV Publishing – its working title is A Puppy, Not a Guppy – and I'm mulling ideas for a young adult novel.

11.     What are your future goals for your writing?

I'd like to be the Judy Blume for boys. Seriously? I don't think there are enough novels that appeal to middle-school aged boys. I'd like to see more of them become bookworms.
12.     Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

There's nothing "typical" about it. I come home from work, have dinner with my family, and then, if the characters are talking to me, I write.
13.     Why do you write?

To entertain readers, for the most part. To teach them how to do something, or to make them think, or to transport them to another world for a little while. I don't write just for myself. That has always struck me as a bleak and lonely thing. I love it when someone tells me that they enjoyed reading what I wrote.
14.      What writer most inspires you?  Why?

I've always thought my writing was what you'd get if you mixed a little Edgar Allan Poe, Erma Bombeck, and O. Henry. Poe, for the chills; Bombeck for the wry humor; O. Henry for the impatient urge to quickly wrap up loose ends in a surprising twist and bring it all to closure.

I have been told that some of my writing is like Spider Robinson's. At the time, my reaction was "Spider WHO?" I've since read his books and banged my head repeatedly against a desk – Spider does Spider better than I ever could. There are shades of Douglas Adams in there, too, but less so now that I've read his work and Robinson's.
15.     How do you define your writing?

I don't. I think that's for others to do. I just hope that they find it worth reading and defining.
16. In one sentence—what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

"Wow, this is a great book! Have you read it?"

When I was in college, majoring in Rhetoric & Writing, I was nearly scared off a career in writing by my graduate level Lit courses. There are few things I dread more than the thought of a bunch of college students picking my brain, my life, and my stories apart posthumously, playing "Let's Psychoanalyze the Dead Author." The speculation we indulged in regarding D. H. Lawrence and James Joyce would make your hair curl.

From Vivian: There is no way anyone could psychoanalyze Holly now or in the future. She is unique, and doesn't follow any drummer but her own.

I would love to be a fly on the wall listening to the nonsense students and professors might utter trying to "find" the real Holly Jahangiri.

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Web site?  Blog?

I have my own Web site at and a blog at
18.     Is there a place where readers can reach you?
19.     Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Hidden Lies and Other Stories
Walking the Earth: Life's Perspectives in Poetry
Lost Souls, Restless Spirits
Dealing with the Demon…and nine other short stories
Mood Swings
20.  For new readers—what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

I hope that NEW readers – kids who are fairly new to reading – will find an engaging story that they can enjoy having read to them or reading on their own.


Please don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a Trockle totebag--and come back tomorrow when we talk with Jordan, the one who did so wonderfully with the illustrations in this book!

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:50 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 20 September 2008 2:06 AM EDT
Post Comment | View Comments (21) | Permalink

Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 1:26 AM EDT

Name: vivianzabel
Home Page:

Holly is a very special person. I hope everyone reading the interview can catch a glimpse of that uniqueness.

Thank you for hosting again today, Joyce.


Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 2:08 AM EDT

Name: "Holly"
Home Page:

Joyce, this was fun. Now, remember, turnabout is fair play and I get to put my two cents' worth on Viv's interview - right? LOL! 

Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 2:17 AM EDT

Name: "Joyce A. Anthony"
Home Page:

Definitely, Holly!!  I look forward to that.  Vivian, it has been my pleasure hosting--everyone involved in Trockle has been absolutely delightful! We aren't finished yet, though---Jordan will have her voice heard tomorrow :-)

Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 7:16 AM EDT

Name: "Ron Berry"
Home Page:

Another delightful interview. I agree that books for middle school boys are needed. Most writers if their name is left off a piece would be torn apart by college students who 'write by the book'. Writing is a talent that not everyone has and to write well to the point that others want to read it is not necessarily what you're taught in school.

I like your combination of O' Henry, Bombeck, and Poe. That could make for an interesting novel. But Trockle as the monster under the bed really caught my eye when I first heard about it. I've checked as early as I could when I knew these interviews were coming. I had to see what it was about. I was not disappointed. Yes, Joyce does wonderful interviews and very in depth. I know a lot more about the authors and characters she interviews.

Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 9:34 AM EDT

Name: "Jordan"

This was such an interesting interview to read. It really did capture Holly's uniqueness.

Holly has been such a great person to work with. She is so funny, and very quick to speak her mind. I greatly respect that in an individual.

I laughed so hard at the "crickets that ultimately belong to the lizard." Poor little guys.

Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 10:46 AM EDT

Name: "Holly"
Home Page:

Oh, my gosh, Jordan - those crickets are a story in themselves, what with Ike roaring through! It's easy to stock up on Pop-Tarts, but harder to obtain and keep live

I won't go into it here, but I think that deserves a blog entry, now that you mention it! LOL - let's just say that if I'm "intimidating," you've never seen my daughter in full battle array, hours before a hurricane.

And trading MREs for crickets...there's something we won't soon see again! 

Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 1:23 PM EDT

Name: "Amygdalia"
Home Page:

What a fabulous interview!  The questions were quite thought provoking, and of course Holly's answers made for fascinating reading.  I loved Viv's comments, as well.  Insightful and fun interview.  Thanks!

Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 2:34 PM EDT

Name: "Vivian"
Home Page:

Following Holly and Trockle around is quite an experience. *laugh* However, a delightful one.

 I'm looking forward to reading Jordan's interview tomorrow. I know quite a bit about her, but not as much or as for long as Holly. Jordan is one of those lovely people one just wants to take home (looks can be deceiving, though). Holly is one a person wants fighting beside her.


Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 2:36 PM EDT

Name: "Vivan"

Ooops, should have previewed that las comment. Jordan's looks are not deceiving in that she's not as sweet as she looks, but rather that she can be a fighter, too.

Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 5:18 PM EDT

Name: "Holly"
Home Page:

LOL - Jordan's looks ARE deceiving - how many people at Denton asked if you were in High School, Jordan? One of my coworkers said you looked like you were about thirteen. Annoying as that may be right now (and shocking as it may be to little old ladies viewing your art shows in Houston), it'll be an asset when you're sixty. ;)

Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 6:08 PM EDT

Name: "Jordan"

Vivian- I am glad you clarified that last comment-lol.

Lol, it was funny in Denton, so many people thought I was a kid. One lady that talked to us was so shocked that I had illustrated the book- I hope that pans out for me in the long run, because things like that happen to me on a pretty regular basis.

Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 8:35 PM EDT

Name: "Jacque"

Wow!  The interviews just keep getting better and better at showing what a phenomenal pair Jordan and Holly make.  It's no wonder that Trockle is taking such a good following with those two talents cooperating in the writing and illustrating of this wonderful book.  The more I know of the two, the more amazed I am.  Anyone who reads the book will have to agree that this is one of the best children's books out there this year.

Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 10:45 PM EDT

Name: "Vivian"

Ron Berry wins the tote bag this stop.


Every one please return tomorrow and comment. Another tote bag to be given away.


Thanks, Joyce, for an interesting stop. Thank you Holly and Jordan for being here. And special appreciation for the people who visited and left comments.



Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 10:49 PM EDT

Name: "Vivian"

<b>Ron, please,</b> I need an email address. I cannot send a gift without a email sent with your address.


That's why I asked for an email to be given with comments. So, please send me one.



Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 11:39 PM EDT

Name: "Ron Berry"
Home Page:

Wow!!! I just happen to check this tonight since Joyce is getting a ton of hits. She's good. But thank you for the tote bag. That caught me totally off guard! Joyce knows me so you could have gotten it from her though. This is a delightful set of interviews. I write children's stories also so I had to follow this one.

 This is one great book it looks like. If I had a copy I'd write a review for it for my site.


Again, Thank you so very much!!

Sunday, 21 September 2008 - 12:39 AM EDT

Name: "Kimberly @ AllAboutKimberly"
Home Page:

I've loved reading your interview.  I just found Holly's blog and followed a link over here.  She sounds like a great person.  I will be following both yours and her blog in the future.

Sunday, 21 September 2008 - 12:57 AM EDT

Name: "Rena"

Great intereview! It's been a blast following these tour stops around, even though I'm so late to this one today.

Sunday, 21 September 2008 - 1:07 AM EDT

Name: "Vivian"

Thanks, Kimberly, for finding the blog tour. It's good to have you join us.

 4RV Publishing and its authors will be having several blog tours in the future, too.  A schedule of all the stops can be found on in the events section on the homepage.

Better late than not at all, Rena. 


Ron, I still need an email, please. The email you put above the message box for a comment is not accessable.



Sunday, 21 September 2008 - 1:18 AM EDT

Name: "Holly Jahangiri"
Home Page:

Congratulations, Ron! 

Hi, Kimberly! I'm so glad you followed the bread crumbs I left, and found your way over here! Be sure to stop by both tour stops tomorrow and comment early for a chance to win one of the two remaining Trockle totes. (And thank you for all the kind words.) It has been fun "meeting" you, "neighbor."

Partners in Ike...or is that EEEEEEEK!! LOL!

Sunday, 21 September 2008 - 1:36 AM EDT

Name: joyceanthony
Home Page:

Wow--you guys are great--thanks fopr all the comments today, guys!!  Mywinner-picker here drew from today's commenters and the winner of my special prize today is Kimberly!!!  

Don't forget to return tomorrow for the interview with Jordan!!!

Sunday, 21 September 2008 - 11:32 AM EDT

Name: "Elysabeth"
Home Page:

This was a great chat with Holly.  I had a true laugh out loud moment reading the comment about Holly recording her 10th birthday - Thanks for the insight into Holly.

Joyce, thank you for being part of the Trockle tour - E :)

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