2019 Graduate Hope Bolinger Releases Debut Novel: Blaze (Illuminate YA, 2019)

Back Cover Blurb: 

Danny was told sophomore year was supposed to be stressful . . . but he didn’t expect his school to burn down on the first day. 

Blaze debuted June 2019

To add to his sophomore woes, he—and his three best friends—receive an email in their inboxes from the principal of their rival, King’s Academy, offering full-rides to attend the prestigious boarding school. Danny says no. His overbearing mother says yes. So off he goes. 

From day one at King’s, Danny encounters horrible hazing initiations, girls who like to pick other people’s scabs, and cafeteria food that could turn the strongest stomachs sour. As he attempts to survive, he will have to face his fears or fall prey to the King’s Academy lions. 

How I got the book deal: 

I wrote Blaze after I was inspired by the events of the book of Daniel presented in my Biblical Literature class. I wrote it the summer of 2017, trying to channel emotional energy away from my parents’ impending divorce into something. Forty-five days later, I had Blaze. A very, very rough copy.

I went with the Taylor group to the Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference and pitched it to about six editors. Several turned it down because it was right around the time publishers realized the Christian fiction market was struggling. A few asked me to send it, including Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ IlluminateYA imprint.

It made it past Pub board onto the full stage after some fellow Professional Writing majors helped me edit through the first three chapters. I am indebted to them. As the publisher went through the full manuscript, she sent it back with some edits they’d suggested. I made those.

But the voice was still lacking. A few more rounds of edits came, and I was starting to grow discouraged. I kept doubting my skills in voice, in detailing, in pacing. 

After a solemn viewing of Avengers: Infinity War (I hate the movie to this day), my friends and I rolled into the parking lot, and I checked my email one last time.

They had accepted Blaze for publication. 

Blaze, and the second book in the series, Den, are now available.

Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at Cyle Young Literary Elite and a graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing program. More than 800 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer’s Digest to Keys for Kids to HOOKED to Crosswalk.com. She writes about 250-300 articles a year. Visit her website at hopebolinger.com.

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