The Truth – author interview – Dr. Barbara Holstein

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Paperback Writer is please to have such a remarkable author agree to an interview. Psychologist Dr. Barbara Holstein’s interview explores her fourth book, The Truth, I’m Ten, I’m Smart and I Know Everything! Written by a ten year old girl as a diary, Dr. Barbara has been able to imbed lots of positive truths that we all need to remember and live by, regardless of our age. This book is another first in positive psychology. Along the likes of the candor of a Judy Blume book, this fun diary-format paperback gives girls 8-14 years old the knowledge they are not alone, while reminding mothers what it was like to be this critical age. The book is a win-win for girls and their moms, as better communication skills, honesty and fun are encouraged.


 The Truth Synopsis:

Every tween today faces social issues, questions about their parents’ relationships, gossip and crushes. In response to the crises young girls face today, positive psychologist Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein has written girls, and their moms, The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything!) (Enchanted Self Press, Feb. 2008).

The Truth for young girls is that it’s OK to be unique individuals, have fun and delight in the wisdom of being young. Behind this fictional diary written by a young girl, are psychological messages about happiness for both daughters and mothers.

 After reading The Truth it will be a perfect moment to discuss so many timely subjects, such as:

o Challenging behaviors, and issues such as being a victim of teasing, gossiping, the family relocating or parents fighting

o At what point parents should get involved if their child is being teased or not understood?

o How technology can affect a tweens social life, and on the other hand how her talents can be nurtured and encouraged during these years?

o What are the best ways to stay close to your tween?

o The real emotions that girls struggle with, such as feeling not understood or having a serious crush on someone

Dr. Holstein merged her years of expertise as a classroom teacher, school psychologist, case study researcher and psychologist in private practice, and created this charming, wise and topically timely diary written by a girl. There are even discussion questions at the back of the book.


Barbara, welcome to Paperback Writer,


 Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book? 

 The idea emerged from another rough draft of a book yet to be published.  In that book my own inner girl discusses life with my mature self as we walk together through the Seven Gateways to Happiness that I have created for women.  Your readers can obtain a free copy of the Seven Gateways to Happiness by going to the front page of my website,   Anyway, it really just came to me to take my girl and merge her with all of us and let a ‘girl’ be born who could remind us about what matters.  I hope this ‘girl’ would appeal to girls, tweens and teens and help them see the value in themselves and have the courage to hold on to themselves as they grow up.  I also hope this ‘girl’ reminds us grown-ups of who we really are inside and we have the courage to find and enjoy this part of ourselves again.  So far, everyone is telling me that I’ve succeeded so I’m thrilled.




Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?

 The first draft did have an outline but the real book The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) just emerged.  I had a number of themes on my mind and I let them shadow and follow each other as the story developed.



 Do you know the end of the story at the beginning?

 I definitely did not know the end of this book at the beginning.  In fact I was shocked as it emerged.  It was much more of a cliff hanger with a dramatic ending than I even thought I was capable of. 



 Do you have a process for developing your characters?

 Not really.  I let the girl take over as I wrote.  She just got clearer and clearer and less like me as I progressed.  I’ve heard other writers of fiction say that the same thing happens to them.



 It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be?

 I am persistent and so is the ‘girl’.  Also, I was fortunate as a child to feel competent in many ways.  However, her personality is not at all like mine.



 What is your most favorite part about this book?

 My most favorite part is the ending where she finds a way to take herself-the best of herself-into adolescence.  And I can’t give the secret away-it is too unique.



 When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?

 During the women’s version of the rough draft I looked for a publisher and that edition was published by Ladybug Press.  That edition is titled: The Truth (I’m ten, I’m smart and I know everything).  For the girl’s I looked for a distributor as I had been told that is very important for getting the book into bookstores.  I found a distributor,  and that has been very helpful.



 What struggles have you had on the road to being published?

 I am still looking for the right agent.  I would love to find an agent that really ‘gets’ what I am doing-weaving positive psychology and drama together into fiction.  If you know of one, send her my way!



 What has been the best part about being published?

 My work is out there in the universe and that is so important to me.  Who knows whose life may be changed for the better by reading The Truth?  It is a wonderful feeling to be able to get my psychology message out in an easy and inspiring read.



 What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novel?

 I want all my readers, girls, tweens, teens, moms, women, grandmas, to remember that we are special and each unique and that as women we have tremendous resources both to share with others and to generate within ourselves wisdom, humor, determination, creativity, replenishment and many other positive traits that uplift the human spirit, including our own!



 Do you have plans to write another book? 

 Yes, I am already working on the second and third books in The Truth series.  The ‘girl’ gets older and all sorts of adventures happen to her! 



 Would you care to share with us how the virtual book tour experience with Pump Up Your Book Promotion has been for you?

 It is wonderful.  I love the women who run the tour-it is my second.  So much fun and so well done.



 Where can readers find a copy of your book?

 Easiest place to find the book is on Amazon.  Go to


Do you have a website for readers to go to?

 Yes, I do, . And of course you can buy the book on that website also and any book store will either have the book or order it for you.

 Thank you, Barbara for sharing your book and characters with us today. It has been a pleasure and I hope you have had a successful virtual book tour.

 Thanks so much.  It was fun.


THE TRUTH VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ’08 will officially begin on April 1, 2008 and continue all month. If you would like to follow Dr. Holstein’s tour, visit in April. Leave a comment on her blog stops and become eligible to win a free copy at the end of her tour! One lucky winner will be announced on this blog on April 30!


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