ith her weak eyes and useless lungs that often leave her gasping for air, Nere feels more at home swimming with the dolphins her mother studies than she does hanging out with her classmates. Nere has never understood why she is so much more comfortable and confident in the water than on land until the day she learns the shocking truth—she is one of a group of kids who have been genetically altered to survive in the ocean. These products of the "Neptune Project" are supposed to build a better future under the waves, safe from the terrible famines and wars and that rock the surface world.
But there are some big challenges ahead of her: no one asked Nere is she wanted to be part of a science experiment; the other Neptune kids aren't exactly the friendliest bunch, and in order to reach the safe haven of the new Neptune colony, Nere and her fellow mutates must swim across hundreds of miles of dangerous ocean, relying on their wits, their loyal dolphins and one another to evade terrifying undersea creatures and a government that will stop at nothing to capture the Neptune kids ... dead or alive.
Fierce battle and daring escapes abound as Nere and her friend race to safety in this action-packed marine adventure.
Your favorite store to shop?
Barnes and Noble or REI. My daughters are telling me this answer is very un-cool, but I’m going for total honesty here.
Your favorite toy/game as a child?
I did actually play a lot of mermaid and dolphin games in the pool with my friends when I was little.
Where, how, and when did you get the idea of The Neptune Project?
I can’t say the story idea came to me in a particular moment. Instead, it grew gradually as I became more and more concerned about the way we are treating our environment. At the rate we are poisoning our land and water, it just makes sense to me that some day we may have to colonize our oceans in order to survive. Most of our world is covered with water, after all.
Most embarrassing or horrifying story that happened over the course of writing/publishing The Neptune Project?
I’ve always been terrible at remembering people’s names. I’d definitely never make it as a politician! At my local book signings, sometimes I can’t remember the names of adults and children I know well, and I feel awful when I hurt kids’ feelings.
Sum up The Neptune Project in a 10 words or less sentence.
Genetically-altered teens have to learn to survive in the sea.
Moral or point you wish to get across in The Neptune Project?
The oceans matter to all of us. Phytoplankton, microscopic plants that float and live in the upper layers of the sea, absorb just as much carbon dioxide as all the forests of our world and produce just as much oxygen. They also are the foundation of the food chain. The oceans are warming steadily, though, and if and when that phytoplankton starts dying, the earth is going to heat even faster.
For so many of us who live away from the coasts, the sea is really a matter of out of sight, out of mind. Even people who are lucky enough to live near the ocean still take for granted the incredibly diverse and fragile species which live beneath the waves.
Feelings towards swimming?
I like it, but I do get a little bored swimming laps.
Feeling towards eating fish or seafood, or just towards the general idea of water organisms?
I actually don’t like seafood much. While doing research for The Neptune Project, my hubby and I went out to a sushi restaurant to sample some of the creatures my Neptune kids were going to have to eat for the rest of their lives. We tried everything from eel to sea urchins. By the end of our gastronomic adventure, my stomach was churning. We bought some frozen yogurt right afterwards to get the taste of the urchins and salt out of our mouths!
I do think that giving up the food they loved back on land would be one of the hardest sacrifices my Neptune kids have to make.
Top three favorite authors?
Mary Stewart, Barbara Kingsolver and Robin McKinley
One question you want to be asked but you’ve yet to be asked and its answer?
Now I work for Disney, I think it’s vitally important that everyone knows my favorite Disney character. For sure it’s Mulan. She doesn’t get to be a princess, so she’s seriously underrepresented on sleeping bags, school backpacks, toilet training seats and Halloween costumes at Target and Walmart, but she’s smart and brave and saves a whole country. My heroine, Nere Hanson, gets to go a step further. In the course of the trilogy I hope to write someday, she saves our entire world!
About the Author
Polly Holyoke has been imagining stories since she was in fifth grade. When she isn’t writing, Polly loves reading, camping, skiing, scuba diving and hiking in the desert (where she quite stupidly got herself bitten by a rattlesnake). She lives with three rescue dogs, two spoiled cats and a nice husband who is tolerant about the piles of books all over their house. Her debut middlegrade novel, THE NEPTUNE PROJECT, is the story of a young girl leading a group of genetically altered teens fighting to survive in the sea. She is thrilled that this novel will be published by Disney/Hyperion and Puffin Books UK summer, 2013. She thinks the best part about being an author is going to work in her sweatpants and getting paid for daydreaming!