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Friday, October 1, 2010

Interview with Holly Schindler!

This month's Monthly Spotlight is on Holly Schindler's blog. Holly is a YA author and her blog is really fun to read, especially with her Flash Fiction challenge. Here is the interview with her, which will be linked in the featurette on the Monthly Spotlight tab. Check out the tab for more info about Holly and her blog!

1. A Blue So Dark deals with a teen growing up with a schizophrenic mother and being afraid of having the same problems. What inspired you to tackle such a powerful topic?

I’ve always been interested in the creative process—and also intrigued by some of our “mad” geniuses…van Gogh, for example. It’s always boggled my mind, how some people just ooze creativity, and others couldn’t come up with a single creative spin on ANYTHING, even if inspiration whacked them right in the head.
So what causes creativity? Could it possibly BE madness? (After all, it’s awfully hard to think of a “great” artist who wasn’t mad—or at least eccentric enough that you wonder if they DIDN’T also have some sort of mental illness…)
In short, I knew I wanted to write about the possible link between creativity and mental illness…from there, I started playing with characters, until I came up with Aura and Grace…

2. Tell us about your new book, Playing Hurt.
Playing Hurt
Star basketball player Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes had a full ride to college—and everyone's admiration back home. Then she took a horrible fall during senior year. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.
That summer, Chelsea 's dad hires Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player and "boot camp" trainer, to work with her at a northern Minnesota lake resort. As they grow close, Chelsea finds that Clint's haunted by his own tragedy. Will their romance end up hurting them all over again—or finally heal their heartbreak?

3. Reader question from Colleen: I always like to know how an author relates to a book’s characters, especially when the characters are crazy unique or dark. How do you relate to the characters in your books?

GREAT question, Colleen…What Aura’s dealing with in A BLUE SO DARK—her mother’s slow descent into mental illness—is life consuming. There is no room for normal teen life (dating, cliques, etc.) in Aura’s world. So I figured the only way readers could really get a glimpse into who Aura is as a person is through her voice (rather than her interactions). Her humor, her likes and dislikes, have to come through her internal dialogue.
In a great respect, that voice is similar to my own…I think I tend to have a bit of a sarcastic or biting sense of humor…so does Aura. So really, I connected with Aura (whose situation is NOTHING like I’ve ever been through) by giving her an internal voice that was familiar to me. (That made writing this book go much smoother…)

A Blue So Dark4. If A Blue So Dark was to be made into a movie, who would you love to see play Aura?

I think Selena Gomez would be great…And I think Grace has GOT to be Marisa Tomei. LOVED her in THE WRESTLER. Love, love.

5. Who are some of your favorite authors? 
Always hard for me to answer this one…I really do think EVERY author has some ability to admire, whether it be great dialogue or cool plot twists…I try to learn something from EVERY new book I read…
That having been said, my respect for writers of action-driven mysteries or thrillers has recently EXPLODED…Patterson, Robert Crais, etc. Mark Twain once said something like, “Easy reading is damned hard writing.” Man, is that true…

6. What made you want to do the Flash Fiction challenges on your blog? 
I’m always on the lookout for new ways to connect with readers…I recently discovered figment.com, a site so new, it hasn’t even gone public yet! Basically, it’s a place for YA writers and readers to share their work.
The first piece I posted on the site (“Rocket In Real Life”) was born from a figment.com prompt…and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to start a conversation with readers through some actual FICTION instead of straight blog posts?” I’m doing new Flash Fiction using blogger-generated posts now through December. The writer of the best prompt will get a prize in time for the holidays!

7. Many authors find inspiration for their writing in music. Any songs or artists that set off the spark for you? 
Wish You Were Here
I’m SUCH a music junkie! I’ve gone through so many phases—everything from metal to folk to bluegrass…I used to have to write in silence, but am getting much better about being able to write to music.
If I were to pick a song, though, that described the goings-on of A BLUE SO DARK, I’d have to pick Pink Floyd’s “Wish you Were Here.” Google the lyrics and you’ll find out what I mean.

8. Favorite book of all time?
The very next book I read (I fall in love every time I crack a cover).

9. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Playing music, writing songs, being with my ultra-spoiled dog, interacting with bloggers, renovating my house (I think I’m the official expert on construction adhesive), reading, scouring antique stores for funky costume jewelry, movies (especially old movies…recently saw ALL ABOUT EVE and fell in love with Bette Davis).

10. Any advice for aspiring authors?
Get ready for a long, long, long, long journey…I spent seven and a half years of full-time effort just trying to get to that first acceptance (and I had a master’s degree in writing). Thing is, you don’t know how to write a book until you’ve written about five. So get ready for lots of rejection, lots of tears, lots of tearing up pages and starting over again. But if you love it like I do, you’ll push through it…(And I guarantee, there’s really no replacement for all those years in the trenches…)

Pick One:
Early bird or night owl? Early bird. Definitely. I’m always up early and ready to dive into my current project…
Vampires, werewolves, or faeries? I prefer old-school campfire ghost stories, actually.

Outside or inside?I spend equal amounts of time inside with my computer and outside at nearby lakes and rivers, drafting in notebooks…

Heels, sneakers, or sandals?Favorite shoes of all time were these black lizard loafers (I wore them until my toes poked out the top). STILL looking for replacements…

Color or black-and-white? Black and white (it’s the old movie thing).

Classic or modern?Love classic lit (I WAS a literature major, after all), love those old movies, love my antique piano. But I also love the sleek look of modern furniture (I’m in this phase where I’m sort of tossing all the clutter). I suppose that makes me a hybrid…

Summer, spring, winter, or fall? I live in Missouri —as long as we’re not in a power-snatching ice storm or in the midst of a tornado, I’m happy.

Dine-in or take out? My brother’s a cook, so our kitchen gets a daily workout…

Pre-fab or homemade? Definitely homemade. I like to see a person’s hand in anything they do…LOVE handwritten letters. That’s good stuff…
Thanks so much to Holly Schindler for being our October spotlight and for the amazing interview!


  1. Great interview! Playing Hurt sounds really amazing I'm going to put it on my to-read list :)

  2. Thanks for such a fun interview, Liz!

  3. Holly Schindler does rock!

    Thanks so much for being a part of it, Holly!


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