Monday, May 2, 2011

Author Interview: Holly Schindler - Playing Hurt Blog Tour

Today the wonderful Holly Schindler has stopped by for a quick interview during her Playing Hurt Blog Tour. I absolutely loved both of Holly's books and was overjoyed when I found out that I could participate in the tour by doing an interview with her. 

Star basketball player Chelsea “Nitro” Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone’s admiration in her hometown.  But everything changed senior year, when she took a horrible fall during a game. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.
As a graduation present, Chelsea ’s dad springs for a three-week summer “boot camp” program at a northern Minnesota lake resort.  There, she’s immediately drawn to her trainer, Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player who’s haunted by his own traumatic past.  As they grow close, Chelsea is torn between her feelings for Clint and her loyalty to her devoted boyfriend back home.  Will an unexpected romance just end up causing Chelsea and Clint more pain—or finally heal their heartbreak?

Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura’s dad left them. Convinced that “creative” equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked—and together may offer an escape from her fears.

What was your favorite part about writing A BLUE SO DARK?

Really, the best part was how fast it wrote—every day, when I sat at my computer, I just felt like I was on fire.  I could often draft twenty pages a day—sometimes, even more than that!  When you’re on fire like that, it’s just thrilling.

What made you switch to a novel with a sports background instead of another with an arts background?
Actually, the first draft of PLAYING HURT didn’t feature the sports subplot at all.  When I drafted PLAYING HURT, I wanted to write a story about learning the difference between loving someone (how Chelsea feels about Gabe) and being truly IN love with someone (how she feels about Clint).  In the original book, Chelsea went on vacation, and found herself falling for her guide, Clint, in a way she had never fallen for her boyfriend at home…
I knew something was missing, but just wasn’t sure what…After selling A BLUE SO DARK, I re-read PLAYING HURT (which was then called SUMMER FLING).  I realized what was missing was backstory…as I read, I was really struck by how athletic Chelsea seemed—hiking, fishing, all existed in the original draft.  So I started thinking, “Well, what if she IS and athlete—then I thought, “What if she WAS an athlete?” 
As I gave Chelsea that history, I began to realize Clint needed an equal dose of back story. 
So really, the sports subplot came about because I was listening to my characters, letting them tell me who they needed to be.

Which did you like writing more?  Why?
I liked writing them both for different reasons—with BLUE, I loved the way it poured out of me.  With PLAYING HURT, I loved the way I got a chance to get to know my characters slowly, bit by bit—almost the same way you get to know a new friend!
Do you prefer to write your books by hand on paper or type them on a computer?

I write on an AlphaSmart Neo.  It has no Internet capability—and no distractions!  It’s also really heavy-duty, and runs on AA batteries, so I can take it anywhere:

If you could pick any other job in the world, what would you want to do?

In the real world, if I wasn’t a writer, I’d probably be a literature professor. 
In dreamland, I’d be an A&R rep, going out and listening to bands, trying to find new acts to sign to recording contracts.  I think it’d be a blast, finding those diamonds in the rough…

Will you be doing a book signing tour at all in the coming year?  Will there be a stop in Ontario , Canada ?

My traveling’s a bit limited at this point.  However, if you’re a fan, you can email me at writehollyschindler (at) yahoo (dot) com, and I’ll send you a signed bookplate to turn your copy of PLAYING HURT or A BLUE SO DARK into an instant signed edition!


Holly has to be one of my favourite authors to do interviews with and I love that she is such a great supporter of book bloggers. You should definitely go check out her blog over at Novel Anecdotes. You can also find Holly at YA Outside the Lines, Smack Dab In The Middle, on twitter @holly_schindler or on her official website.

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