Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blog tour: Author interview with Holly Schindler

The Crazy Bookworm is thrilled to have Holly Schindler stop by to talk about herself and her incredible books. Enjoy!

What was the hardest / best part of having your first book published?


The best part was getting to that first acceptance. Because of incredible financial support from my family, I was able to ditch the idea of a full-time job after obtaining my master’s. I was able to devote full-time effort to my writing—which was my lifelong dream! But it still didn’t come quick or easy—took seven and a half years to get to the first acceptance!


The hardest part came a few months after landing the deal for A BLUE SO DARK—it suddenly hits you, after a while—you think, “Okay, so when this book comes out, anyone who wants can pick this thing up off the shelf, sift through the contents of my brain, and then pass judgment on it?” Releasing the first book is exciting—but scary, too…


But bloggers couldn’t have been more supportive and fellow authors more welcoming. All-in-all, the debut process was utterly fantastic.

What is the perfect writing environment for you?


I do have a home office, but will write anywhere:



If you could have dinner with any book character in history, who would it be?


Mr. Darcy. (What love-story fanatic wouldn’t, right?)

What was your favorite book as a child?


I read all the time as a kid—even when I was really, really small. When I went to the grocery store with my mom, I couldn’t leave without a new Little Golden Book.


I adored Judy Blume growing up—and Beverly Cleary. I read a lot of character-driven books, really. I remember reading FALL INTO DARKNESS, a Christopher Pike book, when I was about twelve or so. The novel read exactly like a movie to me—I remember thinking, “You can do this in a BOOK?” The idea of writing so much action was new and exciting…

Were there ever times when you just wanted to give up while writing?


There were definitely moments of serious frustration—days when the rejection just seemed to be mounting up on fast-forward. It was hard to watch my friends from college make strides toward what they wanted—they were finishing up PhDs, becoming professionals, and I was still banging my head against the wall.


But it wasn’t as though I had a pile of straight “no”s before I signed my first deal. For a few years before inking the first contract, I was in contact with agents and editors. I wasn’t just getting rejected, I was having conversations about my work. I was getting closer and closer. I believed that if I just hung on a little longer, I’d finally get that first “yes.”


What’s one thing you can’t live without?


Music…or coffee.

Where did the inspiration for your books come from?


My books always start with a scenario, rather than a character. And everything—the plots and the characters—are always fictitious. I don’t write about people I’ve met OR about things that have personally happened to me.

With A BLUE SO DARK, I knew I wanted to write about the possible link between mental illness and creativity. With PLAYING HURT, I knew I wanted to write about the difference between loving someone and really being head-over heels in love with someone…Which is a lesson Chelsea learns on her vacation—her feelings for Clint totally eclipse her feelings for Gabe. But the first draft of PLAYING HURT actually didn’t even feature Clint’s voice—the entirety of the book was written from Chelsea’s POV. And the sports subplot didn’t exist until the last revision, either!

What is your favorite / dream vacation spot?


I’d love to take a few days at the lake—rent a cabin where I could bring my dog…I actually think it’d be fun in the autumn, when the Missouri summer heat’s broken, and the leaves have all turned…


Describe the feeling you got when you fist found out your book was going to be published.


After seven and a half years of trying to snag that first book deal, I felt—well—relief. And after I let out that sigh of relief? Pure elation…

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?


Honestly? Write. It’s truly a lifelong dream come true…

Bio:

I can’t remember the last time I left the house without a spiral notebook or some pages folded up in a back pocket. And I don’t think I've ever returned without fresh ideas, titles, or poetry fragments climbing every one of those pages, racing up the margins, crisscrossing in as many different directions as the highways and interstates on a road map of Missouri (my home state).


I’ve spent my life making these notes in the margins—even as a little girl, my favorite summer activity was to write books bound by strips of red ribbon…and to scrawl comments next to my paragraphs like the most critical of editors. (Lessons learned from this childhood pastime served me well, even in graduate school, as I attempted my first novel.)

After college? I kept scribbling as I taught piano and guitar lessons to pay the bills, this time jotting character sketches, mannerisms, phrases all inspired by my students. It soon became clear to me that I wanted to write for the children and teens who filled my home with music.

Even now, as I delight in spreading the news of my publications, I recognize that the steadiest constant in my life has been those illegible margin notes. That blissful inch of space where novels are born and revision plans are hatched, where titles are brainstormed and closing sentences are finalized.

Where to find Holly: Website | Blog | Twitter

About her books:



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?

Read my review here 





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. Read my review here 
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