Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Blog Tour- Interview with Holly Schindler

1) Art is such a huge component in A BLUE SO DARK. How did that come about? Are you into art, either practicing it or studying it?

Youbetcha. I took a ton of art courses in high school. I also worked some of the all-school art exhibits. I just loved being around it…Once I got into college, I was less into art and more into my lit courses—and music. I played in a few garage bands, and spent a lot of time hauling my guitar across campus, along with my books.

I’ve always been really interested in creativity—where does it come from? What’s the source? That curiosity was what led me to write about creativity—and its possible link to mental illness—in A BLUE SO DARK.

2) Your bio talks about giving guitar and piano lessons to help pay the bills. How did you get involved with these instruments, and did you enjoy being a teacher to your students? Do you have any particular anecdote that sticks out in your mind from those teaching days as memorable or humorous?

I took piano lessons as a little girl, and guitar lessons as a high schooler. My teachers were complete polar opposites: my piano instructor was the wife of a minister who had played the organ in her church, and my guitar teacher was a rock guitarist who often played with the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.

My students were as different as my teachers—I had kids who got dragged to lessons by their mothers; shy kids; kids who liked to talk, jabbering on about their days instead of playing their lesson…

I was drafting only adult work when I first started seeking a publishing deal. Interacting with my teen and tween-aged students inspired me to try my hand at YA!

3) What was The Call / The Email like? Where were you when it happened? Did you go out and celebrate? Tell us all about it!

I sold A BLUE SO DARK myself, to Flux, in January of ’09. In all honesty, it didn’t happen at once, in a “Congratulations!” type of call. I got a call from the acquisitions editor around Thanksgiving of ’08…After we spoke, I knew the book was going to an acquisitions meeting…After the meeting, my editor had to get numbers from the sales department so he’d know what he could offer me…but that got delayed by the holidays…Basically, over the Christmas holiday, I knew an offer was supposed to be coming…But I’d had so many deals fall through, instead of being excited, I was really terrified.

The email offer did come from Flux in January, just days before my birthday—so it was a fantastic present! When I celebrated my birthday, I also celebrated the deal…

4) Now that A BLUE SO DARK has been out for a while and PLAYING HURT has been released, how does it feel to have two books out on the market for people to read? Has the feedback from both novels surprised you in any way?

First of all, it feels INCREDIBLE to have two books out on bookstore shelves!

One thing that’s been really interesting about blog reviews, though, is how all over the place they are…You know, when I was seeking publication, the response from editors or agents would vary slightly, but would point in the same general direction. After I’d received a few rejections, I knew what I needed to do to revise.

Blog reviews, though? There’s no consensus. Period. None. What one person likes and connects with, another person doesn’t get at all. But the cool thing about it is that there’s a yin to every yang. You really get a chance to see how different we all are, when you read a few reviews of your book.

5) What are you working on now? Can you tell us anything about it?

I’m now drafting an adult novel…but have a middle grade novel in development at Dial. The MG—my first!—doesn’t yet have an official title or artwork. But this WILL be the first book I’ll ever write that will feature original artwork. I can’t WAIT to see it.

6) What’s your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor (or flavors, if you’re so inclined)?

I really like red hot candies…(Especially like the apples Mom cooks in the fall with red hots)…I do like the Jelly Belly that tastes a bit like red hots…I think it’s the cinnamon jelly bean?

(My all-time favorite writing snack, though? Donuts. Huge donut fan…)

Holly can be found at her website, blog, and twitter and she's also part of two group blogs- YA Outside the Lines and Smack Dab in the Middle. Be sure to check out Playing Hurt, which is out in stores now! Read about it here:

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?

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