Friday, May 27, 2011

Blog Tour: Holly Schindler Interview

1. Your second novel, PLAYING HURT, is a novel that involves basketball.  Are you particularly sporty?

Uuugh—not at ALL!  I’ve always been really devoted to exercise and working out, but as far as being athletic?  No, no, no—I’m pretty klutzy.  The only person I know who can fall around corners!

2. How different was the experience of writing, publishing, and selling your second novel, compared to your first?

The fear factor was gone the second time around.  With the first book, you hit this moment, a few months before a book is released, when it becomes real, and you think, “Okay, so when this book comes out, anyone who wants can pick this thing off the shelf, sift through the contents of my brain, and then pass judgment on it?”

With A BLUE SO DARK, my debut,I found a core group of bloggers and readers who connected with my work—and when PLAYING HURT came out, they were clamoring to get their hands on the new book.  The second time around, I wasn’t afraid at all—I was absolutely elated!

3. What advice do you have for any aspiring writer out there?

Just KEEP AT IT.  Writing’s not something you master in a day.  It takes an incredible amount of time.  I had to spend seven and a half years of full-time effort before I snagged my first deal.

4. How did you come up with the title A BLUE SO DARK?

The title was acquired under the title THE OCEAN FLOOR.  My editor was really ho-hum about the title, and encouraged me to troll the manuscript in search of a phrase that would make a good title.  My mom (my first reader) and I both read the book in search of a title.  We made several lists—I shot my editor several titles from both lists.  He INSTANTLY went crazy for A BLUE SO DARK…which was a title my mom suggested first!

5. Why do you believe that contemporary novels are still so successful within the YA genre, even among all the recent paranormal hype?

As a reader, I love connecting with characters that I just GET.  Characters I could be friends with.  For me, that happens more with contemporary novels.  I have a suspicion other readers feel the same way.  Of course, I adore the adventure of a paranormal story, too…

6. Dog or cat person?

Both.  I have a dog right now, but grew up with a couple of cats that I adored…

7. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a plotter—but that doesn’t mean I’m an over-thinker.  I’ve found that the best way for me to attack a new project is to whip up a plot outline, some character sketches, and jump right in, moving too fast to second-guess anything.

8. What do you believe are the most important aspects to writing a successful novel with a story that works?

I think character is really key.  If you draw your character to be completely three-dimensional, a living, breathing, human being, you’ll know what actions would be likely for that individual.  Knowing your character will help drive your plot!

9. When and how did you know that writing was your calling, so to speak?

Shortly after birth.  It’s really not far from the truth.  I was writing stories at my child-sized rolltop desk when I was a little girl—about seven years old!

10. What are the biggest perks of being an author?

The best part is that I’m now beginning to see a lifelong dream come to fruition.  It isn’t easy, four, five, six years into the pursuit of publication, when you’re still knocking your head against the wall and the dream is really beating you up.  But to hang in there long enough to see it come true?  Makes the long wait more than worth it…

11. If you couldn’t write, what would you be doing for a living?

I’m sure I’d be a literature professor…I’d still be absolutely surrounded by books!

Thank you, Holly, for sharing your answers with us. I read her debut, A Blue So Dark a while back, and it's a real eye-opener--definitely recommend anyone read that, if just to gain perspective with schizophrenia. Her second novel Playing Hurt just released last month. I have yet to pick up a copy, but I've heard it's amazing and deep and just full of contemp-goodness!

Please follow the links to:

Holly's Website
Goodreads Page
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