Friday, April 22, 2011

Holly Schindler Interview + Playing Hurt review

I absolutely loved Holly Schindler's first book A Blue So Dark (my review), so when I found out about her second book Playing Hurt (review below) I knew I just had to read it...

Then Holly was great enough to be putting together a blog tour I got to be part of :)

Here is an interview with Holly Schindler and then my review of Playing Hurt (along with a bit about both of her books). Enjoy!

Which of your characters would drive you nuts on a road trip and why?

This is such a great question…Thing is, when I brainstormed, I couldn’t really think of anyone that would completely rub me raw.

I think that when you invent characters for your novels, you might create individuals who are quite different from you, but no one who drives you crazy—writing a novel’s a pretty long process, and I don’t think you’d ever choose to spend so much time with a character you can’t stand to be around.

Who, of your characters, would you most have liked as a college roommate?

Probably Aura from A BLUE SO DARK. Her voice just sounds so much like my own…

To draft that book, and to complete all subsequent global rewrites, I took my glasses off. (I’m terribly nearsighted…with my glasses off, all print disappears from my computer screen. If I can’t see it, I can’t second-guess it.) By not censoring myself AT ALL, Aura turned out to think the most like me, in some sense.

So—especially when I was younger, in college—I think I probably would have seen eye-to-eye with Aura.

Are you similar to any of your characters now? How about in high school?

Really, I see pieces of myself leak through with all my main characters—even Clint! I think anytime you write using “I,” you just naturally let bits of your humor, your observations, come out.

Where do you do most of your writing?

I do have an office, but do most of my writing all over the place. Really. All. Over. The. Place…As this video reveals:

What is a fictional character you think you’d get along well with?

I adore passages in books where the author lets you into a character’s head, and you have these “Me, too!” moments. The character thinks something, wonders something you’ve thought or wondered yourself. That’s part of the reason so much of A BLUE SO DARK takes place in Aura’s head, and we get to hear her thoughts on everything from her lab partner to her crush, Jeremy, to her fears about her own mental health…Because that’s exactly the kind of thing I adore reading…

Favorite scene in PLAYING HURT to write?

I really, really loved writing Chelsea and Clint’s first kiss…Every time I had to proof the book, I was happy to come back to it…

What food would you pair with A BLUE SO DARK? PLAYING HURT?

For A BLUE SO DARK, I instantly think of a roast (the book includes a scene in which Aura puts a roast on for dinner). And for PLAYING HURT, I think of walleye (Clint and Chelsea catch walleye on their fishing trip).

Your favorite YA novel as a teen? Now?

When I was a teen, YA was a pretty slim genre. Primarily, it was a skinny little singular shelf in the library. As a reader, I basically graduated from kids’ chapter books to adult reading (pretty big jump, I know)…But there were exceptions: loved Judy Blume’s YAs, for example. Really loved TIGER EYES.

Now, though, YA is an enormous genre with so many subgenres—everything from paranormal to adventure to mystery, literary, romance. That’s really the beauty of YA, I think. It just encompasses so, so much…

And thank you to Holly for answering all of those questions--it seems like more now than when I came up with them ;-)

Playing Hurt Jacket Copy:

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?

A Blue So Dark Jacket Copy:

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.

My review of A Blue So Dark is HERE--I cannot say enough good things about that book, I recommending it strongly!

And I'm today I'm reviewing Playing Hurt--because I have the jacket copy right up there, I'm not going to provide my own synopsis and will instead jump right into the review . . .

Playing Hurt
March 8, 2011
312 pages
Goodreads/Amazon/Book Depository

Like with A Blue So Dark I liked Playing Hurt in the beginning but didn't find it completely and totally engrossing . . . that happened later on, though!

I really enjoyed the alternating chapters (one from Chelsea and then one from Clint). Not only did it introduce you to the characters before they met in Minnesota, but once they were both in the same place, you get different points of view on the same event.

They're two characters that you really grow to caring about--both together and individually.

The more their relationship grows and the more the story progresses, the more a reader absolutely cannot put down this book. Holly Schindler knows how to write books that get better and better with each page--and I truly cannot wait until her next YA book (and I have to say, I wouldn't be sad if she wrote some adult books, too).

Clint and Chelsea are two characters that I think I might find myself missing--something that hasn't really happened since I read Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles.


And, of course, Holly's website, blog, & on Twitter @holly_schindler

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