Author Interview: Holly Schindler

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Holly Schindler

Books:
  • A Blue so Dark

Terrified that her mother, a schizophrenic and an artist, is a mirror that reflects her own future, sixteen-year-old Aura struggles with her overwhelming desires to both chase artistic pursuits and keep madness at bay.

As her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet keeps drawing Aura toward the depths of her own imagination—the shadows of make-believe that she finds frighteningly similar to her mother’s hallucinations.

Convinced that creative equals crazy, Aura shuns her art, and her life unravels in the process.

Describe your book in five words or less.

Does art free or cripple?

Okay—so that’s a bit vague. I’ll explain. In A BLUE SO DARK, Aura Ambrose is terrified that her mother, a schizophrenic and an artist, is a mirror that reflects her own future. As the novel opens, we find Aura struggling with her overwhelming desires to both chase artistic pursuits and keep madness at bay.

As her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet keeps drawing Aura toward the depths of her own imagination—the shadows of make-believe that she finds frighteningly similar to her mother’s hallucinations.

Convinced that creative equals crazy, Aura shuns her art, and her life unravels in the process…

Essentially, for Aura, art and madness are inextricably linked. And there’s no denying that many of our great artists have been both creative AND mad…so, for her, the central question is, DOES ART FREE OR CRIPPLE?


When and why did you begin writing?

When? Ah, shortly after birth. Seriously—I was writing short stories at my child-sized roll top desk by the time I was in the first grade.

I was a painfully shy kid. The kind of shy that had me crying when my mom tried to take me to the playground, because I couldn’t stand to interact with other kids. Sometimes, I think I started writing to give myself a “voice.”


Why did you choose to write for young adults?

I decided to devote myself to my writing full-time as soon as I got my master’s degree in the spring of ’01. In order to pay those pesky bills, I taught piano and guitar lessons and offered English tutorials out of my home. As I began to interact with my students, I realized just how similar they were to the kids I went to school with…sure, the fashion’s different. When I was a teen, we talked for hours on landlines instead of texting on cells…but our experiences, at the core, are so very much the same. So many experiences, I realized, really are universal.

To reconnect with my own teen voice, I mined the notebooks and journals I kept in high school. Once I saw how similar it felt to my nearly thirty-year-old voice AND to my students’ voices, I was off and running on that first draft!

…Before teaching and tutoring, I’d been writing strictly for adults…I really have my students to thank for inspiring me to write for their age group!


Do you have a favorite theme or genre that you like to write about? Is there a genre that you’ll probably stay away from and why?

I actually hope to tackle as many different themes and genres as I possibly can…Following the release of A BLUE SO DARK in ’10, I have a second YA and an adult novel due out in ‘11. And already, my three acquired books are pretty diverse. I’ve tackled literary fiction, romance, comedy…and the book I’m currently working on now is completely different than those three! My writing interests are as varied as my reading interests. I love it ALL…love stories, horror, mysteries, adventure, literary, fantasy…


The cover is gorgeous!! What was your reaction to seeing it for the first time?

That was pretty much it: It’s GORGEOUS! Deep gasp. Goose bumps all over the place. I adore it. Completely.


What is one question that you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

Hmmm…How ‘bout this: What is your greatest passion OUTSIDE of writing?

Music, music, music. My CDs and vinyl and concert ticket stubs (yeah, I’m old-school…no digital-music-playing-whats-its for me) all reveal that I’ve loved metal and bluegrass and just about everything in-between. In fact, I’m still very much like I was as a teen about my music. I find something I like and become completely obsessed. (I can play the same song over and over until my entire neighborhood knows the words.)

I can’t WRITE to it…I just get too involved in it. But if I get too bogged down in my writing…if I get muddle-brained, I can take a music break for a few minutes and feel completely refreshed and invigorated.


Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?

Only that I’m in this for the long haul…I hope we spend the next SEVERAL decades becoming great friends!

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Thanks Holly!!


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8 comments:

Adriana said...

I'm really looking forward to reading A Blue So Dark. I think it's great when authors don't just stick with one genre but have many different things to offer.

Becky said...

This premise for this book really intrigues. It is an interesting question that the author is exploring!

Kirthi said...

Great interview, I love the questions you asked! I can't wait to read A Blue So Dark!

Patty said...

I interviewed Holly and she's amazing. I can't wait to read her book. Great interview!

RKCharron said...

Hi :)
Thank you for the interview with Holly Schindler and thank you to Holly for sharing here. I liked your questions and Holly's answers were great!

Rebecca :) said...

Great interview, Casey. That book sounds interesting. But what does this gorgeous cover look like?

Lea said...

Awesome interview. Holly sounds so nice, and her novel sounds great (OMG, that cover truly is gorgeous)!

aliah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

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