Holly Schindler is the author of a new upcoming book due out in May 2010. I'm super, super, super stoked about it and was so incredibly happy when she decided to do a little Q&A with me. So enjoy!!!
1. You have your debut YA book coming out in May; describe the book in two sentences.
As the classic overachiever, I’ll do even better than that—I’ll describe it in one:
In A BLUE SO DARK, Aura Ambrose struggles to scare for her schizophrenic mother (a talented artist and art teacher), while fearing that her own creative abilities are an indicator that she, too, will become mentally unstable.
2. Your main character’s name in A BLUE SO DARK is Aura. That name just sounds so strong and beautiful…so please tell us a little bit about her.
I love the fact that you’re identifying with Aura as a person…before you’ve even had a chance to read the book for yourself! You’re absolutely right…strong and beautiful are the perfect adjectives. Talented, too. She’s got a real sarcastic sense of humor. And smart—maybe TOO smart. The kind of smart that’s constantly making connections, the kind of smart that easily finds similarities between herself and her mother. And as her mother starts to sink into the darkness of her illness, those similarities TERRIFY Aura.
3. Schizophrenia is a part of your novel. Did you have to do tons of research on this topic?
I did have to do some research, since I don’t have any personal experience with the illness. But I didn’t want my book to sound clinical…so I read as much as I could, then put everything aside as I drafted my book. That way, I was focusing on plot and character instead of my research…
4. Many books are now being adapted into movies and television shows. So out of curiosity…if you could pick the actors for A BLUE SO DARK, who would they be?
What a fun question! Aura and her mother both have dark complexions, with long black hair. But when I try to brainstorm actresses who JUST have black hair, I come up with a fairly short list. (Of course, Angelina’s the first thing that springs to mind, right?) But if I forget coloring, and just try to pick out actresses who I think have the right vibe (I mean, come on, they could wear black WIGS, right?)…
For Grace, Aura’s mother, I actually think of Charlize Theron. She’s got this combination of strength and vulnerability—which is perfect for Grace. And for Aura? To play off Charlize, I think of Dakota Fanning—again, put a black wig on her. I think Dakota and Charlize would be pretty fantastic together. Now…for Nell, Aura’s grandmother? You’ll think I’ve flipped, but I think of Cher. She came of age in the same era that Nell did, and she’s got the same kind of attitude…only this time, you’d have to cover up her black hair with a WHITE wig!
5. Some authors listen to music while they write…do you? And if you do, what’s on the playlist?
Man…I wish I could. But I play music a little (and I do write songs)…I just love music so much, I wind up getting pretty distracted by it, paying too much attention to it.
6. If you had to leave our world, but could live in any book (yours or someone else’s), which one would it be? And why?
If I’ve got to leave my own world, I’d want to go someplace fantastic or magical…not sure I’d really want to live in Middle-earth, but I think I’d kind of like to spend some time in Zevin’s ELSEWHERE.
That, or I’d go to some historical world—maybe into a Victorian novel like JANE EYRE. Might test my strength by being a pioneer in LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE…
7. I find that many readers develop crushes while they read books. Do you have a crush on any book characters???
Two words: Mr. Darcy. What woman has ever read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and NOT gotten a crush on him?
8. Who are your favorite characters to read about from your own books and / or other authors?
I love characters who let us into their heads. Characters who give us a full backstage pass into their personalities. This isn’t a book, but I’ve always loved the movie HAROLD AND MAUDE. Those two characters are so…kooky. And they just put their kookiness right out there. You really start to get a sense of who those people are the minute they walk onto the screen…
9. If you could co-write with any other author…dead or alive…who would it be?
As a Missouri author, I gotta pick Mark Twain. I’d love to bring him into the modern world, let him soak it all in. His humor was so spot-on. So many of the things he said in jest were also so TRUE. I’d love to hear what he’d have to say about our cell-phone-riddled, techno-obsessed lives…
10. You mention on your website that you gave guitar and piano lessons…If you could only have a guitar or piano for the rest of your life, which one would you want?
Oooh…that’s tough. Especially since I also recently bought a fiddle and banjo, both of which I’m dying to really figure out (not a lot of practice time to go around right now…)
I dearly love antique instruments. My piano’s going on sixty years old, my guitar’s about thirty, and my fiddle’s more than a hundred! I just think the music sounds so much different coming out of an aged instrument…richer…
11. Are you working on any projects right now so we have something to look forward to?
Youbetcha! In addition to A BLUE SO DARK, I sold two other books last year!
PLAYING HURT (due out from Flux in March 2011) follows the flowering of an intense summer romance between two former athletes who have both endured their own game-related career-ending tragedies. Their unlikely love story has the potential to heal their heartache and force them to realize just how timidly they’ve been living. But by playing hurt—entering into a romance with already-broken hearts—are they just setting themselves up for the kind of injury from which they could never recover?
FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS (This will be my first adult novel, and is set to be the first novel released by the new Blooming Tree Press imprint Love In Bloom!)
Laugh-out-loud humor and quirky, lovable characters fill the pages of a modern-day fairy tale in which dogs, not dragons rule the land. This romantic comedy portrays the journey a “mutt” from Queens takes as she reinvents herself as a dog show handler and finds herself hobnobbing with the pedigreed bluebloods on the Upper East Side.
…I am also at work on another YA novel right now that is SOOO different than anything else I’ve written. But that’s ALL I’ll say about it…
12. Any last thoughts to share with us?
I just wanted to thank all the bloggers and book nuts for their enthusiasm…I’ve had an absolute blast talking to you all this past year while my book’s been in development!
13. Last question…You go to a Starbucks or Coffee Bean (or any coffee / tea service place)…what do you order?
I love her answers and the actors chosen...Amazing picks!!! All of Holly's books sound wonderful and I'm hoping you all pick them up when they do come out!!! In the meantime, go check out her website : )
I’m not a big Starbucks-er. Don’t get me wrong—I love coffee. LOOOOOVE. But I’m more of a hole-in-the-wall diner kind of girl. I’d order just a cup of plain ol’ coffee. Add a little cream (no sugar) when it gets to the table. And a piece of pie. Probably lemon.