I'm excited to welcome HOLLY SCHINDLER, author of two fabulous novels (Playing Hurt and A Blue So Dark) to discuss her characters, titles, and more. Playing Hurt comes out one week from today so be sure to pick it up!
1. How did your writing style change from A BLUE SO DARK to PLAYING HURT?
A BLUE SO DARK is different from PLAYING HURT in so many ways.A glance at the two covers reveals that much.BLUE is a literary novel about the possible link between mental illness and creativity, and PLAYING HURT is a romance between two former athletes.Dig a little deeper into the two books, and the differences continue to mount.A BLUE SO DARK is basically an internal story.While Aura’s mother’s descent into mental illness offers a significant source of terror and conflict, much of the book takes place in Aura’s head.The book is driven by Aura’s fear that she’ll descend into the same madness that has gripped her mother.PLAYING HURT, though, is more event-driven.Chelsea and Clint’s backstories are actually even event-driven.PLAYING HURT has more dramatic scenes, more interaction between characters.
One thing I was pretty adamant about, though, was that my writing style still be recognizable to those who read and loved BLUE.Of course, I’ve got different characters this time around—I’ve got two athletes instead of an artist and poet.Their voices will be slightly different than Aura’s, but my lyrical style of writing is still here.
2. Which of your two main characters do you relate to the most? (Aura or Chelsea)
Pieces of me come through in both of them.I think when you’re writing in first person, you can’t help coming through in your characters.(I even see pieces of me in Clint!)But I have to say my internal voice might have come thorough MORE when I wrote Aura than it came through with any other character…
3. I’m always interested in finding out—how did you come up with your character names?
With A BLUE SO DARK, I fell in love with Aura because the definition of “aura” is a distinctive but intangible quality.That, to me, is also a good definition for “creativity.”And I’m a sucker for alliteration in names.So I had to have a last name for her that began with “A.”With PLAYING HURT, I had a wholesome, pretty Midwestern girl and a rugged, outdoorsy guy—Chelsea and Clint, to me, were perfect fits for those types.
4. A BLUE SO DARK and PLAYING HURT both have great, and original, titles.How did you come up with them?Did they go through any changes before you settled on them?
A BLUE SO DARK was actually acquired under the titled THE OCEAN FLOOR.My editor was really lukewarm about it, and urged me to troll through the manuscript looking for a phrase that would make a good title.My mom (who’s also my first reader) and I compiled lists of phrases we liked.I shot several to my editor.He was wild about A BLUE SO DARK, which was one of my mom’s first suggestions.PLAYING HURT was also her suggestion.My debut middle grade is in the process of locking down a title at Dial, and I’d wager one of Mom’s suggestions winds up being the official title there, too.
5. If Aura and Chelsea ever spent a day together, what would they do?
If Aura and Chelsea were ever to meet, I think they might meet in college.In PLAYING HURT, Chelsea’s headed for college at MSU in Springfield.Aura lives in Springfield, and there’s a good chance she could go to school there as well (she’d be close to her mom)…I can imagine them having a class together, hanging out on campus in-between classes, maybe grabbing a bite to eat in the Student Union…
Thanks so much for stopping by Holly! A Blue So Dark has been in my TBR for waaay too long now and I can't wait to pick it up. I'm almost finished with Playing Hurt and, let me tell you, it's fantastic!
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