It’s a little odd, isn’t it, since I don’t have any personal experience with schizophrenia?Actually, more than any sort of mental illness, what I really wanted to write about was creativity. One line of conversation that constantly creeps up in regard to creativity is the idea of the “mad genius.” In a lot of respects, the finished product an artist “sees” when inspiration strikes is a little bit like a hallucination. An artist knows that what they’re seeing is a figment of their imagination, of course, but in both cases—an artist’s idea and a hallucination—they’re visions that only one person has. Sometimes, it seems as though what we consider “mentally ill” is a mind that is hyper-sensitive, a mind on overdrive, a mind that sees creative connections that the rest of us don’t…
Both of my novels were initially drafted years ago…A BLUE SO DARK in ’06, and PLAYING HURT in about ’04 or ’05. the books had to be rewritten globally several times…BLUE had to come out of Aura’s head, become less internal, and PLAYING HURT needed backstory (the sports element didn’t exist at all in the original draft).Basically, with both books, I had to have stamina. The ability to stick with projects that didn’t sell right off the bat.
I think you hit it on the head: I don’t write from personal experience—my characters and the situations I write about are always fictional—so I don’t ever find myself in a different place mentally for my projects.When I was in about junior high, I was over at a friend’s house when ROMANCING THE STONE came on TV. In the opening scene, (an author) is slaving away at her typewriter, bawling her eyes out as she wraps up her current novel. I was already writing then, and my friend elbowed me and said, “That’s going to be you!”The writing part turned out to be true enough, and I do find myself getting choked up or my heart racing or my eyes misting as I write (if I don’t get moved, my readers won’t, either), but I don’t have to be in a dark place mentally to write a dark book…
When I got my master’s in ’01, I nixed the idea of writing full-time to devote myself to my writing (this was possible only because of financial support from my family). It was in no way a short journey—took seven and a half years to get that first acceptance!As I was seeking my first book deal, I tried my hand at all sorts of different genres…Adult, children’s, romance, literary…In all honesty, my writing interests are every bit as varied as my reading interests (and I read it ALL)…
I do wrack up the hours in my office…But I also have one of those Alphasmart Neos…Thing’s great—no Internet distractions, and it runs on AA-batteries for MONTHS…I can take that thing anywhere—the park, the backseat of the car—and get loads of writing done.
Sometimes, ANYTHING that doesn’t directly involve writing feels like a guilty pleasure. My biggest love outside of literary pursuits is music—writing, playing, listening…I was actually teaching private guitar and piano lessons as I drafted my earliest work—my students inspired me to try my hand at YA!
, Brian Katcher, .
Without a doubt: the ability to zap negativity.
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.
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?
The Giveaway: *ENDED*
I’m offering up a copy of A Blue So Dark OR Playing Hurt (your choice) to one lucky winner (sponsored by me). Holly will also send the winner a *signed* bookplate! This giveaway is open world wide to anywhere The Book Depository ships.
You must be 13 or older to enter.
This giveaway ends April 12th, 2011. Winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond.
Leave a thoughtful comment about the interview or the books with contact info. That’s it! You don’t have to follow me, you don’t have to jump through any hoops. But I welcome any of them your willing to do just from the kindness of your heart. And tweeting (there’s a nice little button at the bottom of this post!) would be nice, but does not give you extra entries.
Good luck to everyone!