Interview with Holly Schindler and giveaway *ended* of your choice of her books! Open Internationally!

Today I have the amazing Holly Schindler on the blog.  Holly is the author of A Blue So Dark (find my review here) and Playing Hurt (find my review here).  Both were amazing, though they were completely different from each other.  The descriptions can be found at the bottom of this post if you haven’t yet heard of them.  I highly recommend both. Holly has a way with words and descriptions that completely transports you into the story!  There’s also a giveaway at the end for your choice of her books, so make sure you read to the end!
Let’s welcome Holly to the blog!
What made you decide to write about schizophrenia?
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…
What was you biggest obstacle to overcome when writing?  (For each of your books.) 
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.
When writing such an emotional book as A BLUE SO DARK, did you find yourself getting depressed?  Was it hard to write something so emotional?  (When I write about things like that it tends to be my own real life experiences, but I am a wreck!  I tend to bawl through the whole thing.)
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, Kathleen Turner (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…
PLAYING HURT is completely different from A BLUE SO DARK.  What was you inspiration for it and what made you decide to write something so completely different?
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)…
Do you have a favorite spot to write?
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.  
What is you biggest guilty pleasure?
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!
What is one book you find yourself recommending over and over?  Or a favorite author works, too.
Catherine Ryan Hyde, Brian Katcher, Gabrielle Zevin.
If you could have one super power, what would you pick?
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?

Go stalk Holly!
On her website.
On her blog.

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.

To Enter:

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!

Thanks for subscribing!


  1. Both books do sound different. I own a copy of Playing Hurt, and I will be reading it soon. :) And I’ve heard good things about A Blue So Dark. Would love to own a copy.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. These both sound like very emotional reads. I’ve had them both waiting on my wishlist for some time. They really do sound fantastic. Not your every day light reading.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  3. Great interview! I love it when authors write quite different books (and those two are really different with their premises), because a lot are just repeating themselves in their writings and that’s just boring.

    danaan at gmx dot at

  4. I love that besides writing Holly loves music & that her students inspired her to write YA. That is so awesome!

    Both of the books sound awesome. I would love to win Playing Hurt because it sounds like my kind of book. And I love any book that involves Minnesota because that is where I live :)


  5. A Blue So Dark was such a great book. My heart just broke for Aura having to be the one to take care of her mom. It’s interesting how she chose to write a book on schizophrenia.

    Thank you for the giveaway.


  6. I find schizophrenia fascinating and I think both of these books sound amazing. I haven’t yet had the chance to read either one, but I’d really like to read A BLUE SO DARK. Thanks for the chance to win.


  7. I’ve read A Blue So Dark and loved it, I thought it was a realistic look at schizophrenia. Mental illnesses have touched me in RL and I find them fascinating.

    I really want to read Playing Hurt, it looks so good!

    admiller912 AT gmail DOT com

  8. Thanks for the opportunity. I’m glad the author shared about her writing process and the length of time it took before she was published. I’d like to know more about this part of her story. Did she have the same publisher for both? Does she have an agent?

    I am writing a pharmaceutical legal thriller and the thought of it taking seven years to be published scares me a little. But I have hope and it helps to read of another author’s success. Author interviews are great for that boost.

    I am torn, really, between the two books. I’d like them both! If I had to choose, I’d choose the novel, Playing Hurt.

  9. I’d really love to read A Blue So Dark, I love reading about how teens deal with serious situations like that and I have only heard good things about HOlly’s writing!


  10. Just reading this interview has me wanting read both books, especially since they’re both so different from each other.
    Great answer to the super power question (I think everyone could use the ability to zap negativity away).
    Thanks for the great interview and giveaway.

    The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

  11. I love when authors diversify their writing– it makes it so much more interesting for the reader when all their books aren’t same-same. A Blue So Dark looks really intriuging, and both the covers are gorgeous!

  12. Great interview!Both books sound very interesting. A Blue So Dark has an amazing story.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  13. Everybody says that A blue So Dark is a must read… I really have to discover that one. I would love to take the chance to win this book :)

    Thank you for the opportunity!


  14. I’ve seen this cover everywhere & heard great things about it, but I never knew what it was about.
    I actually wondered about myself, the mad genius thing. Especially because when I was younger I was really introverted, I talked to my first classmate in fifth grade. And people always saw me as a weirdo.
    But really I was in my own world, full of words & people I could relate to.

    Great interview, I need to read any of Holly’s book immediately!

    vicky216n at hotmail dot com

  15. Holly is such a great person, she really appreciates bloggers. I would love to have a copy of her new book Playing Hurt because the story sounds great.
    Thanks for the giveaway

  16. I am glad to see a YA author tackles some more difficult subjects than a lot of the usual fluff.
    I’d love A Blue So Dark.

  17. I would love to read A Blue So Dark. My mother has suffered from chronic depression my entire life, and while she doesn’t suffer from any other mental disorder (thankfully), it was still hard growing up. Win or lose, I will still be adding this book to my must-read list!


  18. Wonderful interview! I loved reading about the meaning behind Holly’s writing. I would LOVE to win “A Blue So Dark”. I love that Holly writes about mental illness. It is a very real problem in a “turn the other cheek” type of world!

    Great persistence Holly! thank you for sticking with your writing!!!

    (tweeted your AWESOME giveaway)!!


  19. I really want to read both these books. I’ve been seeing them around a lot lately and I get so jealous every time someone else has read/owns them! And then, I read all these great interviews with the author, and I want them even more!

    basicallyamazingbooks [at]

  20. I’ve seen many great reviews for both of these books and can’t wait to read them! Not to mention that the covers are beautiful.


  21. I’d love to read A Blue so Dark, I’m very intrigued by the mix of art, psychology and family connections. Thanks for the review and the give-away!
    martaplayita at gmail dot com

  22. I have the A blue so dark book in my wishlist since I saw it as an ARC at some blogs and I still haven’t had the chance to read it because it’s not selled at my country and I don’t frecuently buy on the internet… :(
    I would really love to read it, and now I have Playing hurt in my wishlist too!! it grows each second!!

  23. I’ve read nothing but good things about both online. The cover for both is nice but a dark so blue in particular.


  24. Very interesting interview. I’d like to have the same superpower.
    I’ve never read her books before but they sound great. If I win, I’ll choose Playing Hurt.
    Thank you for making this giveaway international.

    maniezkelly at gmail dot com

  25. I’m not entering the giveaway, because I have both books, but awesome interview! Holly is so sweet and I can’t wait to read Playing Hurt!!

  26. Both books sound great but I’m leaning towards PLAYING HURT.

    I always thought it would be easier to write what you know so I’m intrigued that she chose to write about mental illness having had no personal experience with it.

    As for superpower, I wish I could clone myself and others.

  27. When I was in college I read some books about scizophrenia. Non Fiction one. Frightening enough. I wonder how the story if a same theme is brought to fiction.

    I have never seen A Blue So Dark. Because most of them post Playing Hurt. I’d love to read both of them though at gmail dot com

  28. I have heard many great things about these books. Thanks for the interview…its always nice to get to know the authors a little bit better and what makes them tick!!

    jmluker (at) winco (dot) net

  29. Great interview, and thanks for the giveaway! I loved a Blue So Dark and am anxious to read Playing Hurt–but have only read positive reviews thus far. I love when an author has the ability to write books that are so different from each other–I think that demonstrates true talent.


  30. OMG! Great interview! You know how much I love these book and how much I absolutely adore Holly!!
    I’m so glad you read and loved them too!

    (don’t enter me of course)

  31. It’s interesting that there was no sports connections in the first draft of playing hurt – it must have had a different name then. I guess it really is a long process to get published. I would love to win playing hurt.


  32. I liked why she wanted to write about schizophrenia. It was much more detailed than I would have thought. I have A Blue So Dark but I haven’t read it yet.

    twilightforever.edward at gmail dot com


  33. I love the books, I love the interview, the way she writes with out distraccion of internet, and Loved the super powar of zap negativity.


  34. Really looking forward to reading both of these titles, it’d be nice for a change to read about realistic issues such as mental illnesses and whatnot. Great interview, love the super power! ;D Although both of these books sound wonderful I’d like to have a copy of A Blue So Dark if I won :)

  35. Both booksunds wonderful. I love to read a story about schizophrenia and mental illnesses. It’s such a fascinating thing for me.


  36. Thank you for the giveaway and interview. My mother always told us the old saying “if at first you do not succeed try, try again.” It always reinforces that when you see it confirmed and Holly states the first drafts for Playing Hurt and A Blue So Dark were rewrites from previous rejections.
    I would love to read Playing Hurt.

  37. I am surprised that writing a book is such a long process – I’ve always imagined that it is written just in a few sittings and then corrected and wolia! Guess I was very wrong ;D

  38. I have been wanting to read A Blue So Dark for a while now, so I am excited to see a giveaway for this book. I am really interested in reading this because I had to live through a similar situation with my mom when I was a teenager. Thanks for the interview and the giveaway.

  39. What a great interview! I’ve been meaning to read one of Holly’s books for a while now and I think I’m leaning towards “A Blue So Dark” as my first pick.

    the (dot) zealous (dot) reader (at) gmail (dot) com

  40. Hi there,

    I have not heard of these books, so that was a nice surprise to be browsing my Dashboard this morning and come over and have a read.
    Also I learnt about the Alphasmart Neo. Didn;t know that existed. I might look into buying one of those. I love browsing my dashboard and everybodys blogs its my morning ritual. So many things to learn. Well Done!!!

    I shall put these books on my leaning tower of Pisa TBR pile:D


  41. Both these books sound amazing! I would love to read either of them. Playing Hurt has caught my eye for quite a while and ever since it came out im so happy because i can some wat relate to the story behind it. Thanks for the giveaway!


  42. Really enjoyed your review of both books! I’d choose A Blue So Dark! A complex subject worth reading about!
    Best wishes & thanks for a chance to win this wonderful title!
    Chanticlear1 (at) gmail (dot)com

  43. Longtime follower in GFC, even though it’s not a requirement!
    Best wishes & thanks for a chance to win this wonderful title!
    Chanticlear1 (at) gmail (dot)com

  44. Both books sound great and I haven’t read either. A blue so dark sounds like a very emotional book and so does Playing hurts. I seem to be drawn to A blue so dark I have been reading paranormal books for ages a different sort of book would be a great chance.

  45. I’ve never read any of Holly Schindler’s books and both of these look awesome. It’s a difficult decision, but I think I would choose A Blue So Dark if I am the winner.

  46. I actually just finished Playing Hurt in the last hour, and adored it. It is such an amazing love story! I was at my library earlier searching for A Blue so Dark, but they don’t have it… Hopefully I win!

    Great interview!


  47. WOW!! What a great interview!! I am adding these books to my To Read list!! They sound amazing!! Thanks for the chance to hear about Holly and her books!

    AmethystDaydreams at zoho dot com

  48. I’ve wanted to read A Blue So Dark ever since it came out but I couldn’t find a copy of it. I’ve been hearing lots and lots of wonderful things about Holly’s book and I can’t wait to read it! I hope I win! Thanks for this contest:)


  49. A Blue So Dark was an amazing read and I’m excited to read Playing Hurt which I would love to win. Holly really does have a great way with works and descriptions.
    I wish I had the ability to zap negativity too.
    Thanks for the giveaway.
    Lindadao2060 at yahoo dot com

  50. A blue so dark and Playing hurt both sound amazing! Can’t wait to read them! my favorite spot to read is also on my bed.


  51. Great interview! The whole ‘mad genius’ thing is true for many artists. It’s so easy to dismiss someone’s creative genius as a bit of craziness, just because others don’t necessarily understand it.

    I wish Holly did have the power to zap negativity. We could all use that.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  52. Love how to see how people lose a part of who they were and have to fight to figure out who this new person will be. My mom always says, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I hate and love that statement. It means something must have gone wrong–ugh BUT what can you take away from it.
    Thanks for the giveaway. Amy @ bookgoonie at yahoo

  53. I haven’t read any of her books yet, but even if I don’t win, I will eventually buy one of her books (soon!) I seem to be the same thing when it comes to writing. I don’t really write from experience.


  54. I’ve always kept my eye on those two books. And it’s always a plus to know the authors insights, her personality and other things about her. I’ve never read a book about schizophrenia, thats why it caught my eye in the first place. Then i saw the other book by the same author and the story seems cute and interesting.

  55. Thanks for the giveaway! Schizophrenia is a very serious thing, but I’ve never seen a book with a character dealing with it, so it must be very interesting. The cover of A Blue so Dark is absolutely beautiful! I’m in.

  56. Of all the interviews I’ve read Candance you have an insight that many don’t have. I love how you interviewed Holly Schindler. The questions are very thought provoking! And I must make note that out of all the super powers that one in itself was very awesome and original. ^^
    A Blue So Dark sounds very intriguing I must say. I can’t wait to read it no matter what happens, to see schizophrenia in a different light.

  57. Thanks for the interview. I’ve wanted to read Playing Hurt when I first heard about it, so it was interesting to know how the book came to be and how long it took from first draft to publication.


  58. Thanks for the giveaway!! Love author interviews…and I haven’t read either book yet, so its great to get to know the author!!

    jmluker (at)

  59. I’ve heard lots of goods things about both these books! I’ve never really read a book dealing with mental illness before but I’m quite interested in learning more about it. I particuarly like your answer about super powers, Holly :)

    Thanks for the international giveaway!


  60. I’ve seen so many great reviews about Playing Hurt and I just adore the cover! Looks so fresh and summer-ish!

    I love that part of the movie in Romancing the Stone! :) I think it’s so true that if the author isn’t moved the readers won’t be either!

    TaraTagli at gmail dot com

  61. I really admire Holly’s stubborness to keep writing and writing for years, without getting published! I would probably give up right away…

    I’d love to be entered in the giveaway!

  62. This is such a fantastic interview, thanks so much to both of you!

    I’ve seen so many amazing reviews around the blogopshere about A Blue So Dark. Something special, huh?

    Thanks for the giveaway! 😉


  63. Both books sound amazing! They deal with such emotional topics, and seem like awesome reads!

    Confession: I totally looked up what an Alphasmart Neo… and now I want one really bad.

    I’d love to enter this awesome giveaway.

  64. I also like the concept of a “mad genius”. Art is a fascinating thing, so it’s only understandable that it can only be made by fascinating minds.
    If “creative” equals crazy, then I have no problem whatsoever being called insane! :)

    I really want to read A Blue So Dark!
    cris_mv at hotmail dot com

  65. I love that she said “without a doubt I’d zap negative energy,” when you asked her what kind of super power would she choose if she could have one. That’s a fantastic answer and one that might benefit us all greatly. 😉

    Also, I kind of love that she doesn’t have to be in a dark place, to be able to write dark things. And I very much enjoyed her take on how she perceives “mental illness” and how sometimes people might mistake it for a more sensitive mind that might be more in tune with things that we aren’t necessarily.

    So, yeah this is a fantastic giveaway, thanks to both you and Holly for being so generous. And I’m definitely following your blog because I love it! :)

    Suz @ A Soul Unsung

  66. Thanks for the interview. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the books and the author’s way of writing. So I’m looking forward reading them both!!!! I’ve got a nice place for them on my shelf 😉

    Thank god it’s open internationally!! Thanks a ton, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.


  67. Oh, my goodness. this author is certainly a gem! lol. I think A Blue So Dark sounds fabulous. Schizophrenia is just such an interesting topic in my opinion, especially since I just saw A Beautiful Mind (a WONDERFUL movie) with my friend. Playing Hurt also sounds fantastic. Thanks for the giveaway. :) I’m a follower.


  68. I’ve been wanting to read a blue so dark since the first time i saw the cover. I tend to judge books by their covers and i love this one.


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