I read A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler last month and it left me speechless(in a good way!). So I’m thrilled to be interviewing Holly and hosting a giveaway! You can read my review here.
A BLUE SO DARK opens as Aura Ambrose struggles to keep 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.
Why did you decide to write about such a tough subject?
I’ve always been fascinated by the creative process. Why the same sunrise can inspire one person to write fifty sonnets or paint a hundred watercolors…and can barely even inspire another to give it a, “So what?” shrug.
Where DO creative ideas come from? What’s the source? How does a metaphor take shape in a person’s brain?
A BLUE SO DARK allowed me to build characters and a plot around the idea that creativity and mental illness are somehow linked. And we’ve got SO many “great” artists who really were mentally ill (schizophrenic, bipolar, or suffered from depression) that Aura’s fears aren’t completely unfounded…
What do you want your readers to take away from this book?
Really, I hope that readers will connect with the voice in BLUE. I hope that Aura’s biting humor shines through even in the darkest moments of the book. (I think the humor’s an incredibly important part of the novel…without it, darkness just might swallow this book whole. But Aura’s humor keeps the novel balanced…keeps a little levity going in what might otherwise be an overwhelmingly heavy book.)
If you could have dinner with any three authors (dead or alive) who would they be?
I only get THREE? (she says with a grin). How would I ever choose? I mean, the lifelong Missouri girl in me instantly wants Laura Ingalls Wilder and Mark Twain…But the contemporary YA writer in me wants so desperately to invite all the incredible, cool YA writers I’ve “met” online over the past year and a half while BLUE was in development (but have never seen face-to-face): Gabrielle Zevin, Holly Cupala, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Carrie Jones, Linda Joy Singleton, Kathryn Erskine, Christy Raedeke, Crissa-Jean Chappell…And as soon as I say THAT, the old literature major in me starts screaming, “Don’t forget Jane Austen and…”
Yeah. I’d better quit while I’m ahead.
Which book or books make you fall in love with reading when you were young? What book has made you fall in love with it all over again recently?
I was always a big reader. Even when I was small enough to ride in shopping carts, I couldn’t leave the grocery store without a new Little Golden Book. And this dates me a bit, but I did grow up loving Judy Blume…I STILL have my tattered old copy of THE PAIN AND THE GREAT ONE. As I got a little older, I graduated to my much-loved Missouri authors (I still have the paperback LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE set I got when I was eight). And I went through a period, back in junior high, when I just DEVOURED Christopher Pike novels…
In all honesty, now that I’ve written and published a novel, I don’t know that I’ll ever read a book the same way I did when I was younger. I really can’t turn off the writer in me. I’m always looking at the nuts and bolts of a book—analyzing plot and character development, etc.
My love of reading isn’t renewed these days so much by books as a whole as it is by PORTIONS of books. I strive to dig out the best EACH author has to offer…
Name a guilty pleasure (book, movie, or song).
I’m now in the midst of renovating my childhood home. And I have to say that nothing can get me through a long day of painting quite like radio stations that play fairly cheesy 80’s pop songs. So that must definitely be my current number one guilty pleasure.
What’s next for you?
I have two books currently in development. PLAYING HURT, a YA romance, is due out with Flux Books in March, 2011. And my first novel for adults, a romantic comedy tentatively titled FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS, is due out in the fall of 2011.
…I’m also in the midst of putting the finishing touches on yet another young adult novel…and all I can say about it now is that it’s in a completely different genre than any of the works I’ve already sold. Be sure to check in at my blog (hollyschindler.blogspot.com) for updates!
- Open to US residents only
- Ends June 21st
- Fill out the form to enter!