21 April 2011

Title: Playing Hurt
Author: Holly Schindler
Publisher: Flux, 312 Pages (March 8th 2011)

Synopsis: Star basketball player Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone's admiration back home. Then she took a horrible fall during senior year. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.

That summer, Chelsea's dad hires Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player and "boot camp" trainer, to work with her at a northern Minnesota lake resort. As they grow close, Chelsea finds that Clint's haunted by his own tragedy. Will their romance end up hurting them all over again—or finally heal their heartbreak?

Interview with Author, Holly Schindler:

What was the hardest part about writing PLAYING HURT?

I initially drafted PLAYING HURT several years ago—about ’04 or ’05! The book had to go through several rewrites…and years of rejection before I finally realized what was missing: backstory for both Chelsea and Clint—and the sports subplot.

In some ways, I think enduring all that rejection was the worst…Now, though, I’m really glad I went through it all. Because the book is so, so different now. If I’d gotten the book accepted years ago, it wouldn’t have featured the healing subplot—or Clint’s voice! (The entirety of the original book was told from Chelsea’s POV.)

With PLAYING HURT, the main character must deal with the emotional and the physical aspects of overcoming a life-changing injury. Was this something you or someone close to you had to deal with? And if not, can you tell us how this story / topic came about?

I actually never did experience anything like this…and I’m not an athlete at ALL! I’m horribly clumsy. If somebody had told me a few years ago that my second book would be about a couple of athletes, I’d have laughed right in their faces.

What happened was that I re-read PLAYING HURT after selling A BLUE SO DARK, and realized how athletic my characters seemed. (Chelsea still did go on vacation in Minnesota, even in the first draft…she fished, she hiked…) So I started playing with the idea that Chelsea was an athlete. I was about a quarter of the way through that last rewrite when I realized Clint needed backstory to match Chelsea’s…and I began to write chapters from Clint’s viewpoint…

Hard to imagine now, but that storyline regarding overcoming a life-altering injury didn’t even exist in PLAYING HURT until I rewrote it the last time…about four or five years after initially drafting the book.

Were any of the characters in either book - A BLUE SO DARK or PLAYING HURT - based on people you know?

Actually, no—all of my characters are fictitious! So are my situations…Anytime you pick up one of my books, you can always assume it’s a complete product of my imagination…

What do you look for when reading a review?

I love this question! I really adore blog reviews for their unflinching honesty. I love reviews that give a gut reaction to a book.

Let’s face it—it’s not easy to read blog reviews. I always compare it to walking down a dark alley, only to meet up with a shadow-cloaked figure. And that figure could either be your best friend or somebody who’d like to completely gut you (which—come on—can be what a rough review feels like).

But blog reviews have helped me connect with the readers who DO love my work. When BLUE released, I often reached out to those who wrote positive reviews…I’ve had the opportunity to get to know my readers. I know many of my readers by their names…and that’s so, so special. But I’d never have had the opportunity to create that kind of relationship without bloggers.

What’s your favorite part about writing a story, from concept to release?

I love that you included “concept” as part of the process. That initial spark of inspiration really is incredibly exciting. I have to say, though, I far prefer revision to drafting. Mostly because it’s during the revision process that the book really takes on its final shape—really starts to feel like a novel, rather than a pile of typed pages.

What are five random things about you?

1. I’m a huge music fanatic—I still far prefer vinyl, and I swear, I’ve never been in any establishment that has ever felt as drop-dead cool as a record store.

2. I have terrible eyesight—TERRIBLE! 20/700—a by-product of so much reading, I’m sure…

3. My favorite smell? Fresh-cut hyacinths.

4. I have a pretty extensive hat collection…I’ve actually been a big hat wearer since junior high.

5. Favorite writing fuel? Springfield-style Cashew Chicken.

Can you share with us your favorite line or two from PLAYING HURT?

This is from the section in which Chelsea meets Clint for the first time:

Okay—here’s the deal. I am not a romance-novel kind of girl. I’m not a giggler. Or a flirt. I’ve never doodled a boyfriend’s name in any of my notebooks…I don’t twirl my hair around my finger and bat my eyelashes…I’m not the sort of girl who has ever, in her entire life, gone all mushy-mushy at the mere sight of anything male.

But this guy? Hair as shiny and black as the feathers of a raven. Skin licked by the sun. And a body sculpted by sheer strength…

Holly, Thanks for including me in the blog tour for Playing Hurt and for taking the time out to answer these questions. It was great of you and I look forward to whatever you are working on next!

Find Holly Online:

Order Playing Hurt Online:

Keep an eye out for my review of Playing Hurt to post tomorrow!

*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this post.

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  1. Great interview! My eyesite is gradually getting worse too, probably because of reading so much as well and spending too much time reading book blogs :)

    I loved A Blue So Dark so can't wait to get my hands on Playing Hurt in the near fututre, especially after reading that excerpt. Clint sounds delicious!

  2. I really enjoyed reading this interview. I love how she had to figure out what her book needed...very inspiring for others to either take a step back from a project or try to come about it in a different way.

    From the small section at the end where she meets Clint...Chelsea sounds like a great character. Beautiful description of Clint. (sigh).

  3. It's wonderful to see an author who connects so closely with her readers. Knowing readers by their first names must be both difficult, but entirely rewarding - for both Holly and her readers. I haven't read either of her books, but I do have them on my wishlist. This interview has only made me want to pick up A Blue So Dark and Playing Hurt a little more because Holly seems so down to earth and kind. And the little excerpt helps too :)


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