Welcome to the blog tour for
SPARK by Holly Schindler
Today I’m sharing my blog post for SPARK by Holly Schindler as a part of the blog tour! Thanks to Harper Teen and Hannah from Irish Banana Blog Tours for having me be a part of this one! I’m really excited to share a Q&A session with author Holly Schindler!
Before we jump into the tour, let’s take a second to check out some details about the book:
The local Avery Theater was just a run-down building to Quin—until her mother told her the tragic love story of Nick and Emma that played out on the theater’s stage all those years ago. Quin is convinced it’s the perfect story to rewrite for her drama class, but when she goes searching for more information, she makes a startling discovery—the Avery is rapidly regaining its former splendor and setting the stage for her classmates Dylan and Cass to relive Nick and Emma’s romance. Quin can see the spark between them, but it’s up to her to make sure her friends—and the Avery—can both be saved this time around.
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ABOUT HOLLY SCHINDLER
Holly Schindler’s work has received starred reviews in Booklist and Publishers Weekly, has won silver and gold medals in ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year and the IPPY Awards, respectively, has been featured on Booklist’s Best First Novels for Youth and School Library Journal’s What’s Hot in YA, and has been a PW Pick of the Week. She is owned by a Pekingese named Jake, and can be found working on her next book in her hometown of Springfield, Missouri. She can also be found at hollyschindler.com.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW: HOLLY SCHINDLER
The Avery theater is like a character itself, playing a huge role in Verona’s past and also turns out to be an important part of its present/future. Was it difficult to bring a place to life like that?
Just the opposite—it was a delight! I really love books or TV series or movies in which settings or buildings are characters. Love the idea of a place being alive. So many places in our own lives feel that way—maybe because of what we bring to them. I also just love the phrase “the magic of the theater.” Nothing feels more alive or vibrant than a theater. I was so excited to finally come upon a storyline of my own in which I could create a physical place that functioned as a main character.
The book starts off with a quote from As You Like It and there also seems to be a nod to Shakespeare by naming the town Verona. Would you say that Shakespeare was a big influence or inspiration for SPARK?
Absolutely! You can’t do a piece on the theater without being influenced by or referencing Shakespeare. There’s also an obvious ROMEO AND JULIET element, with the idea of star-crossed lovers. I loved the idea of “uncrossing” star-crossed lovers—being able to save the fated couple. I got to do that in SPARK.
I always love hearing how authors get that spark (*wink*) of inspiration for their books! Was there any specific incident or moment that popped in your head that led you to SPARK’s inception?
This one came in waves. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to focus on two flawed people that weren’t flawed in each other’s eyes (Cass and Dylan). And where do two people transform themselves more powerfully than on the stage of a theater? That was really the initial piece. The rest began to filter itself in along the way.
I thought it was neat how Quin, the main character, is actually not involved in the main romance and the “spark” is between her two classmates, Cass and Dylan. Was this always how Quin’s story was planned to go?
Actually, Quin was a later addition. Initially, I tried to write the romance between Cass and Dylan, told from their points of view. Previously, I’d written a YA love story (PLAYING HURT) that followed that format. But this time, it wasn’t working. I needed a narrator—but I knew it couldn’t be an authorial voice. I needed someone involved with these characters. So my writer (and my protagonist), Quin, was born.
The theater seems to be more prevalent in pop culture nowadays with huge fan bases in shows like Hamilton, Wicked, and so many other plays/musicals being adapted to the big screen. Do you feel like theater might be making a resurgence?
I hope so! There are so many powerful stories that take place on the stage. SPARK was written before HAMILTON exploded—but I really do hope young people are coming to the theater in a new way.
Do you have a favorite theatrical production? Has it influenced any of your books?
I’m an old literature major—and as I said, you can definitely see the influences of Shakespeare in SPARK. I also reference a few musicals in the book like THE FANTASTICKS. I grew up going to Tent Theater (the drama department at MSU puts on productions all summer long underneath a tent on campus)—I saw everything from BELLS ARE RINGING to BAREFOOT IN THE PARK. I also got to catch all sorts of touring theatrical productions—LES MISERABLES, CATS…I think that often, the theater seems somewhat out of reach—it can be pricey if you live in NY, and it can seem like something that only takes place hundreds of miles away if you live in the Midwest. I hope SPARK inspires some teens to go to the theater if they never have before—see a production playing in their hometown, enter the Hamilton lottery. It truly is a magical experience…
Thanks so much to Holly Schindler for this great interview!!
Holly Schindler Bio: I’m a hybrid author of critically acclaimed traditionally published and Amazon bestselling independently published works for readers of all ages. My previous YAs (A BLUE SO DARK, PLAYING HURT, and FERAL) have received starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, won silver and gold medals from ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year and the IPPY Awards, respectively, been featured on Booklist’s First Novels for Youth, School Library Journal’s “What’s Hot in YA,” and been selected as a PW Pick.
Going hybrid means that I’ve been able to explore all sorts of new avenues—short fiction, sequels, I’m even going to be branching out into doing some illustrative work. Throughout 2016, I’m releasing one short story a month in the Forever Finley Short Story Cycle. The cycle begins with “Come December”: http://amzn.to/1oPioN5
Also, in honor of SPARK’s release, I’m holding a sale on PLAY IT AGAIN, the sequel to my YA romance, PLAYING HURT. For a limited time, PLAY IT AGAIN is $.99: http://amzn.to/1qCNVCe
Don’t miss the rest of SPARK blog tour stops!
Three lucky winners will receive a finished copy of SPARK! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!! (US only)