Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Interview with Holly Schindler, author of The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky

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1. How different was writing a middle grade book from writing young adult books?

 In some respects, writing a middle grade is very similar to writing a YA—they both hinge on really knowing your main character and getting a handle on their voice. The pacing was a bit different, though—a middle grade novel is a full twenty thousand (or more) words shorter than a YA. You choose different situations to include in a middle grade— complications you throw at your character are different, too. That’s not to say you can’t deal with tough issues in MG—you absolutely can. In THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, we deal with issues of poverty and even eminent domain. But every issue that’s introduced to an MG character has to be solved by that character. It’s not the child’s adventure or journey anymore if the adults in her life suddenly swoop in and save the day.

 2. Do you see yourself writing more middle grade books in the future?

Absolutely. Auggie may very well be my favorite character of all time. But to a great extent, her sweetness and the way she looks at the world is possible because of her young age. I also think MG readers and characters are all in the midst of really figuring themselves out—what they love, what their passions are, what they’re good at. I’d love to spend more time with characters who are that age.

3. If you could pick any song as the theme song, what song would you choose and why?

 At the beginning of the book, Auggie’s out to find her own special talent or “shine.” So the very first song that comes to mind is “This Little Light of Mine.”

4. Are there any authors that you’ve had a fangirl moment after meeting them?

I have those moments every time I meet a new author I admire—even if that meeting occurs online rather than in person. I enjoy meeting authors so much, I became the administrator of two group author blogs: Smack Dab in the Middle for MG authors: smack-dab-in-the-middle.blogspot.com, and YA Outside the Lines for YA authors: yaoutsidethelines.blogspot.com.

5. What made you want to write a middle grade novel and was there someone or something that inspired the book?

I love writing in multiple genres—my first YA was a literary problem novel, my second YA a romance. THE JUNCTION is my first contemporary MG, and my next YA is a psychological thriller. Part of the reason I love writing is that I never know where a new book will lead me. Each book turns out to be its own unique world. THE JUNCTION comes, in part, from the years I spent attending antique auctions—especially farm auctions. I attended those auctions with my folks when I was little, and now I attend them with my brother (an antiques dealer). I love those one-of-a-kind antiques that show up at farm auctions: benches made from old barn wood, dolls made from feed sacks, lampshades made from old galvanized buckets. To a great extent, the idea of writing about folk artists came from those years of attending farm auctions!

Book Description:
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“Beasts of the Southern Wild” meets Because of Winn Dixie in this inspiring story of hope. Auggie Jones lives with her grandpa Gus, a trash hauler, in a poor part of town. So when her wealthy classmate’s father starts the House Beautification Committee, it’s homes like Auggie’s that are deemed “in violation.” But Auggie is determined to prove that there’s more to her—and to her house—than meets the eye. What starts out as a home renovation project quickly becomes much more as Auggie and her grandpa discover a talent they never knew they had—and redefine a whole town’s perception of beauty, one recycled sculpture at a time. Holly Schindler’s feel-good story about the power one voice can have will inspire readers to speak from their hearts.


 "...a heartwarming and uplifting story...[that] shines...with vibrant themes of community, self- empowerment and artistic vision delivered with a satisfying verve." – Kirkus Reviews

 "Axioms like 'One man's trash is another man's treasure' and 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder' come gracefully to life in Schindler's tale about the value of hard work and the power of community…Auggie's enthusiasm and unbridled creativity are infectious, and likeminded readers will envy her creative partnership with [her grandfather] Gus." – Publishers Weekly

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Twitter: @holly_schindler

Author site: hollyschindler.com

Site for young readers: Holly Schindler’s Middles - hollyschindlermiddles.weebly.com.

 I’m especially excited about this site. I adored getting to interact with the YA readership online— usually through Twitter or FB. But I had to create a site where I could interact with the MG readership. I’m devoting a page on the site to reviews from young readers themselves! Be sure to send your young reader’s review through the Contact Me page.


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 Bring on the Books: http://bringonthebooks.blogspot.com/