Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Friday, May 13, 2016

this time around - Spark by Holly Schindler

Acclaimed author Holly Schindler writes a compelling contemporary tale with a dash of magic. The theater comes to life in this story of family ties, fate, love, and one girl’s quest to rewrite history. 


Release Date: May 17th, 2016

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.

Blending Historical and Contemporary Times 

Writing a historical novel sounds daunting. But I believe that most people who are drawn to writing about historical subjects are already familiar with or have interest in the time period in which they set their stories. 

I’m no different—the historical sections of my book take place in 1947, which in many ways fits my own particular passions. I’ve long been a vintage junkie. I grew up scouring antique stores and flea markets. I wore vintage clothes from junior high through high school far more than I wore new outfits. I read Steinbeck, Hemingway, Pearl Buck. I love old movies—especially 1940s film noir. I already knew what the ‘40s looked like—how people dressed, what they drove. I knew what songs were popular. All of that came into play when I drafted the historical sections of SPARK. 

But SPARK isn’t completely historical—in fact, my publisher lists the book as a contemporary read. Most of the book does take place in present day. Which offers up a new problem—the book could easily feel choppy as it moves back and forth between past and present. 

To smooth the transitions, I incorporated several “bridges” between the past and present. Dahlia, a character we see in the present-day scenes, shows up as a child in the historic scenes. We also see several landmarks from the town of Verona—the Avery Theater and the train depot—as they were and are. That all provides a sense of continuity. 

I would argue, though, that in SPARK, the most important bridge between the past and present is the sense that the past can in some ways “fix” the present—and vice versa. The town of Verona is itself in disrepair—every bit as much as the Avery. The square is full of long-empty storefronts; the depot has been deserted for decades. But as the present-day characters (Cass and Dylan) step onto the stage and into the roles of Emma and Nick, who died there, the past and present blend, allowing for a rebirth in both the Avery and Verona. 

About the author:
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's Giveaway

1 comment:

Jan Lee said...

I like to read about plays and dramas. I like that this is historical and contemporary mixed ;)