I am very excited to welcome Holly Schindler back for another interview (see her interview for The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky). This time Holly has stopped by to discuss her latest young adult title Feral. I hope y'all will give her a warm welcome back to the blog.
About the Author:
My debut YA novel, A Blue So Dark, earned a starred review in Booklist, was named one of Booklist's Top 10 First Novels for Youth, received a silver medal from the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards, and won a gold medal in the IPPYs. Playing Hurt, my first romance, released in 2011. My first MG, The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky, released in 2014.
My third YA (and first psychological thriller), Feral, released August 26, 2014; the novel has earned a starred review in Publishers Weekly.
You can haunt Holly Schindler at-
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- In five words, tell us about your latest YA book FERAL:
Psychological thriller; recovering from violence.
- So, what is with the feral cats mentioned in your book?
Claire’s endured a horrible gang beating in Chicago. She moves to Peculiar, hoping that it will be an escape from the unrelenting nightmares and the bad feelings and awful memories…but she begins to suspect, almost immediately after crossing the city limits, that it will be anything but.
I purposefully drew several parallels between Chicago and Peculiar. I knew, for instance, that I wanted a wild gang to be tracking her again once she arrived in Peculiar. And as a Missouri girl, I do know how the feral cat population (barn cats) can explode. I thought they made a perfect “gang” for the rural setting. (I don’t want to get into this point too deeply, because it contains some spoilers, but one of the feral cats—Sweet Pea—also winds up offering a way to illustrate exactly how Claire feels about her own body, post-beating.)
As a side-note, though, I do absolutely love cats. I grew up with two cats I adored. One of them—Tuffy—was born feral. The use of feral cats in FERAL was about finding a plot element that was right for the book. It doesn’t in any way reflect how I personally feel.
- Favorite line that Claire says in the book?
This comes from her thoughts, rather than dialogue—but it’s still my favorite:
“What harm could a dream do to anyone that wasn’t in a NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET installment?”
- Holly, can you share with us a two-sentence teaser from your favorite chapter?
I was a bit concerned, when I started in on revisions for HarperCollins, that the Serena chapters might outweigh Claire’s story. (That’s part of the reason why I went into such detail about Claire’s beating…I wanted readers to sympathize with Claire more than they sympathized with Serena. This is, after all, Claire’s book.) But I really like the chapters told from Serena’s POV—my favorite of the Serena chapters is the second, in which we see a pack of hungry ferals (including Sweet Pea, the calico Serena’d been feeding on her back porch) closing in on Serena’s corpse:
“Don’t do it, Serena quietly pleaded, staring at Sweet Pea through eyes like shiny stones. Please, Sweet Pea, don’t do it. Don’t you recognize me?”
- If you could chat over tea with any author, dead or living, who would it be and why?
Emily Dickinson. I’ve always loved her poems. But we have so many conflicting stories on who she actually was. My suspicion is: smart, sensitive, perhaps an affair with married man. I would love to sit down with her and find out for myself.
- Last book that kept you reading late into the night?
TO BE SUNG UNDERWATER, Tom McNeal. I’m a big fan of literary reads, and there was just something really compelling about that book—especially in some of those opening chapters.
- Which character from a book you’ve read recently would you befriend in a heartbeat?
I think my younger self would love to travel back in time and meet up with Emily Soper in Darlene Beck Jacobson’s WHEELS OF CHANGE
- What is the craziest most adventurous thing you have done? If given the chance, would you do it again?
Craziest thing? Getting out of school and turning my back on full-time employment to pursue a writing career. It’s also by far the best thing I’ve ever done.
Holly, thank you so much for stopping by (again) and answering a more questions. Oh my gosh! That teaser from your favorite chapter; chilling and yet makes me want to read Feral more than ever!!!
The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will make you question everything you think you know.
It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.
But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened.
But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….
Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.
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