Wednesday, May 11, 2016

FFBC: Welcome to the club, Spark by Holly Schindler

by Holly Schindler
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 17th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, Magic, Realism
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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.

Hello Holly! We are super excited to have you in our FFBC tours.

Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about Spark?

SPARK is 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.

The local Avery Theater was just a run-down building to Quin—until her mother told her about the tragic love that played out on the theater’s stage many years ago. Quin is convinced it’s the perfect story to re-create for her drama class. And when she does, the Avery begins to magically regain its former splendor, clearly setting the stage for her classmates Dylan and Cass to relive the storied romance of Nick and Emma. Quin can see the spark that ignites when they’re together, but it’s up to her to make sure her friends—and the Avery—can both be saved this time around.

Can you describe Quin and her role in Spark? What would you say it’s the best thing about her?

Quin’s the protagonist—a writer whose mother, Ms. Drewery, teaches Advanced Drama. Ms. Drewery is convinced that this class can save the Avery from demolition by putting on their own production of ANYTHING GOES—the last musical ever to be performed on its stage. But Advanced Drama is filled with “senior nobodies” who are neither set designers nor talented musicians or actors. Quin’s made the production’s director—but she can’t quite keep her pen out of it! As they begin to put their production together, she’s rewriting and updating the script. But can Quin rewrite the past, too?

Can you tell our Book Addicts about Nick and Emma’s story and how it affects the story in Spark?

Nick and Emma are the stars of the historical portions of the book—a pair of “star-crossed lovers” who died on the stage in 1947. The Avery Theater closed shortly afterward. When the magic of the Avery resurfaces, Cass and Dylan pick up where Nick and Emma left off. They begin to fulfill an old prophecy: when the right hearts came to the Avery, old would become new—star-crossed lovers would be “uncrossed.”

How did you come up with the story? Did you find inspiration in any other story/movie/show and how has this affected your writing?

I wanted to write a story about two people who couldn’t get along until they literally saw each other differently. That’s where Cass and Dylan came from. I had this idea about two flawed people suddenly being freed from their flaws—and then falling in love. I was playing, initially with the “love is blind” idea. I also wanted to show how seeing YOURSELF differently changes your own behavior. We all have perceived flaws. But what would happen if you could shed those flaws? How would it change you? Would you be more open? Would you be more willing to show who you are on the inside? And how would that change your life? Would more people be drawn to you? Wouldn’t that be because you were more open, not because you were “flawless”?

I had to figure out how my two supposedly flawed characters would see each other—and themselves—in a new light. That’s when the phrase “the magic of the theater” came to me. Anyone who performs knows being on the stage—becoming another character—is truly like stepping into a new skin. And that’s when I began to brainstorm a storyline about the Avery Theater.

Tell us your favorite quote from Spark.

I love a good underdog story. So I gravitate toward the description of Advanced Drama. As Quin says, “We’re the colors in the crayon box that no one ever reaches for. Not the eye-catching colors: Atomic Tangerine and Shocking Pink. We’re Burnt Sienna. Plain old Gray. We’re never expected to make our mark at Verona High.”

Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write?

There were a couple: The scene in which the Avery pops to life in front of Quin for the very first time. And the scene at the end in which Advanced Drama is putting on their own production for the entirety of the town of Verona. Both seemed the most magical to me—I really could just let my imagination fly with them.

If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for Spark – Which one would you pick? 

Of course, the first song that comes to mind is “Anything Goes.” I decided to make ANYTHING GOES the production Advanced Drama would put on for several reasons: I think the title song is still recognizable. It’s actually the perfect age to have been performed on the stage of the Avery in 1947. And I could engage in a bit of wordplay with it: literally for Cass, Dylan, and Quin, anything goes inside the Avery Theater.

Imagine that we get to see your book on the big screen (how awesome would that be?). Who would you pick to play your characters?

I’d love to see a theatrical cast. Meaning I’d love to see some lesser-known stage actors fill these roles. I have such incredible respect for stage actors…

Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read Spark (specific music, snacks…)? 

The theater was truly an experience in the 1940s. People dressed up: hats, gloves, heels. Make the book an experience, too! Grab some popcorn—with real butter. And imagine a red velvet curtain pulling back, revealing the opening scene…

What’s next for you? 

I’m hard at work on my next YA. I’m also pleased to announce that in honor of the release of SPARK, PLAY IT AGAIN, the sequel to my YA romance PLAYING HURT is $.99 for a limited time.

I’m a hybrid author, which means I get to experiment with genres and formats in the independent publishing world. Each month throughout 2016, I’m releasing a new short story in the Forever Finley Short Story Cycle. Each is a stand-alone and named for the month of its release; they can be read independently and in any order. At the end of the year, the stories will come together to create a different picture of the magical small town of Finley. 

Current titles in the series include: Come December, January Thaw, Forget February, Dearest March…, April’s Promise, and Mayday Mayday, Mayday. All titles can be found on my Amazon page:

I’m also returning to an old love of mine—drawing. I’m learning the ins and outs of digital artwork in order to illustrate my own work. It’s definitely an exciting time for me.

Thank you so much for everything, Holly!

Follow the Spark by Holly Schindler Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

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

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea behind this story! A mystery, friendship, family, romance--this book has so much! thanks for the post today and chance to win!