Book Tour: Playing Hurt and A Blue so Dark by Holly Schindler
Interview with Janny, Aura's best friend
1). Can you tell our readers about yourself Twitter style (140 characters or less)?
Janny Jamison. Mother of Ethan. Friend of Aura. Figuring life out…
2). What is your greatest strength? Weakness?
Yeah, weakness is the first thing that comes to mind probably, when you look at my life. I mean, girl gets held back a year in school. Girl gets pregnant. Girl drops out of school. But I never had some great THING, some great talent, driving me. Not like Aura. That girl exhales talent. Me? What did I have? I was pretty. So I gobbled up all the attention that prettiness got me. But strengths? I’m learning my strengths along the way. I’m not such a bad mom, for instance. I think I’ve got a lot I could teach Aura about taking care of someone. And that makes me feel really good, the idea of maybe being able to teach her something.
3). Where did you see yourself after high school?
I never thought about it, frankly, until I left my parents’ house. And suddenly, I had this kid who had to eat. All that boring stuff suddenly looked attractive. I mean, I’d get jealous of school crossing guards, you know? Because they had something solid. That’s what I want. Solid ground. If I could find that post-high school, I’d be happy.
4). How do you feel about how Aura handled her mom? (Both before and after getting help from Nell.) How does being a mom yourself affect this?
Taking care of another human being? That’s the toughest job in the world. I mean, you give your kid something, right? Something that should be completely fine—like a carrot. What could go wrong with a CARROT? Only, after he eats it, he breaks out in hives. So you give him some antihistamine for kids. Only he has a reaction to THAT, and suddenly, you’re dialing 9-1-1, all because you wanted to give him something healthy to snack on.
Aura’s in the same boat. She had no way of knowing that the stuff she was trying to do for her mom was going to make her worse. She just kept trying to fix it. Kept trying one thing after another, and it didn’t work. It just kept exploding in her face. But I admire her for going to Nell. Took guts. And I mean—guts. In a way, it took more guts to go to Nell than just call 9-1-1.
5). How has your life changed as a teen mom? I ask because people think having babies is glamorous, and that they will always love you.
Yeah, well, you know what a baby is? A person. Just like anybody in your math class. Just a person who has his own likes and dislikes and opinions. I mean, two weeks old, they have definite opinions about he world. I’m sure Ethan already thinks I’m some boring old grown-up who is stupid to get mad at him when he won’t leave his socks on. By the time I’m twenty, he won’t want me to kiss him in public anymore. We’ll have fights and I’ll wind up sounding just like my own mother. But he’s also mine. I’d do anything to take care of this kid. To fight for him to have a good life. When he gets to be a teenager, I’ll probably follow him on all his dates.
6). Ideally, what support can Aura and your friends offer to you?
Just being there when I get frustrated and need to scream a little.
7). Do you see yourself still being friends with Aura in 10 years?
Tough question. Ten years from now, Aura will be out of school. She’ll be doing something fantastic, probably. Setting the world on fire with her artwork or poetry. I’ll have a fourth grader. On the surface, it wouldn’t make any sense for us to be friends anymore. But it doesn’t really make sense for us to be friends now, on the surface. Nothing’s guaranteed, but, yeah, I do think we’ll still be friends.
8). What are your memories of the beach trip with Aura’s family?It was honestly the most time I’d ever spent with Nell, Aura’s grandmother. I guess she and Aura’s mom have some bad history, but I thought she was great. Real head-strong. She was really good with Ethan, and the three of us had a lot of great times together when Aura and her mom were sitting on the shore having one of their sketching competitions. Aura and her mom were closer than ever on that trip, and I used to watch them together and think how strong the bond is between a mom and her kid. And thinking of the two of them over vacation still gives me hope that no matter what will happen with Ethan, when the dust of anger settles, there will always be love, at the base of it all…
Trailer for ABSD and Playing Hurt
Holly reading ABSD:
Terrified that her mother, a schizophrenic and an artist, is a mirror that reflects her own future, sixteen-year-old Aura struggles with her overwhelming desires to both chase artistic pursuits and keep madness at bay.
As her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet keeps drawing Aura toward the depths of her own imagination—the shadows of make-believe that she finds frighteningly similar to her mother’s hallucinations.
Convinced that creative equals crazy, Aura shuns her art, and her life unravels in the process.
You can read my review here
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