Monday, April 22, 2013

Holly Schindler Talks Teen Friends

Today on the JG bloggity blog, we're talking to Holly Schindler! Holly is author of the YA novels A BLUE SO DARK and PLAYING HURT. (Hello. . Blue so Dark, Starred Reviews and accolades and ssooo good!)


So let's get to teen friends. Did you have a best friend in high school? If you did, are you still in touch in any way?

HS: I had a bunch of friends who came and went during my pre-teen and early-teen years. The friends I’m still in touch with today came into my life during my late-teen years. Many of those late-teen friendships happened by accident…

As an eighteen-year-old college freshman, I scheduled my first-semester composition course in the science building (I wasn’t familiar with the buildings on campus when I registered, and didn’t realize the class was nearly in another zip code from the other courses I was taking). I kept it, rather than switch it up, and wound up becoming really close friends with a science major who was taking the same class. I also met and hung out (and often played music) with many of his friends. I spent quite a bit of time, those first couple of years of college, being the lone English major in a large group of people I affectionately referred to as my science geeks.

Like I said, I’m still in touch with a couple of them. We’re scattered, living in different states now, but when they come back to Missouri, we still get together to catch up over coffee, and we still email on a regular basis.

…I was just emailing one of those old “science geeks” the other day—and thinking about how funny it is that one happy accident led to our friendship. If I’d known anything about the buildings on campus, we’d never have met!

Awesome. Kind of like fate, if you're inclined to believe in that sort of thing. Which I am. Can you think of something a best friend did for you, that probably no other person would ever do?

HS: Another friend I had at eighteen—this one wasn’t a science geek, but an art major—and I used to play quite a bit of music together. I remember one night in particular, we were out late and decided to play. We didn’t want to disturb anyone sleeping at our houses, so we grabbed our guitars and wound up playing in the pottery studio where he was working at the time.

It’s actually one of my absolute favorite college memories—I mean, college can be so stressful, and I took it really seriously. I was always studying, always reading, always working on another paper. But there was something so sweet about the two of us playing that night until the wee hours. It was a bit like we were the only two people in the world…I was able to completely forget all the stresses and completely unwind and have a good time. It was really simple—but sometimes, those are the things we remember with the greatest fondness…

 A good student! Good for you. I took college way more seriously than high school too. Well. I was better behaved in college anyhow. So what did you love most about you teenage friends?

HS: I’m a big one for humor. I think a sense of humor’s a good indication of intelligence. It’s the first thing that draws me to a person, and the thing that always endears them to me…

 Oh. Me too, me too. That's one of the first things I'm attracted to. Laughing together is the best!
What drove you most crazy about a teen best friend?
HS: In my teens, I was big into vintage clothing, put together in an oddball way. One of my old science geek friends used to like to give me grief for it.
Typical conversation:
Friend: THAT’S a funky outfit.
Me: Thanks!
Friend: It wasn’t a compliment!
Me: Sticks tongue out at friend.
That's great though, because you both stuck to who you were and even though you teased you accepted it. Love. So...what did you learn from your best teen friend?

HS: When I was 18, I had friends who were my own age, but I also had some friends—mostly music buddies—who were older than I was…some by as much as ten years! Those older friends were on their second attempts to finish school (they’d come back after time spent in the service, or a divorce, or deciding they wanted a better shot at a decent job). It sounds a bit dry, but I think the most valuable lesson I got from them was about debt.
I saw how fast loans added up, watching my older friends. Nothing wrong with taking out a few loans, of course. I know many people who never would have gotten out of school without them. But I got really adverse to it. (Okay, I’ve always been pretty conservative with money. But I got REALLY anti-debt during college.)

I spent many afternoons at the kitchen table with my mom, working out our money situation. Between my folks’ help and my scholarships, I was able to get out of college with a master’s degree, owing absolutely nothing.

It turned out to be one of the greatest gifts in my life, being debt-free. Shortly after graduation, the economy started its downward spiral. Like many families, mine pulled together, all of us living under the same roof, supporting each other. As a result of that family support

I was able to devote full-time attention to my writing. But the path to publication wasn’t an easy one—even though my master’s was in creative writing. I still had a ton to learn. And I never would have been able to devote year after year after year to only my writing, if I’d taken out loans. I would have had to pursue full-time employment instead. The ability to start adult life without debt really made an incredible difference.

I'm completely impressed. I *may* not be the most responsible person in the world when it comes to finances. I certainly never learned about it in my teen years. Actually when I think about it, one of my best friends in high school was SOOO good with her money. We had part time jobs together and she saved almost all of hers. Me. Um. Not so much.

Anyhow, Holly, thanks so much for stopping by to talk about teen friends!!! Good luck with your MG debut and the next YA you have coming out!!


  1. That's a sweet guitar moment, thanks for sharing and thanks for the talk on debt!

  2. It's a good lesson. One I wished I had learned!!! Thanks for reading Fida!

  3. So enjoy reading your post! Thanks for sharing! :D