Sunday, January 15, 2012

Meet Mindy Hardwick

I am happy to welcome to the blog Northwest author Mindy Hardwick, whose debut novel STAINED GLASS SUMMER just came out from Musa Publishing. (P.S. I've read it and it's wonderful!)

Mindy – How did you first come up with the idea for Stained Glass Summer? The initial conflict seems to be between 12-year-old Jasmine and her father, who she idolizes. How did this scenario come to you?

The idea for STAINED GLASS SUMMER happened when an artist friend gave me a couple pieces of broken glass she found in a dumpster. The story was originally called, Jewels from the Dumpster, and Jasmine had an alcoholic Mom. However, in my first workshop at Vermont College, Ron Koertge said, “Alcoholic mothers are a dime a dozen, change it.” It was hard to hear, but what he went on tell me was don’t go with the first idea. The first idea is usually known or predictable. Keep pushing the envelope and ask What If. I followed his directions, and Jasmine’s Father was created!

Did you know anything about creating stained glass before you wrote this book? Or did you learn about it during the process of writing it?
During the research process, I took a class in stained glass. I had a really hard time! I’ve always been a little spatially challenged, and cutting the pieces exactly to fit the pattern was really hard for me. But, those little sun catchers that we made in class ended up in STAINED GLASS SUMMER. 
The idea of mentoring plays a pivotal role in this novel. Are you involved in mentoring, Mindy? Tell us a little about this, and how your feelings about being a mentor, or having a mentor, seep into your writing.
STAINED GLASS SUMMER is about Jasmine learning to define herself as an artist, and I think mentoring is a key part of being an artist—any type of artist. The artistic path is a journey, and on a journey, there is always a mentor who meets you at the first “doorway” and walks with you on your path. 
I am a mentor in the Volunteers of America Children of Promise Program. I have been matched for one year and my mentee and I do lots of fun things together every month. We’ve gone bowling, decorated a cake, and she came with me to pick up my new puppy, Stormy.  Faith and I did an interview on the Euterpe YA blog that can be seen here:
I also run a poetry workshop with youth in juvenile detention. You can see some of the teen poems on their blog at:  Although I don’t see the youth outside of the detention program, I feel as if I am their writing mentor in the poetry workshop. 
What was the most difficult part about writing Stained Glass Summer?
I had a hard time finding the right age for the story. Jasmine began as a fifteen-year-old edgy character. As I revised the manuscript, her age moved downward, but everyone was still calling it young adult. The problem was when I went to try and sell the book, it was too quiet for young adult. I kept seeing the story as tween—a good story for kids in the middle school years (6th-8th) grade.  Finally, after a couple of close calls in selling it, I sent the manuscript to be critiqued by freelance editor, Sarah Cloots. She called it an upper middle grade and suggested the story be called, STAINED GLASS SUMMER. In that revision, I changed Jasmine to be twelve and Cole to be thirteen. Once I made those changes, the story seemed to fall into place easily.  

Stained Glass Summer, your debut novel, is being published first as an eBook. How do you feel about this? Do you read eBooks regularly? If so, do you see any difference between reading on an eReader vs. a print book?
I’ve been reading e-books for a couple of years. I heard Angela James speak at an RWA Conference in Seattle about e-books. She showed us her e-readers and I was hooked! I love having STAINED GLASS SUMMER published as an e-book. It feels like this is the exact right time for e-books!
One of my favorite characters in the novel is five-year-old Sammy, who at the beginning serves as a foil for Jasmine. Later, learning more about Sammy becomes a way for Jasmine to learn more about herself. Is Sammy modeled after anyone you know?
Sammy is modeled after a picture book character that I wrote (but haven’t sold yet). I was drafting my picture books at the same time I was writing STAINED GLASS SUMMER, and Sammy’s personality showed up in both stories!
And last question, do you have anything else in the works, Mindy? Any other projects you’d like to share with us?
My young adult romance novel, WEAVING MAGIC, will be published on April 27, 2012.  Here is a brief summary:
He loves magic. She loves romance. But the biggest illusion is the one Shantel and Christopher tell each other. Sixteen-year-old Shantel and Christopher are falling in love, while failing to deal with some serious issues. Christopher’s feelings about his father’s imprisonment and Shantel’s feelings about her mother’s suicide are smothered beneath blankets of denial and addiction. Even though Christopher attends AA, and is trying to stay sober, the unacknowledged roots of their problems refuse to stay buried, and soon, the two are headed toward a disastrous magic trick which sends Christopher to juvenile detention and forces both of them to move beyond magical illusions to find true love.
Wow. Sounds like you are one busy lady, Mindy. Thank you so much for stopping by to share your story and tell us about your books.
To learn more about Mindy Hardwick, follow these links:
Twitter: @mindyhardwick
and to buy the book (it will be available at all major online booksellers soon) here are two links:
Oh, did I mention the book has a great setting in the San Juan Islands of Washington State? Yeah, that too!


Mindy Hardwick said...

Thank you, Linda for hosting me on your blog!

Patricia said...

Great interview. I feel like I know some very important things about Mindy that I wouldn't have without this post. I like the sound of your books, Mindy, because they tell about real life which isn't always bells and butterflies and happiness all day. I'm sure your mentoring has a lot to do with how rich and diverse your characters are.