Today I am participating in the Teen Book Scene's blog tour for Playing Hurt (click link for other stops on the tour) by Holly Schindler. I was happy to be chosen for an interview with the main female character in the book, Chelsea.
Kate: For those of you who haven’t read your story yet, please tell us about yourself:
Chelsea: I’m a ball player. Have been, ever since my dad put me on his shoulder to dunk that first basket.
Was. Was a ball player. I guess I’d have to say ball has always been what defined me. First I was a ball player, then I was an EX-ball player. It’s tough being an ex when that’s ALL you are. When there’s nothing to replace the thing you used to be…
Kate: What was your dream career when you were little?
Chelsea: I guess every athlete has a second life, after ball. But I never thought about that. I knew basketball was my ticket into college, even when I was still in elementary school. By the time I was in high school, and I was showing up in USA WEEKEND Magazine—the issue highlighting the top athletes in the country—I started to think, maybe ball doesn’t have to end with college. Pro ball isn’t the same for women that it is for men, but I still thought—why NOT pro? There was ball—and there was nothing else. Until my accident on the court…
Kate: How did you meet Gabe?
Chelsea: I can’t remember the exact moment I met Gabe, honestly. It happens that way a lot in a small town, I guess. Seems like you’ve always known everyone. But Gabe was a little distant because he was beautiful—one of those object-of-everyone’s-desire types. And suddenly, out of nowhere, he was following ME around. Texting ME. Since he covered the sports for the Fair Grove High paper, he was always at my games. Watching ME. It was a little like finding out a movie star was in love with me. So of course I said I’d go out with him…And when I got hurt, he stuck by me.
Kate: What is your idea of a perfect boyfriend?
Chelsea: I thought it was Gabe. Honestly. I really did. Who WOULDN’T think Gabe was the perfect boyfriend? Only, for some reason, around the time of graduation, I’d started to get uncomfortable. I couldn’t explain why, exactly. But something was off.
Kate: What attracted you to Clint?
Chelsea: There was just an instant spark with Clint. An immediate attraction. He’s beautiful, of course—as gorgeous as Gabe, just in a different way. Darker than Gabe. More muscular. Athletic looking. Maybe that was part of the attraction. Maybe part of me pegged him for an athlete right off. Maybe part of me needed to be with someone who had known ball the same way I had. Someone who hadn’t just written about it, like Gabe. Someone who had lived it.
Kate: Besides all the romance, did you find your time on vacation with your parents to be healing for your body?
Chelsea: Yeah. Actually—I did. My dad and I had barely spoken after my accident. Nearly an entire year we’d gone, without really talking. And suddenly, after a three-week vacation, we were back to being close again.
And Brandon—he was pretty peeved at me over vacation, but later on…after everything that happened with Gabe…well, we’d never been closer, me and Brandon. I don’t think our relationship will ever go back to being just straight brother-and-sister again. I think we hit that point where we started being friends. It’s a good feeling…
Kate: Do you think you will play basketball competitively again someday?
Chelsea: I don’t think I’ll ever be able to physically play competitive ball again. But I came to a realization after my vacation, about basketball. About keeping sports in my life. The kind of realization I don’t think I’d ever have made, without Clint…
Kate: Where do you see your future taking you?
Chelsea: You say that—future—and I smile. Because I think of love, which never completely leaves…I do think of ball, but I also think of Clint…
Be sure to stop by Reading Teen tomorrow for a Playing Hurt Review.
As a graduation present, Chelsea’s dad springs for a three-week summer “boot camp” program at a northern Minnesota lake resort. There, she’s immediately drawn to her trainer, Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player who’s haunted by his own traumatic past. As they grow close, Chelsea is torn between her feelings for Clint and her loyalty to her devoted boyfriend back home. Will an unexpected romance just end up causing Chelsea and Clint more pain—or finally heal their heartbreak?