Monday, April 6, 2015

Talking with Holly Schindler about FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS by Deborah Lytton

Today, as a special feature, I am happy to share with you my interview with the immensely talented Holly Schindler about her contemporary, comedic adult novel, Fifth Avenue Fidos. Holly is the author of four traditionally published books; her 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. Fifth Avenue Fidos is her first independently published book. She is owned by a Pekingese named Jake and can be found working on her next book in her hometown of Springfield, Missouri.  

 Here is a little bit about Fifth Avenue Fidos:

Once upon a time, in a magical metropolitan kingdom…OR: When a mutt from Queens meets a purebred Upper East Side New Yorker, it takes man’s—and woman’s—best friend to convince them what they feel is more than puppy love.

Mable Barker, a hilarious, good-natured sweetheart who is always the pal but never the girlfriend, endures nine horrendous months of bouncing between lackluster jobs in Manhattan (and suffering unrequited love) in her unsuccessful attempt to find her one true talent. So when she meets Innis, the ill-tempered Fifth Avenue Pekingese, she assumes her dog-walking days are numbered, too; soon, she’ll be heading back to Queens brokenhearted, tail tucked between her legs. But Innis belongs to the adorable yet painfully shy young veterinarian, Jason Mead, a man whose awkward ways around women have him dreaming not of finding love for himself but of playing canine matchmaker—breeding Westminster champions.

When Mable and Jason meet, romance is officially unleashed: they find an instant connection and shared goal, as it appears that Mable could very well have what it takes to be a professional handler, soon to be seen holding Innis under a banner labeled, “Best in Show.” As Jason and Mable get closer to putting a new twist on the term “dog lovers,” outside forces—Mable’s overprotective brothers, a successful wedding planner with her eye on Jason, even the theft of purebred pups from Jason’s Fifth Avenue apartment building—all threaten to come between them. Will Mable and Jason simply let their burgeoning love roll over and play dead? Or will they rally to make sure Innis emerges as the leader of the pack?

Brimming with humor and endearing characters, Fifth Avenue Fidos offers more than a simple, sweet romance. Conventions of love stories and fairy tales merge to illustrate that each modern-day princess has her own happily ever after—with a prince, another princess, a four-legged furball, or a brachycephalic dragon…Schindler weaves a heartwarming story about the loves that help us realize our dreams, and vice versa, about the dreams that bring us to our lives’ most powerful loves.

Deborah: Holly, can you tell us a little bit about your new release Fidos--and how you came up with the idea for the book?

Holly: I started writing the book shortly after my own Pekingese came into my life. (I’ve had Jake now for eleven years, so this is a book I’ve long wanted to get out into the world.) I also wanted to write a book about where I was at that point in my life: I was a woman in her early twenties trying to make her way in the world. Mable is definitely in the same place. 

Deborah: Your dog inspired the story--I love that. Which character most resembles you and why?

Holly: You know, they always say you gravitate toward breeds that have personalities like your own. If that’s true, then it’s Innis! (Innis was actually modeled after my own Jake, to some extent. Jake’s smart, he’s pretty stubborn, he definitely has his own opinion of the world. Hmmm. Sounds like qualities every writer needs to have, actually…)

Deborah: You might be right about that:) For readers of your other books, what similarities can we expect from Fidos?

Holly: I think all my books show some sort of humor—but the humor’s more up-front in Fidos.  

Deborah: I have to ask you about the indie experience. Can you share some insights? 

Holly: With the explosion of hybrid authors, the line between what is traditionally and independently published is no longer the line between what is good and what is bad. There are some truly fantastic indie books out there. 

Fidos was on sub a few times—editors consistently said it was well-done (a few even said straight out, “This needs to be published”), but no one had a place for it. Wasn’t YA, wasn’t adult. This was before NA, of course, but even after New Adult became a well-read age category, Fidos was still breaking the mold. Unlike most New Adult books, Fidos is sweet (not sexy), and it’s not about college, but about the “real world.” It still didn’t fit the traditional publishing agenda. Which made it perfect for independent publishing.

Indie releases also teach an author so much about publishing that they wouldn't learn otherwise. I've already done some remarketing for FIDOS; I find that New Adult is still a lesser-understood category, and the readership for NA expects steamier reads, for the most part. Once I began circulating directly with NA readers, I felt FIDOS was a better fit for the adult readership--which meant a new cover, tweaked jacket copy, etc. 

That's one of the beauties of indie publishing: nothing's carved in stone. You can experiment. You can learn and try new things with an existing book.

For those interested in the technical aspects of getting started doing indie, I highly recommend Scrivener (you get a discount if you’re a member of SCBWI), which will help you format .mobi (Kindle) and .epub files. I also recommend Ed Ditto’s book on using Scrivener to format e-books. You can upload the book yourself to the copyright office (just $35), and ISBNs can be purchased through

Deborah: What was the best part of the writing experience for you with Fidos

Holly: I already had the manuscript, but once I knew that I was going to put the book out independently, I edited the book globally in accordance to my own vision for what I truly wanted the final product to be. I’d say that’s the biggest “plus” so far for independent publishing: complete control over the final version of your book.
Deborah: You have books now in YA, middle grade and adult fiction. What's next for you? 

Holly: I’m doing the sequel to my YA romance, PLAYING HURT. I’m so excited about this project! I’m thrilled to get a chance to hang out with Chelsea and Clint again. The official release date--as well as sneak peeks, etc.--will be included in my newsletter. To get the announcement, sign up here.


Deborah: Thank you so much, Holly, for chatting with me today! 

Fifth Avenue Fidos is available at Amazon (currently a free read through Kindle Unlimited). To find out more about Holly, visit her website


  1. Great interview! This sounds like another winner from you, Holly! Your are an inspiration to all of us, having been successful in so many genres and levels. Good Luck with FIDOS!

  2. Congrats all around, Holly! Both books sound fabulous.