Monday, April 13, 2015

Play On Blog Tour: Interview with Michelle Smith

Title: Play On
Author: Michelle Smith
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary

In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything. Especially for all-star pitcher Austin Braxton, who has a one-way ticket out of town with his scholarship to a top university. All that stands between him and a new start is one final season. But when Austin starts flunking Chemistry, his picture-perfect future is in jeopardy. A failing grade means zero playing time, and zero playing time means no scholarship.

Enter Marisa Marlowe, the new girl in town who gets a job at his momma's flower shop. Not only is Marisa some home-schooled super-genius, she's also a baseball fanatic and more than willing to help Austin study. As the two grow closer, there's something about Marisa that makes Austin want more than just baseball and out of Lewis Creek--he wants a future with her. But Marisa has a past that still haunts her, one that she ran all the way to South Carolina to escape.

As Austin starts to peel back the layers of Marisa s pain, it forces him to look beyond the facade of himself and everyone he thought he knew in his town. What he sees instead is that in a small town like Lewis Creek, maybe baseball isn t everything--maybe it is just the thing that ties them all together."


Author Interview!
Hi Michelle! I’m so glad you could stop by The Fox’s Hideaway.

Hi! Thank you so much for having me!

For everyone who hasn’t heard about your book, can you tell us a little bit about Play On?

Short version: Think Friday Night Lights, but with baseball. :)

Longer version: Play On is about seventeen-year-old Austin, the all-star pitcher of his high school’s baseball team. Austin has a one-way ticket out of his tiny town with a scholarship to his dream college…until he starts failing Chemistry. Luckily, the new girl at his momma’s flower shop, Marisa, is more than willing to help him study. But as they grow closer during their time together, Austin realizes there’s pain hidden beneath Marisa’s bright smile. That pain is one of the things that drove her all the way to Lewis Creek.

You had me at baseball. Where did the inspiration for this story come from?

I wanted baseball, and I wanted a small town, and I wanted guys who would do anything for each other. I wanted open fields and starry skies and pick-up trucks. And I wanted a girl who had depression, but wasn’t defined by that depression—Marisa’s illness doesn’t consume her life. We so often see stories in which the character is in crisis, and while those stories are SO important, I wanted to write one that shows that there is life, and hope, after a crisis. 

And I wanted it to be FUN! Because love and life can be a blast.

I was surprised when I started reading that it was all told in a male POV (not that I don’t love it because I really do). I feel like that’s so rare in YA. What made you decide to tell it that way?

There were two reasons for this:

1) I started writing Play On one year after I was diagnosed with depression. But: I wanted to write the story from an outsider’s perspective. There are so many times when people we love are dealing with things that we have NO clue how to navigate, and we get an up-close-and-personal view of how Austin tries to figure all that out.

2) I wanted a romance from the guy’s POV! I love reading them from a girl’s POV, but guys think differently, and I wanted to dive into that. Spoiler: I had so. much. fun. writing Austin. I seriously adore him.

What are three qualities that Austin possesses? Marisa?

A few of the things I love about Austin are his loyalty, his determination, and his confidence on the field. He’s an awesome pitcher, and he knows it, but he doesn’t let it make him cocky. And this guy will do anything under the sun for his friends and family.

Marisa…I love that girl. She’s got her own fierce determination, she’s super-smart and not afraid to show it, and she looks forward, which I think is important.

And because I like checking out author bios, I noticed you were a country music fan (as am I). So if you had to pick ONE country song, which one would best fit Austin and Marisa’s relationship?

I LOVE THIS QUESTION. Haha! I’m definitely a huge country music fan. If I can only pick one song, I think it’d have to be “I Want Crazy” by Hunter Hayes. It was one of the very first songs on the book’s playlist, and it’s just PERFECT for them.

OMG YES YES YES TO THAT SONG! After I read your answer to this and started the book, I was like: I Want Crazy is so perfect for these two. And oh, I love me some Hunter Hayes. <3

Rapid Fire Questions:
Favorite game snack?

Hot dogs!

Mine too! :) Baseball caps backward or forward?


Watching a game in the rain or under the baking sun?

Sunshine. Let me bake! (With sunscreen.)

Favorite number?


I should have guessed that. :P Favorite baseball player?

Chipper Jones, all the way.

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog, Michelle! :)

Thank you for having me! :)


Author Bio:
Michelle Smith was born and raised in North Carolina, where she developed a healthy appreciation for college football, sweet tea, front porches, and a well-placed “y’all.” She’s a lover of all things happy, laughs way too much, and fully believes that a little bit of kindness goes a long way. Michelle lives near the Carolina coast with her family.

Author Social Media Links:


  1. In truth, I want to read Play On because Holly told me I must! Also, so did Danielle @ Love at First Page. I trust these two :) Also, the book sounds really cute! Such a great interview, Holly & Michelle!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

  2. Why do I want to read Play On?

    Well gosh, it's compared to Friday Night Lighs. Which I haven't seen. But I've heard it's fantastic was way too short lived. <3 Open fields and starry skies and pick-up trucks remind me of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of The Universe. <3 And small towns are so lovely and I'm being reminded of I'll Meet You There.

    I love stories told in a male POV. I like guys that know they're good at something but aren't cocky, Austin sounds great. I'm really interested in seeing how the depression is portrayed and how Austin sees it.

    This is such a fun interview. And great answers to Michelle, of course. <3

    Also, I am not a country music fan, but I enjoy Hunter Hayes as well.

  3. I'm still so bummed that I didn't get approval for this one. I just love YA books that have sports in them. Oh well... I'll definitely pick it up.

  4. I Want Crazy!! That's one of my very favorite country songs, and it's perfect for Austin! This interview was so perfect, thank you for sharing. I love the way depression was handled - a totally different perspective, and Austin's responses were SO genuine.


Comments always make me smile. :) Seriously. Even if you comment on the post weeks or months later, it makes my day! So don't hesitate to leave your thoughts even if it's been a long time since the post was published. I'll try to reply to you, especially if you ask a question, but sometimes life happens. But I do read and appreciate every single one of them because I know how hard it can be to find the time or energy to comment. So a heartfelt THANK YOU for brightening my day when you do. <3