Interview for Kai Strand, WOI Tour for November

Joining us today is Kai Strand, author of the middle grade fantasy, The Wishing Well: Another Weaver Tale and the middle grade contemporary fiction, Save the Lemmings.

Thank you for joining us today, Kai. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

I’m a wife and the mother of four. I’m a compulsive walker, lover of pizza and a Mozart Fangirl. I love to read and call it research. If I could solve one big thing in this world, I’d eradicate pediatric cancer. No child should have to endure the indignities of the illness.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

Writing has never felt like an insect bite to me; swollen and itchy.

I started writing to fulfill two separate needs in my life.

1) Distract myself by creating a world of my own while my daughter and I waited for the release of the fifth Harry Potter book.

2) Write short stories that would entice my reluctant reader of a son to read.
Neither reason was because of a burning desire to write. However, by the time I’d fulfilled those purposes, that fire had been sparked and stoked! After that I had to continue writing. So perhaps, instead of being bitten by a bug, I was bitten by a clever writing chameleon that disguised itself within my needs.

Why did you decide to write stories for the juvenile market?

As I indicated above, it was because I had children of my own. Seeing their lives impacted by reading resurrected the joy and transport reading provided me when I was young. I realized I also wanted to provide that for other children besides my own.

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

I truly admire what a young reader can do with a story. They don’t simply read a story and accept it at face value, they internalize it and personalize it and their interpretation is different than every other reader out there. Children are so much more active in the reading process (as long as they enjoy what they are reading, of course.)

I think my greatest challenge writing for this group is that I tend to write smart characters and the publishing industry isn’t as receptive to them. I think editors and agents will tell you they are, but when they read a character with a developed vocabulary, they immediately want me to replace words. If a character wants to dress differently they point out that kids don’t dress like that. I understand wanting to appeal to kids in your target age group, but not at the expense of dumbing-down or average-joe-ing the character.

Can you tell us what your latest books are about?

The Wishing Well: Another Weaver Tale is about an eleven-year-old girl named Molly who is treated worse than Cinderella by her mother and sisters. She meets a strange little gnome-elf who grants her a wish, but nothing seems to change afterward. Molly realizes she will need to figure out a way to either change the way her family sees her, or learn to accept it. She might have learned from her wish, that good communication is the key.

In Save the Lemmings, Natalie is an eighth grader whose Texty-Talky invention goes nationwide and makes her an overnight sensation. The media loves their Mid-West Whiz Kid – at first. Then their reports turn sour and the tabloids start to print lies and reporters camp out on her front lawn. Natalie has to take control back of what is being reported about her.

What inspired you to write them?

Save the Lemmings was a story that came to me while I slept. Not in a dream, but through my subconscious. I woke before the sun one morning with a fully formed idea that included a really smart, prissy girl, the media and a lot of furry lemmings.

The Wishing Well was actually inspired by the readers of my first novel, The Weaver. So many people asked if the strange little gnome-elf, Unwanted, was going to make an appearance in another book. Who am I to say no?

Has getting published changed how your family/friends treat you?

The day after my first local book signing, I dropped my daughter off for Religious Education and a father who had attended the signing did the ‘I am not worthy’ wave as I approached. We both laughed and got on with checking my daughter in. Mostly it is exactly as before.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

The Wishing Well:
Request from your local bookstore, or purchase your print or digital copy from:
Guardian Angel Publishing
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Save the Lemmings:
Request from your local bookstore, or purchase your print or digital copy from:
Featherweight Press
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

On my website readers can find links to my published short stories and downloadable companion documents for my books. http://www.kaistrand.com

My blog, Strands of Thought, has interviews with people involved in Children’s Publishing as well as some of my thoughts and anecdotes on writing for children. http://www.kaistrand.blogspot.com

What is up next for you?

My young adult super villain novel, King of Bad, will be released next year.
I am a staff writer for http://www.Knowonder.com, an online children’s magazine that delivers a story a day for children to age ten.

Do you have anything else to add?

I’m kind of addicted to social media, so I’d love for readers to like my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KaiStrandAuthor and join in on conversations there.

Thank you for spending time with us today,

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About adolescentgirlsblog

I am a freelance writer for adolescent girls. I love delving into the topics of self-esteem and self-confidence for girls. I find this writing really meaningful. This blog is devoted to girls and their issues.
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2 Responses to Interview for Kai Strand, WOI Tour for November

  1. Thanks for the interview, Irene. Fun questions that remind me of WHY I do this writing thing.

  2. kimkasch says:

    Great interview and I love Gnomes 😀

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