Today's feature is an author interview with YA & MG Author Kai Strand. Kai writes fiction for middle grade and young adult readers. Her debut novel, The Weaver, was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC eBook Awards. She's a staff writer for Knowonder.com, where you're guaranteed a story a day. She is a (very lucky) wife and the mother of four amazing kids. The most common sound in her household is laughter. The second most common is, "Do the dishes!" She and her family hike, geocache, and canoe in beautiful Central Oregon, where they call home.
What or who inspired you to start writing?
There are two people responsible for my writing. J.K. Rowling and my son. My oldest daughter and I had read the first four Harry Potter books and were waiting for the fifth to come out when I realized I could entertain myself by creating a world of my own. So I wrote my first middle grade novel. At the same time, my son had gone through vision therapy to fix his double vision issues and had to catch up with his classmates in reading level. He wasn't crazy about reading, so I decided to write 'his' story for him, knowing it would capture his interest best of all and make him want to read. Hence, I wrote my first few short stories.
In your opinion, what are the three most important elements to writing a novel?
Relateability - Whether you are writing fantasy, contemporary, memoir or literary, your readers must be able to relate to the subject matter. So go ahead and make your characters blue and able to shoot poison darts from their fingernails, but be sure they've got teen angst or romance issues or problems fitting in at school or SOMETHING your readers will truly understand.
Pacing - This is especially important in children's books. Stories are competing for your reader's attention with interactive gaming and real time social media. Plus children are naturally more active, faster paced. The story must continually move forward or the child will become bored or easily distracted. There can be quiet moments in the book, that's a natural part of pacing, but the story still must be moving forward even during the quiet times. If a character is taking the time to reflect, they must be doing it in order to take the next step, not simply to take a breath.
Real emotions - Characters are the most alive when they experience all possible emotion. It is important for your reader to feel when the character is frustrated, inappropriately giddy, or apathetic. These things happen in real life. Readers can get a better idea of how to deal with their own emotions by watching their favorite characters work through it.
What are your thoughts about self-promotion, author platforms, and the ever-changing publishing world?
It is absolutely critical for all authors to have a platform from which to promote and to be actively involved in the promotion of their work. Okay, that said, how active is a really hard thing for me to define personally. I can spend far too much time obsessing over whether or not my books are 'out there' enough, which takes away from the time I should be spending writing new material. I know I'm not the only author with this challenge. I'll get myself in line and be balancing things well, and then suddenly the obsession hits again and I can't stop cyber stalking my poor books. I'm wondering if there is a support group. Though it's probably online, which really won't help.
Share what it's like working with your publisher(s).
The Weaver and The Wishing Well: Another Weaver Tale are with Guardian Angel Publishing and Save the Lemmings is from Featherweight Press. I really love working with small press publishers. The editing experience is personal, like a conversation. I have input on the covers. They've even made sure my books were available before my appearances. It is a true partnership.
My young adult super villain novel, King of Bad, will be published in 2013. Everybody loves a bad boy and when you're a super villain it's not only okay to be bad, it's expected.
Thank you so much for joining us, Kai!!
To find out more about Kai’s books, download companion documents, find links to her published short stories and discover all the places to find Kai both virtually and in person, visit her Website or blog Strands of Thought. She loves to hear from readers, so feel free to send her an email or visit her facebook page, Kai Strand, Author or on Twitter @KaiStrand.
Interested in being featured? Just click on one of the three links under Graffiti Promotions Submissions in my left sidebar.