Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Interview with Kai Strand

Today we're talking with a wonderful author, Kai Strand. She's here to chat with us about her novel, SAVE THE LEMMINGS.

Welcome to We Do Write. Tell us a bit about yourself.

First and foremost, I'm a wife and the mother of four. That's the funnest and most important stuff I do. Beyond that, I write fiction for kids and teens, I'm a compulsive walker and a Mozart fangirl.

How long have you been writing?

I've enjoyed writing most of my life. I decided to pursue publication about nine years ago.

Tell us about SAVE THE LEMMINGS. What’s the story about?

About the book: 8th grade inventor, Natalie Isabelle Cailean Edwards is the N.I.C.E. girl who finishes last with the kids in school. Sappy inspirational phrases and monochromatic outfits have all but her best friends wrinkling their nose at her. When Natalie’s invention, the Texty-Talky, goes nationwide, she becomes an overnight sensation. Suddenly her days consist of photo shoots and interviews with little time left for her friends. A local reporter shatters her good-girl image by reporting a graffiti incident and the media launches into a smear campaign. It is so bad, even her friends start to believe the stories. Will Natalie be able to overcome the lies being printed about her?

One of the take-aways I hope kids get from Lemmings is that it's important to know who you are and hold on tight to that - even if who you are isn't who the world wants you to be.

How did the idea of the story come to you?

It formed in my subconscious while I slept one night. I woke in the wee hours one morning with a fully formed idea for a book. Problem was I was sleeping on the couch in a hotel room at the time and my sisters were in the bedroom. As quietly as possible, I slipped my laptop out of its bag, powered it up and typed like the wind to capture the idea before the sun rose and it disintegrated.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I've belonged to the same critique group for many years! I love my critters. Not only do they give great input to my work, but they keep me sane. This business is tough on your psyche and if it weren't for them I would have given up ages ago.

Are you a planner or a pantser?

I'm a pantser. I've tried being a planner, but the act of typing out the outline saps my creative juices on the story. So, in order to keep things straight, I create a 'facts' document as I go. That way if I need to remember a middle name or hair color later, I'm not paging through 50K words trying to find where I first mentioned it.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Editing. Again, it's because the creative juices have been consumed and I'm left with an empty cup. Though, it's only the first edits that make me want to pull out my hair - the ones I do by myself. I enjoy working with the input from my critique group and I love working with editors. I think it's because they breathe new life into the story.

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Internet for dictionary.com or a thesaurus. I prefer internet because then I can do spontaneous fact checking too. But I have to have a thesaurus available at all times.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Ooo, this is a tough one for me. My young adult book, King of Bad, scheduled to release next year is about super villains. Needless to say I really love imagining life with super powers. However, in my less dramatic life, I think teleportation would kick some serious time management butt. Not only would it free up more time to write (not having to drive or walk places) but it would allow me to visit libraries and classrooms across the country. Uh oh, I'm drooling.

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

Funny you should ask this! Recently we had a local court case where the defense subpoenaed the victims Google records. The judge denied the request, but the fact that they requested it became a nationwide story and the victim ended up on the Today show talking about her case. I have to say when that story broke, I kind of freaked out. If my google records were ever admitted in court, people would think I'm either very scatterbrained (WWF wrestling, popular girl baby names in 1887, tabloid headlines) or they'd think I needed to be committed (what feeds electricity that can be found in muscles, images of Tonganese men, pediatric brain cancer)!

Oh yeah, I'd definitely be in trouble if someone got a hold of my search records.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: lemonade,
lemmings, and liturgy.

My daily liturgy of lemmings takes place on a cliff overlooking the Arctic Ocean and includes a cup of hot, spiced lemmingade. (Couldn't resist!)

LOL! Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ...

walking. I walk about 60 miles or 18 hours a month.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

This is great! Thanks for this.

My bestie for cheering me on.
My extended family for the love and the 'Woots.'
My friends for suggesting my books to their friends.
My kids for listening to my stories again and again.
My husband for believing in me more than I do!
My publishers for taking a chance on me.

And finally, where can people find you and your books online?

My website is kaistrand.com and it has info about my books, downloadable companion documents, buy links for print and electronic versions. It has links to my short stories - many are FREE! It has info about my upcoming publications.
I'm on Twitter (@KaiStrand) and Facebook (Kai Strand, Author)
and I blog at Strands of Thought

Thanks for stopping by and chatting with us today, Kai! Your books all sound amazing, and I wish you lots of success.

Thanks for letting me visit with you and your readers, Dorothy! It's been so much fun.


Kai Strand, Author said...

Oh my gosh, how fun it is to visit you and your beautiful blog, Dorothy. Thanks again for hosting me.

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Pleasure having you, Kai! Your books all sound amazing. :)