Mymcbooks Interview with Author Kai Strand
Kai Strand writes fiction for children and young adults. Her debut title, The Weaver is a finalist in theEPICeBook Awards. Her second title, Save The Lemmings! will be released in 2012. She has published several short stories, a list of links to current stories can be found on her website. For more information about Kai and her writing, visit http://www.kaistrand.com/About_Me.html
Kai Strand is the author of The Weaver
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog
What is the last book you read?
I just finished Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick. A young adult dystopian. Right before that was Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver. A middle grade ghost story. It sounds like I read a lot of darker fiction, but that was just a fluke. I do read a lot though.
What was your favorite children’s book?
The Little Mermaid and The Steadfast Tin Soldier by Hans Christian Anderson were favorite picture books of mine. Blubber by Judy Blume was top on the tween list.
What were your earliest memories of writing?
“Blunder Day” was a class assignment for 5th grade. Mine was one of those chosen to be displayed in the hall during open house, complete with my school picture. That was when I fell in love with entertaining people with words.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?
I think storytelling comes naturally. My grandmother used to enthrall me with her stories and I always wanted to be that captivating. The craft of writing the stories is something I continually work to improve.
Are you working on a new book?
In the middle grade range I am working on a story of friendship and loss. It is very emotional and kind of personal. But I believe it will be a beautiful story when it is done. I also write young adult and I am currently working on the second book in a series about super villains. A very fun series to write.
What inspired you to writeThe Weaver and how did you come up with each character?
I belong to an online critique group called Silver Web. One day the name made me think, “We weave stories like a spider weaves a web.” And we are all good at it, which can be intimidating at times. So then I wondered, “What if we all lived in the same town and told stories well? What happens when one person isn’t as good as the rest?”
What was your reaction when you found out that The Weaver was a finalist in the EPIC eBook Award in the children’s category?
I was thrilled! It really is astounding for me to realize after reading all the entries, the judges chose to pass The Weaver through as a finalist. How incredible is that?
What is the most difficult part of writing?
Editing my own story is the most difficult part for me. I absolutely love the creation phase and sometimes don’t mind the first pass of editing. But after that I tend to get caught up in the story and forget to pay attention to the work part. I have to do things like edit from the end of the story to the beginning and record myself reading it. I’m hopeless with punctuation!
Do you write full time or do you still have a day job?
I was laid off of my day job last year, so I’m writing fuller time while job hunting. In a perfect world my writing income will replace my wages and I’ll get to stay home. However, I’m realistic and know that doesn’t happen for most writers.
How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
There is a lot of negativity online. Mostly I’ve noticed it in the comments sections of blog posts or online articles. I try to value a person’s input without getting pulled into the snarkiness (I’m sure that’s a word!) If a review is respectful, but the reader simply didn’t connect with the story, I’m totally okay with that. I’m always sorry if someone didn’t enjoy my writing, but I know that is why there are SO many authors writing in varied genres. Because there are that many different readers, too.
I have suffered from writer’s block. One of the best cures (for me) is to read a book on the craft of writing. It inspires me to get those fingers limbered up and apply the technique.
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book?
First I hope they simply get swept into the story so that they don’t even realize there is a take away. But in the end, the take away is persistence. Accomplishments often follow a lot of hard work.
Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with?
I’d love to dine with J.K. Rowling and pick her brain on how she manages to let her reader get to know a new character is one sentence. I’d love to discuss Bartimeaus with Jonathan Stroud. That djinn is the funniest character around. I’d love to discover how Maggie Stiefvater manages to write lyrically and with a contemporary voice at the same time. Plus, she’s cuter than a kitten, who wouldn’t love to dine with her?
What author inspires you the most and why?
There isn’t one author but an entire community that inspires me to continue writing. The children’s publishing industry is full of generous, caring, sharing individuals. Writers, illustrators, bloggers, editors, agents, publicists…you name it. They are there and they share. It’s remarkable really. I’m so proud of their successes and it inspires me to strive for more.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
Two things, really.
1) Just do the hard work.
2) If you’re going to do it, always do your best. Otherwise it’s a waste of your time.
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?
Just like with a child’s social life, a parent should be involved. Get to know more about the authors they are reading by visiting their websites or facebook pages. Best of all, read the books yourself. Educate your child on what content is appropriate so that they can make good decisions when you aren’t available. I LOVE when my kids’ friends tell me they aren’t allowed to watch PG13 movies or read books with teenaged themes like serious dating.
What advice would you give to new writers?
1) Love what you do. Know the business end of writing, but don’t forget the passion that inspired you to start.
2) Don’t write in a box. Critique groups or partners are crucial to growing your writing skill and keeping your sanity.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
I’m excited about my next book release, SAVE THE LEMMINGS! Scheduled to release in March.
When Natalie’s Texty-Talky invention makes her an overnight sensation, the media digs until they find a way to smear her goody-goody image. When her best friends start believing what they read, Natalie’s sunny spirit is pushed to its limits. How will Natalie stop the lies and win her friends back? And who will SAVE THE LEMMINGS?
I hope your readers will visit my website, www.kaistrand.com to learn more about my writing, download fun The Weaver related goodies and find where they can visit me online.
Thank you for this interview
Thanks for having me!
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My name is Ella Johnson. I started Mymcbooks to promote reading. As a former teacher, I know that making basic education fundamentals interesting to children can be challenging. Education can be fun, exciting and captivating for children with the right learning tools. So my goal is to “make learning interesting and fun” for the children while they learn, by introducing them to fun books with colorful and captivating illustrations.
In 2009, I start the giveaway program giving away free school supplies at random to 2 winners each year. I also started a monthly free giveaways for books and gifts.
August 2010, I extended the free school supplies from 2 to 5 winners at random on my blog and also give away 20 bags full of school supplies to familes in need at Chick-fil-A in Brandon, Florida during their family nights. And in 2012, I beat my that number and gave away a lot of school supplies to needy families. Hopefully, I can continue to do this each year.
In 2011, I started writing reviews on children’s books then giving these books away free on Mymcbooks Blog. I increase the number of books we giveaway free to help support parent. My goal is to give away as many as I can each year. This is also a great way to introduce parents to new books.
Mymcbooks blog is always looking for other ways to give kids free books. So I started Mymcbooks Birthday Library http://mymcbooksbirthdaylibrary.wordpress.com/
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Read Interview about Ella Johnson, http://melangeofcultures.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/interview-with-ella-johnson-founder-of-memorable-children-books-gifts/ Interviewer: Nicole Weaver
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