|Kai interviewing readers for her |
Perhaps you expect my bio to tell you things about me, such as I hate to handle raw meat, I’m a wife and mother of four, a compulsive walker, and a Mozart fangirl. But since I have your attention, what I really want you to know is that I love that you read. Readers are smart, quick-witted, and usually good conversationalists—even if it’s only in their head. Introverts unite!
I write middle grade fiction because those are the most formative years of our lives. It’s when we are trying to claim our freedom, while still being restricted by rules. The things we learn in books can give us the skills to navigate that maze. I write young adult fiction because there are no limits to what message I share or how I share it. Plus young adult readers are some of the most passionate readers out there. I heart YA readers.
If you’d like an image of me as a writer, go ahead and picture me with my laptop in a quaint bookshop café, fingers flying over the keys while the words pour out of my fingertips. It’s much better than the real image of me in my pajamas with coffee breath, sinking into the me-sized crater in the couch, grumbling at my laptop when the words don’t come.
LQR: Tell our readers a little about you.
Kai: I was raised in Wisconsin and California. I’m raising my kids in Oregon. I’m addicted to pizza. I’ve accurately predicted two earthquakes.
LQR: If you had to pick only one moment that spurred you to write professionally, what moment is the most inciting?
Kai: The summer before my daughter went into fourth grade she and I plowed through the first four books in the Harry Potter series. When summer ended and I was left alone with my four year old during the day – eagerly awaiting the publication of HP book 5 – I started having Hogwarts withdrawals. So I decided to create a fantasy world of my own. It took me less than two months to write the 85,000 words of my first novel. But it took me nine years to get those words into a publishable order. It eventually became my middle grade fantasy novel, Beware of the White, and was my fourth published book.
LQR: Does the majority of your work focus around or within a single theme?
Kai: No. The only common thread is fiction. Other than that my published work consists of fantasy, contemporary, speculative fiction, romance, suspense, and paranormal
LQR: Tell us about your newest release.
Kai: I am super excited to have completed my Super Villain Academy series with the publication of the third book, Super Bad. I’ve also worked with my publisher to release a second edition of the first book in the series, King of Bad, with bonus material. I added two additional scenes to the story. The SVA series was so much fun to write. First of all, angsty teens with super powers? Fun! Second, it was a real study in not just the age-old theme of good vs. evil, but also the importance of both in our world. Finally, my publisher made a boxed set for those readers who like to wait until a series is complete and save some money in the process.
LQR: What is one of your favorite authorial moments from your career so far?
Kai: Honestly it happened at a funeral. I was hugging a girl whose grandfather had passed away and telling her I wish I could do more to help her through the pain of mourning. She said, “Write more. Seriously, your writing really helps.” It was such an unexpected time and place to receive a cheer for my writing that it has become one of the most memorable moments.
LQR: Share with us a five year and ten year goal for your writing career.
Kai: This has changed so drastically from last year! I seriously slowed down this year and focused on all things not writing. Up to now, I’ve published at least two books per year. Now I’ve decided to take my time with each new book and really shape the story. Of course I think my published work is awesome, but I want to always improve my writing. Give my readers more. Hence the new approach. So, five years and ten years from now, I hope to have more books out and I hope each book is the reader’s new favorite Kai Strand book.
LQR: Do you write what you read? Watch? What are your favorite television shows and movies?
Kai: I do and then some. Just like my writing is eclectic, so are my reading and television habits. I read mostly young adult fiction, but pepper in middle grade and adult fiction. I love to hop from a horror to a sweet romance to a mystery to an issues book. As far as television and movies, I eat up as many of the super hero themed entertainment as I can! Avengers, Thor, and Captain America (series) are my favorite Marvel movies. The kids and I watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I’m catching up on Flash on Netflix, and I’m hoping Super Girl will prove worth watching. It’s nice to get some DC in there. I wish Constantine had made it! Loved that show. But I watch other things too. Survivor, The Voice, Reign, GRIMM, football, and local news.
LQR: If you had one week away from any and all responsibility what would you want to spend your time doing?
Kai: I would want it to be on a warm beach, with cabana boys, umbrella drinks and a fully stocked Kindle. NO social media anywhere in site, but someone back home keeping it going for me so I didn’t have to virtually start over again when I returned home.
LQR: Anything else you’d like to add?
Kai: I’m so grateful to the Lightning Quick Reads authors for taking this journey with me this year. It has been a real growth experience for my writing and I hope each author has gotten at least one benefit from it. And I’d like to thank the readers. Writing is most satisfying for an author when their work is in the hands of a reader. I hope you have found a new favorite author or two (I have!)
LQR: Where can readers find you online?
Kai: Oh so many places! Pick your poison:www.kaistrand.com|Mailing List| Facebook| Twitter| Instagram|Amazon