Monday, August 04, 2014

Indie Author Interview: Krysten Lindsay Hager

Indie Author Interview with Krysten Lindsay Hager - Author of the Young Adult Fiction Novel True Colors .

Krysten Lindsay Hager is an Amazon Bestselling author and book addict. She's worked as a journalist and humor writer, and writes middle grade, YA, and adult fiction.

Interview with Krysten Lindsay Hager

Author Krysten Lindsay Hager
Author Krysten Lindsay Hager
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
Krysten Lindsay Hager: I have a degree in English and got my master’s in American Culture. I have been writing stories since I was a kid and have also worked as a journalist. I have written essays, short stories, novels, news, and features. I was lucky enough to have great professors at the University of Michigan-Flint who supported my writing and encouraged me.

Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
Some of my favorite writers are: F. Scott Fitzgerald, May Sarton (I enjoy her journals in particular), Sylvia Plath, Edith Wharton, Paula Danziger, Betsy Haynes, Erika Tamar, Leo Tolstoy, Cathy Hopkins, Slavenka Drakulic, Cathy Cassidy, and Judy Blume.
I love Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, but I really got into his essays. I enjoy The Crack-Up because of Fitzgerald’s honesty, his beauty with phrasing, and his humor. It’s a very raw piece of writing—his ego is still there, but it’s bruised and that vulnerability really comes out.
One of my favorite books is Frida’s Bed by Slavenka Drakulic. It’s a fictionalized version of the artist, Frida Kahlo’s, life. It is completely gripping as you see how Frida dealt with the constant physical pain she had as result of an accident (and illness) and how it impacted her artwork as well as her personal life.
One of my favorite YA books is Good-bye, Glamour Girl by Erika Tamar. I read this for the first time the summer after 5th grade. It’s a coming of age story about a girl whose family escaped Europe during WWII and she is trying to assimilate in America.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
I used to make up story-lines for my dolls when I was little. When I got a little older, I started writing little stories in school—always in math class. My character, Landry, says her math grades stink because she’s always daydreaming in math and I was the exact same way.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
My mom likes to remind me how I won my first writing contest in the first grade. It was a “Name the Teddy Bear” contest and for some reason it was open to all the grades. Somehow my essay won. I still remember my opening line was, “We should name the bear Taffy because he’s sweet like candy.” I know, my genius and originality just leaps off the page, doesn’t it?

"I edit as I go."

Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?
I don't outline or plot ahead of time, but I always start out by editing to get back into the story. A lot of writers don't edit until they are done with the first draft, but I edit as I go. I can’t imagine waiting until the end to go back into the story.

Please, describe your desk/workplace.
My husband bought me a beautiful cherry wood desk when we first moved back to the United States. We had been living overseas in Portugal and the desk I had there was so small that I ended up using the dining room table for my writing. Finally getting my own desk was an amazing thing. I always have my Great Gatsby mug full of pens, a tiny Virginia Woolf doll that I feel helps me edit, and a notebook filled with my illegible handwriting right next to my laptop.

"I’m one of the few writers who enjoys the editing process."

What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?
I’m one of the few writers who enjoys the editing process. I like to get back into the story and smooth out the edges and feel the scene again. The hardest part is doing a total rewrite and trying to figure which parts to take out and which parts to leave in the story. That is so frustrating. It feels like hitting a brick wall.

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When the story flows and I start to see little hidden meanings and coincidences interwoven through the plot. I also keep a special board on Pinterest called, “Little Signs,” where I pin anything that pops up that way. I’d also have to say hearing that other people really got into a piece I’ve written is an amazing feeling. My husband told me his friend’s daughter had already began re-reading TRUE COLORS because she was so into the story. That reminded me of how I used to do that with my favorite books. That was the greatest joy right there.

Krysten, please tell us a little about your Young Adult Fiction True Colors.
My main character, Landry Albright, is thirteen going on fourteen and she just wants to be one of the interesting girls at school who always have exciting things going on in their lives. She wants to stand out, but also wants to fit in, so she gives in when her two best friends, Ericka and Tori, push her into trying out for a teen reality show modeling competition with them. Landry goes in nervous, but impresses the judges enough to make it to the next round. However, Ericka and Tori get cut and basically "unfriend" her on Monday at school. Landry tries to make new friends, but gets caught up between wanting to be herself and conforming to who her new friends want her to be. Along the way she learns that modeling is nowhere as glamorous as it seems, how to deal with frenemies, a new crush, and that true friends see you for who you really are and like you because of it.

True Colors (Krysten Lindsay Hager)
Click to Read an Excerpt

What inspired you to write the book?
I started writing the story because I think the things Landry goes through—dealing with friends who aren’t really in her corner, girls taking behind her back, trying to fit in, and losing your sense of identity to try to fit in—are very universal. They are things we all face while growing up. It’s difficult enough to deal with not feeling supported or even left out, but when those negative feelings come from people you considered good friend? It just hurts all the more. I think the book deals with themes that hit home with everyone no matter what the age or background. I used to like to read about girls I could relate to and I hope someone reads TRUE COLORS and feels a little less alone in the world.

"[...] anyone who enjoys funny stories about friendships, frenemies, and middle school drama."

Who do you see as your target audience and where can we buy the book?
Tweens, teens, and anyone who has ever wanted to fit it and just be noticed, but still wanted to fade into the background just a little bit. Pretty much anyone who enjoys funny stories about friendships, frenemies, and middle school drama. The book is available at Amazon, B&N and others (see Links below).

What makes your book special?
I think the humor and the fact my focus is on friendships and also on how young girls get mixed messages from social media on what they’re supposed to look like, act like, etc. In True Colors, Landry is a huge fan of Talisa Milan, the model who won the American Ingénue contest. But as Landry reads more about her, she learns that Talisa is not just a pretty face and is more of a business woman—something that is true of a lot of models. I know as a kid that seeing a lot of magazine images (I grew up in the age of the Supermodels and did a little modeling myself) made me feel like I had to be picture perfect at all times and have the right outfit and I wanted to show what modeling can really be like when you’re starting out. There’s a scene in the book where Landry goes to do a fashion show and it’s not how she pictured it at all.

"Focus on the story [...]"

Can you give some advice for other Authors regarding the writing process?

Focus on the story and what you can give your audience instead of what you can get out of it. Take your ego out of it because it shows when you approach your work with pure intentions of just telling a good story.

"My characters don’t always do what I want them to do"

Do you listen or talk to your characters?
My characters don’t always do what I want them to do, but I had a great creative writing instructor, Thomas Foster , who wrote, “How to Read Novels like a Professor,” and he told me, “Listen to your characters. Let them tell you what they want to do.” That was groundbreaking for me. Sometimes you have to get out of your own way and let them tell you what they want to do.

Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
I’m working on a follow up to TRUE COLORS that picks up right where the first book left off with Landry getting off the train with her mom to meet her dad. There’s a scene with Landry dealing with makeup counter salespeople in it that leaves her shrinking back and feeling self-conscious and I think every woman will relate to it. We also see her going to a high school orientation and feeling out of her element and dealing with her relationship with Vladi, the basketball player she meets.

"We need to support our bookstores—especially the independent ones [...]"

Where do you see the book market in 5 or 10 years? Will there be only eBooks and will book stores disappear like record stores disappeared?
I pray bookstores do not disappear. I have an appreciate for eBooks, but nothing beats walking into a bookstore and seeing all the new books you wouldn’t know existed if you didn’t see them on the shelves. I often wonder how people are finding out about great independent films with the lack of video stores out there. I’d hate to miss out on lesser known authors due to a lack of bookstores to support them. We need to support our bookstores—especially the independent ones that door so much for writers.

What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle—a very basic one since I just use it for reading and my main objective was for it to be easy on the eyes. The screen really does look like a paper book and I love that you can make the font bigger. Oddly, I will buy a print copy and an eBook of the same story. I have several books where I have done that. I like to have both.

Do you write full-time or do you have a day job? When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I still freelance. I love to read and I have a bunch of “can’t miss” TV shows. I have moved a lot, so staying in touch with friends is important to me. One thing I do with a couple of my friends is watch TV shows or games on TV at the same time and we Facebook chat or text about it. It’s more fun when you have someone to chat with while you watch and a great way to keep in touch.

How can readers connect with you?
Book Trailer:
Amazon author profile:

Thank you very much for the Interview, Krysten.

About the Book True Colors

True Colors (Krysten Lindsay Hager)
Click to Read an Excerpt
Landry Albright gets pushed into trying out for the American Ingénue reality show modeling competition with her two best friends. She doesn't think she stands a chance, but she advances to the next level in the competition and her friends ignore her when they get cut.

Enter the gorgeous Devon, who also makes the first cut and includes Landry in her clique. Devon becomes the perfect best friend, but can their friendship survive the competition?
Landry hopes her big break could come at any moment, but soon sees there's much more to modeling than just getting your hair done and looking pretty. She begins missing out on being with new friends like Ashanti, a girl who truly has Landry's back. Landry also has the chance to have a boyfriend when she meets a boy named Vladi from another school.

Part of Landry wants to be famous (and have her hair look good for once), but part of her just wants to be accepted. She learns about friendships, being true to yourself, and that a good hair conditioner doesn't hurt.

- "My high school and middle school daughters read this and so did I. We loved it. I enjoyed the positive messages while the girls could relate to some of the situations the main character ends up in. Well done." - Reader Review

"Krysten Lindsay Hager understands what it means to be a teen today, and she writes with an authentic voice. Landry, the main character, is funny, lively, and very real. Readers will relate to her struggles with friends and family, self-esteem and self-discovery, boys and school and life in general" - Reader Review

Links to the Book

Link to the eBook True Colors on Barnes & Noble

Link to the eBook True Colors on Smashwords

Link to the eBook True Colors on Kobo

Link to the eBook True Colors on iTunes

Link to the eBook True Colors with Excerpt on Amazon - UK

Link to the eBook True Colors with Excerpt on Amazon - US

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