Hello again! I have another great blog for you today – a guest author, Krysten Lindsay Hager. She is here to tell us about the last book in one of her series, Landry’s True Colors Series. And she will be giving away a signed copy of a book from her other series, Competing with the Star. So, without further ado, let’s get to the interview…
Welcome to my blog! First, Krysten, tell us a little about your novel.
Landry in Like is about a fourteen year old girl who is dealing with frenemies, mean girls, anxiety, and having her first boyfriend. Landry is now getting the opportunity to do TV interviews because of being on an Internet reality show competition, but while it looks impressive to be doing those shows, she’s not getting a lot of modeling jobs so she feels insecure. High school is around the corner and that’s making her nervous as well—especially as she sees one of her best friends, Ashanti, hanging out more and more with a new group of girls on the cheer squad.
This is the 3rd book in the Landry’s True Colors Series and I have gotten such an amazing response from readers in my inbox. It’s so rewarding to hear from girls and mothers who say how Landry has helped them (or their daughters) deal with their anxiety or come to a parent with an issue their having at school or dealing with grief and stress. Just recently a grandparent told me her granddaughter was able to finally share how much her grandpa’s death had impacted her after reading about Ashanti losing her grandma in the book. This reader had internalized everything that happened at her grandpa’s funeral and for months she was acting different and her parents just chalked it up to growing up. She read the section where Landry’s own mother shares she gets uncomfortable going to funeral homes and saw that Ashanti and Landry were open about being uncomfortable and she finally felt like it was okay to admit that. She had been holding onto those feelings for months and it was like a weight lifted off her shoulders.
Wow! How wonderful to have readers responding so positively. And walking away with so much! What was the inspiration for Landry in Like?
In this book I wanted to show how Landry had grown as a character as she dealt with more challenges. In the first book, True Colors, it’s hard for Landry to stand up for herself as it is for many of us. As the series progresses, Landry is learning to appreciate her differences and accept who she is and not try to be someone she’s not. While the other girls are into this teen dance club, she realizes that’s just not her scene and she’d rather be at home playing video games with friends and baking cupcakes and sleepovers. At first she thinks she must be uncool to not be comfortable at the club, but she finally tells her friends and boyfriend that she’s not into that place and finds out one of her best friends isn’t either and that her boyfriend respects her more for being honest and being herself. I think this book really showcases how accepting yourself and being okay with who you are is so freeing.
Wonderful message. You seem so natural at putting out your themes and messages…that is, your readers are picking them up rather well. Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?
When I was in first grade I wanted to create a soap opera—a whole world where I came up with the setting, characters, and plot. Looking back I realize that I knew I wanted to be a writer, but that I didn’t quite understand the relationship between creating these worlds and writing books. So I’m pretty much living out the dream I had since I was a child.
While I’ve always enjoyed writing, doing this as a career was not something I thought of as a child. I’m a bit later to the game. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?
Take literature classes, even as non-credit classes. It will help you so much in putting together a novel and learning about theme, etc. I took extra lit classes in college as both an undergraduate and as a grad student. I actually extending my time in school to do that because it was so beneficial in helping me write. I would recommend that more than anything.
Like those classes, I know that reading helps authors, too. So much of what we know about writing is intuitive. (Not that we don’t need to stretch those craft muscles in classes or at conferences.) What are you currently reading?
I just finished Autumn Falls. I’m reading Lysa TerKeurst’s Unglued right now with a group of friends.
I just finished one of TerKeurst’s books. She’s fabulous! I get in the mood for writing by developing/listening to a playlist. What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?
I don’t listen to music as I write, but I listen to it before and during brainstorming and daydreaming sessions. I always post playlists for my books on my website. Here are 2 of my latest book playlists:
For Landry in Like: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/landry-in-like-playlist.html
For Competing with the Star: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/competing-with-the-star-playlist.html
Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?
I like to write in the evenings and very early morning. I either write in my office or living room. I’m not the kind of person who can write in a coffee shop, but if I’m on a road trip, I can often write in the car. It’s weird, I don’t like music playing when I’m writing at home, but it doesn’t bother me if I’m in the car writing.
I’m the same way about writing in the car. Long road trip, here I come! But I do find, for me, I’m more productive in a coffee shop than in my office. Maybe I should rethink my office arrangement…
Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?
In March I will have a young adult book coming out called, Dating the It Guy, which is about a teen girl named Emme who starts dating a popular guy from a very prominent political family and how it throws her life out of balance. It’s funny, sweet, romantic, and heartbreaking. I’m also working on a new adult novel and another YA one.
Again, Krysten, thank you so much for being on my blog today. Landry’s True Colors Series sounds great and I look forward to hearing more about it…
Landry’s True Colors Series
Then the most beautiful sound in the world came along—the final bell. I grabbed my bag and rushed out the door to my locker, where I ran into Reagan O’Hara, Nick’s gorgeous ex-girlfriend. “Watch where you’re going, spaz,” she said, glaring at me. “Exactly where are you in such a hurry to get to anyway? I can’t imagine that you’d have plans.”
I could have said, “Off to meet my boyfriend, you know, the guy you used to badmouth me to,” but no, I took the high road and said, “Excuse me,” and kept going.
“Whatever, loser,” she said. My shoulders tensed. As I tried to ignore her and tell myself it was just jealousy, I couldn’t pretend that her words didn’t hurt. I had been considered kind of a loser at my old school in Goodacre. I had had one super close best friend who I did everything with, Lexi Irvin, and when she moved to Dallas, it was as if I had been abandoned. So yeah, I had felt like a complete loser in Goodacre, but now I was here in Grand Haven, with new friends and a new positive outlook on life. I had a new best friend, Charlotte Lidstrom, and had become friends with former teen TV star Simone Hendrickson and her best friend, Asia Milanowski.
It could be intimidating hanging out with Simone since she was popular, pretty, and famous. Sometimes I felt invisible next to her, and unfortunately, hanging with Simone sometimes meant spending time with people like Reagan or Simone’s other friends, Pilar Ito and Morgan Kemp. Morgan was the ultimate mean girl. I swear, even if she told me she loved my outfit and was hooked up to a lie detector test saying she was telling the truth, I still wouldn’t want to risk it and I’d go home and change. But today I was not going to worry about Morgan, Reagan, or any of that. I was just going to focus on my first date with Nick…Until I rounded the corner and ran into Simone, who was waiting for me at my locker with Morgan and Pilar.
“Hey, Hadley,” Simone said. “Wanted to return your lucky bracelet. Let’s hope it helped me pass my math test.”
She handed me my heart and natural stone charm bracelet and I slid it on my wrist. Morgan looked down at my hands and made a face.
“Why are you wearing such dark nail polish?” she asked me.
My face got warm. “I thought the color was pretty when I saw it in the store. I’ve never seen this shade of purple with so much blue in it.”
“Guys aren’t into weird nail polish colors,” Morgan said as she fluffed her long curly blonde hair with her red polished fingers.
Great, so even my nail polish was wrong. Could I do anything right?
“Here comes Nick,” Pilar said, and the girls all got quiet.
“Hey, guys,” he said, coming up and nodding at them. I started to curl my fingers under so he wouldn’t notice my dark polish—the color that up until a few minutes ago I thought was unique and beautiful was now making me feel like a little oddball.
“Cool color,” Nick said.
“I like the blue. It’s very you,” he said, and then he reached over and intertwined his fingers with mine. Take that, you dark nail polish haters.
“So are we all heading over to Scoops together?” he asked.
Simone played with a strand of her long blonde hair, but didn’t say a thing.
“Yup, we thought we’d go over with you guys,” Morgan said, smiling up at him with her gleaming white teeth.
Wait, what? No, not cool. This was our first date and I knew I’d feel awkward talking to him around a group—a group judging me on what I said, did, and apparently even the colors I wore.
More about Krysten
Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Next Door to a Star, Landry in Like, and Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2). Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book. Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek News, the Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton.
Connect with Krysten and her books
Now that you’ve been introduced to Krysten Lindsay Hager and her writing, she would like to offer a giveaway! A SIGNED copy of the second book in her Star Series, Competing with the Star.
Just comment on this blog post to be entered to win the book. The winner’s name will be drawn from that pool. Entries will be accepted until Monday, January 16, 2017 at 11:59 pm.