Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Publication Date: July 1, 2013
Order Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Whiskey Cress Press
Author Bio: Kai Strand writes fiction for kids and teens. Her debut novel, The Weaver, was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC eBook Awards. As a mother of four young adults her characters are well researched and new stories are inspired daily. Kai is a compulsive walker, addicted to pizza and a Mozart fangirl. Visit her website for more information about her work and to find all her virtual haunts; www.kaistrand.com.
Interview: Q. Please tell us about your current release.
King of Bad: Super Villain Academy Book 1 -
Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA.
He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?
Q. How did writing this book affect you?
It exhausted me. It was my first (and so far only) attempt at NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) happens every November. Brave and slightly deranged souls take on the challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. I had outlined a different novel so that I was all ready to write – which is funny, because I never outline. I woke up November 1st and suddenly started writing about super villains. It was crazy! For the next thirty days I took my laptop to work with me and wrote on my lunch hour, I took it to my daughter’s volleyball practices and shunned all the social parents while I typed and typed and typed. It was painful, but in the end I had a novel. A very messy novel that needed major revisions (hence why I haven’t done NaNo since), but a novel nonetheless.
Q. Can you tell us about the journey that led you to writing?
It is interesting when you look back at the steps you take in life to bring you to where you currently stand and my writing is one of those interesting connect the dots journeys. As lame as it sounds, I learned how powerful writing is in 5th grade when the teacher chose my story to display in the hall during open house. Seeing parents I didn’t even know stop to read my Blunder Day story sparked something inside me. Then in high school my Creative Writing teacher frequently used my papers as examples for the class. She’d cover my name before making copies, but I knew how many of my stories were being shared and that fanned the flames. And then an innocent comment made by a gal in my Toastmasters group years later is what clinched it for me. Toastmasters is an organization that helps you develop your public speaking skills. That day I had given a persuasive speech about The Power of Words during which several people teared up with emotion. Afterward a gal came up to me and said, “Your kids are so lucky to have a storyteller like you for a mom.” Talk about the power of words! I got chills when she said that and realized that I should be writing down all the stories I tell my kids.
Q. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Editing: the bane of my existence. Just the part when I’m working on my own. The creative juices that flow during the first draft are dried up and the tedious job of cutting and trimming and choosing the right word bores the heck out of me. Once my critique partners and later an editor get involved it livens back up again. I love when someone makes me see a scene from a different angle and helps open my mind to other possible ways to develop character or strengthen plot.
Q. Do you have a musical playlist you listen to while writing? If so, what kind of music?
The only music I can listen to while writing is classical; instrumental, definitely no lyrics. Mozart is my favorite, but even that becomes too familiar and I start humming along or directing the orchestra. I love, love, love music so it is way too distracting for me to have on while I’m writing. The funny thing is the family, television or even books on c.d. can all be living in the room around me while I write and I can block all of that out. Except Harry Potter. I can never ignore Harry.
Q. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I am the most quirk-less person you’ll ever meet. Boring, I know. As a fiction writer I could make something up, but I’m also one of the most honest people you’ll ever meet. No quirks that I’m aware of.
Q. Do you plan any subsequent books?
Oh heck yeah! I’ve already finished the second book in the Super Villain Academy series. There will be three. I’m finishing up another young adult that I like to say is a cross between National Treasure and Wuthering Heights. I also write middle grade and just released the first book in a Narnia-like fantasy series. I plan to write a novella in that series next. Like most writers I can’t write all the ideas I have fast enough.
Q. What are you currently reading?
At this moment I have taken a break from the big blockbuster young adult novels to concentrate on my fellow small press authors and self published authors. So I’m reading and plan to read Leaf and the Sky of Fire by Jo Marshall, Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift by Elise Stokes, Joshua’s Tree by NW Harris and Elixir Bound by Katie Carroll.
Q. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have a hard time classifying someone as a favorite, because it seems to change from day to day, but I sustain fond memories of works by J.K. Rowling because of her characterization. We know more about a character in the first six sentences of their introduction than most authors show in an entire book! Jonathan Stroud’s djinn, Bartimaeus is one of the funniest characters I’ve read. Maggie Stiefvater’s writing is so lyrical and beautiful.
Q. Please tell us your latest news (book-related or not!).
I recently made the very frightening decision to be a full time writer! Now I’m going to have to make this work. Please help!
Q. Please tell us a fun-fact about yourself!
One of my molars grew in sideways (turned east to west instead of north to south, per se) and another tooth just never grew in. This is fun because whenever I tip my mouth open at the dentist office the person cleaning my teeth always remarks on the oddity of it and then invites all the other employees over to take a gander. Fun for them…not really for me as Mr. Slurpy does overtime sucking up my drool.
Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Would gushing messages of adoration be too much? I seriously love readers and hope they find a mutual love in my writing. After all, I’m devoted full time to pleasing them now! Check out my website, www.kaistrand.com. Cyber stalk me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest – all those links can be found on my website.
Thanks for having me!