Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Q&A with Kai Strand

Thanks so much for having me. 2015 has been an exciting year in my writing career. In March, I released a YA romantic suspense, Finding Thor. Heart stopping action, heart palpitating romance, jewel thieves and royalty. Edge of your seat type stuff. In May, Super Bad, the final book in my Super Villain Academy series, released. It offers super charged emotion, super powered battles, and super big decisions to make. Then to add even more excitement to the SVA series, the second edition of King of Bad (SVA, book 1) released on September 17th, with bonus material!

Welcome to Books in the Hall, Kai. Push over a pile and tell us -- why YA fiction? What draws you to it?

I write it for the same reason I read it.


What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

I would love to have known then what I know now. Your status in the high school hierarchy, your hair/makeup/outfit being perfect everyday, the popularity factor of your friends – none of that matters the day after you step out of high school! So don’t turn your back on doing what you love just because it isn’t viewed as cool. Don’t turn your back on a person you like just because they aren’t cool (especially because they aren’t cool!) Spend all that time and energy discovering what you truly love and the person you really want to be.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

This is pretty horrible to admit, but I always have a Thoreau book on my nightstand. Usually a collection of his works. I love his voice, his views on life and nature, but his tendency to be verbose and endlessly speculative is great for lulling me to sleep if I’m keyed up when I crawl into bed.

Hunger Games or Twilight? Why?

I enjoyed both. Twilight has this strange addictive quality for me so that if I re-read one book, I must plow my way through the series. However, both Bella and Katniss drive me nuts. I can’t tell you how many times I yell OUT LOUD at them. But in the end, Hunger Games is a better story. I used to have a book rating system that I posted on my blog and HG was my first Rock Concert rating (equivalent to a 5 star).

Ideal summer vacation.

Somewhere warm, but not too hot, in a secluded cabin or beach house. Where we can explore the natural setting in the mornings (wander along the beach, hike the mountain trails, climb through lava fields, anything will do.) Relax with my feet up and a book in my hands in the afternoons, while the sun heats my skin and the breeze cools it down. And because we are without television, we’d enjoy family game time in the evenings and maybe tell a ghost story or two.

Favorite pizza toppings.

Pizza is my favorite food. One reason is because you can make it seem new everyday just by changing its toppings. Though I love a gourmet pizza with garlic white sauce, chicken, spinach and mushroom, or a seafood pizza with shrimp, scallops, and green onion, my all time favorite is pretty boring: pepperoni, Italian sausage, red onion, mushrooms and lots and lots of cheese. The greasier, the better.

You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

My beautiful, brave sister is in the fight of her life battling cancer. She’s just begun what will be almost a full year of treatments; chemo/radiation, surgery, more chemo, and more surgery. Her prognosis is good and she’s got lots of emotional support. But even with insurance, it’s bloody expensive. It seems insulting that she should have to endure such pain AND financial strife at the same time. So I’d gladly give it all to her if it would ease her mind and allow her to concentrate on getting better.

Who was your teenaged crush? Why?

They were always real people. Not that celebrities aren’t real people, but I always had crushes and it was always on people I knew. It’s like my crushes gave me the incentive to show up – to school, to work, to the gym, wherever. Just to see him across the room, or maybe even exchange a greeting, my crush was often my reason to go. And though I’d pine for him when we were parted and my pulse would hammer and I’d end up with a full body flush whenever he was around, I was always too shy to do anything about it, so beyond my besties, no one ever knew. But I remember every single one of them. *Le sigh*

Favorite class in high school. Why?

Creative Writing of course! At the time I didn’t even have aspirations of becoming a writer. I just loved that the teacher liked my work and often used it as an example in her classes.

Cara Cassidy always envisioned love as Thor, slamming his hammer into the earth, and the vibration resonating within her for a lifetime. She never expected love would be a thousand tiny actions from a normal boy. When international intrigue hits small-town America, more than the car chases will get your blood pumping.

It’s hard to be good, when it’s so much fun to be bad.

About the author:
When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and a short story blog, Lightning Quick Reads, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website,

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