Joining us today is American author, Krysten Lindsay Hager. With a background in journalism, she’s always been on the writing path. We’ll find out why she made the change from journalism to writing young adult fiction and about her awesome young-adult books.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Krysten. So why did you decide to give up journalism for fiction writing?
What I loved about journalism was hearing about the people I interviewed and the background that was unique to them. However, I always loved writing my own stories, but all my life I heard that getting a book published was a pipe dream and that I should pursue journalism and write on the side. Then, I ended up moving overseas and I was still trying to freelance for a newspaper. It was getting more difficult to work from another country, so I decided to focus full-time on fiction. I moved back to the U.S. and decided to stick to working on my fiction and eventually I got a book contract.
Have you been inspired by any books or authors in particular?
Growing up, I read Judy Blume and many of the different series books that were popular at that time like Sweet Valley High and The Babysitters Club. F. Scott Fitzgerald is an inspiration to me in that he writes with such vulnerability.
Do you plot or pants your stories?
I’m pretty much a pantser, but now having a series I find that I do need to outline a bit. Outlining helps me to know where I’m going with each manuscript so that each novel can be read as a standalone book, but so it also keeps the story overlapping for fans who want to read all of the books in the series.
Do you sit down and talk to teens to keep in touch with their world before you write a book?
I do and find that so many of the issues stay the same over time. The technology changes, but the overall problems stay the same like: fitting in, self-image issues, worries about parents divorcing, bullying.
What’s the hardest thing about writing teen fiction?
For me it’s going back to dig up my own awkward and painful memories. I don’t relish reliving those times my friends froze me out and I had no clue what I did wrong or being betrayed when a good friend talked behind my back, or any insecure moment I experienced, but if I’m going to write realistic fiction, then I have to face those moments to make the books authentic.
Your website says you write ‘clean’ young adult fiction. Why did you decide to keep it totally clean, and is there any kind of exploration of romantic relationships in your series?
For my series, my character starts out in 8th grade, so it made sense to keep it clean as she’s a normal fourteen year old who is just trying to find her way in the world. My upcoming standalone novel would also be classified as clean as there is no harsh language or adult-like content. Both my series and my upcoming book have romance in them, just very sweet romances. I write the kind of books you can feel comfortable with giving your daughters, nieces, cousins, or reading with them.
Can you tell us about your series, ‘Landry’s True Color Series’?
The series is about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, modeling, crushes, and values. My main character, Landry Albright, is in eighth grade and dealing with finding her place in the world and trying to figure out who her real friends are and how to be herself. Along the way, she deals with trying out for a modeling reality show competition (and gets a few callbacks in modeling) and I present the modeling in a very realistic way so readers see it’s not at as glamourous as they might think. She deals with family situations and is trying to deal with a first crush/love. Landry is a very realistic character, and she also has a sense of humor, so it’s a funny series as well.
Your third book is out in September. Can you give us any hints on what it’s about?
My standalone book, Next Door to a Star, is about a high school girl named Hadley who goes to a lake resort town for the summer and moves in next door to a former teen TV star, named Simone. Hadley tries to fit in with Simone’s crowd and wants to be accepted, but soon sees the popular crowd isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Hadley also meets a boy and learns about true friendship. It’s funny as well and the kind of summer novel I loved to read when I was a teen.
That sounds like a great read!
How many books do you plan for your series?
I just finished writing book three in the Landry’s True Colors Series, and you’re the first to hear that! And I’ve already outlined a few other ideas, so I will be taking Landry into high school and we’ll see from there. I have ideas for several more books, so maybe 7 or 8 at this point.
Ooh, I love an exclusive! Congratulations! And wow, I bet your readers are going to be excited hearing there are quite a few more books to come.
Do you have a favorite character in your series?
Naturally, I love Landry, but I also have a soft spot for her two best friends: Peyton and Ashanti. Peyton is a character composite of friends I’ve had over the years, and Ashanti is the best friend I would have wanted to have at that age. Both girls are very loyal and encourage Landry to be herself.
What do you hope young readers get out of your books?
I hope they feel less alone in their own situations as they read Landry’s stories and see that we all feel insecure and self-conscious at times. I thought everyone had it all together when I was growing up, and it took me a long time to realize not everyone feels confident all the time. I would have loved a book where the main character admits when she feels anxious or insecure. I also hope that they can use some of the advice in dealing with friends and frenemies.
Thanks so much for joining us. Your stories sound wonderful and something I’d love my kids to read.
Readers, if you’d like to find out more about Krysten, you can visit her website, check out her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter or Instagram. You can also click on the book cover to go straight to Krysten’s books on Amazon. Happy reading!
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