Tell us about your publishing journey…
I sought publication for six years, receiving rejection after rejection – some encouraging, most form letters. I seriously considered that I just wasn’t good enough and maybe I should give up. Then I saw an upcoming event at our local Barnes and Nobles. Multiple children’s authors and illustrators would be reading and signing from their books. That got my attention because I’m in a small community in the middle of nowhere and we didn’t have any other children’s authors besides me – but MULTIPLE? I knew someone had to be local, so I researched the list of people appearing and discovered that one of the illustrators lived in the area. I contacted her and offered to help with the event, and she kindly declined saying she had plenty of support, but invited me to a barbecue at her house. It was lovely to finally meet so many people involved in the business I’d been struggling with on my own for so many years. Plus, I met their publisher, who impressed me with her forward thinking. It was a lovely evening and I took my kids to the signing a couple days later. It was maybe a month or two later when it struck me that one of my manuscripts would be a good fit for that publishing house. I submitted, she accepted, and the rest is history. My Weaver Tales series is up to three books now.
What do you love about being an author?
So many things! Working in my pajamas. Creating people and worlds that no one else would think of. Fan mail. But mostly engaging with readers – at signings, classroom visits, workshops – I love talking to readers.
If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?
I’d love to dine with the Pevensie siblings (well, maybe not Edmund.) Lucy has such a pure, sweet spirit, and Susan and Peter are very brave. I think hearing about their experiences in Narnia and even wartime London would make for great dinner conversation. I’d probably whip up a batch of homemade macaroni and cheese. I recently made some with sautéed onions, crumbled bacon, and loads of mozzarella and pepper jack cheese.
If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?
I’d love to cast Zayn Malik as my lead, Jeff, in King of Bad. He’s got the right look – can he even act? I’m not sure I care. But I can totally imagine him as the conflicted villain, developing his super powers of fire and ice. And I’d put Brenton Thwaites as his nemesis, Set. I LOVE Set. He wields his super powers over the weather and boy is he electric! However, both guys would have to fake an Idaho accent.
Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?
Ooo, honestly I’ve enjoyed them in both roles. It depends on the story and the hero/heroine. It’s funny. I always say, “I don’t like vampire stories.” And then I read one and enjoy it. But seriously, Buffy! Interview with a Vampire! The Lost Boys! And of course Dracula! Yeah, okay, vampires rock.
If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?
I’m pretty happy here in the twenty-first century. But if I had to travel, I guess I’d go to the Victorian era as long as I can guarantee I’d be someone in high society. It might be fun to play dress up for a short time and shock all the prim and proper folks with my outspoken personality. I’m really shy at first, which would lure them in, but then I’d open my mouth and say something completely scandalous, like my opinion! It would be fun to watch.
What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?
I wish I’d been told that being cool is so NOT important. I wasted so much time and energy in school and in my early adult life worrying about if I fit in, how I looked, drawing attention without actually standing out. Gawd! If I could go back to high school and do the things I enjoyed even though the people who did them were labeled as nerds or geeks or whatever, I’d have so much more fun.
If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?
An Amazon. I’ve always loved Wonder Woman – her strength, intelligence, kindness – so if I could be more like her than this human condition currently allows, then I’d jump at the chance.
Where do you write best?
On a laptop. Probably not what you meant by the question, but the laptop allows me freedom to write wherever I’m most inspired. I usually sit in the me-sized crater I’ve carved in my couch, but I also like to go to coffee shops, libraries, or the park from time to time. It depends on what kind of atmosphere I need to get my creative juices flowing.
What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?
I can’t just talk about one book. The Olympics are on, so I’m multi-tasking by plowing through as many graphic novels as I can while enjoying the competition. Before the Olympics I was thoroughly enjoying making my way through the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I’ve put off reading it forever and now I can’t get through it fast enough. I’ll pick up the fourth book, Queen of Shadows, after the Olympics are over. I’m always listening to an audiobook, too, while I exercise or cook dinner or vacuum. And recently I was all fired up after listening to All American Boys by Jason Reynolds. We have so much stupid, needless prejudice in my country and that book really showed off the nuances of how and why it happens, but best of all demonstrated how and why it’s important to DO THE RIGHT THING!!!
If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?
I write in whatever genre I’m inspired to write in. I have a young adult speculative fiction series called Super Villain Academy. Maybe by the series name you can figure out it’s about angsty teens wielding super powers. So much fun to write. But I also have a YA Contemporary romance series that explores the relationship between a barista and a homeless boy and a standalone YA romantic suspense with car chases and torture with kitchen implements. So, yeah, I jump around. I’ve also published contemporary fiction and fantasy for middle grade readers. I even have a New Adult ghost story under the pseudonym LA Dragoni. I plan to explore time travel under that pseudonym, so that’ll be interesting. I look forward to many-a-mind melt getting through that one.
Where can fans find you online?
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 Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, www.kaistrand.com.
Super Villain Academy:
King of Bad (be sure to get the 2nd edition for the bonus scenes!) –Amazon| Barnes & Noble| Whiskey Creek Press Add it to Goodreads
Worth the Effort: