Tuesday, November 10, 2015

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Krysten Lindsay Hager

Krysten Lindsay Hager has been gracious enough to support 5 Girls Book Reviews by sending us a book to review titled True Colors and has also hosted a giveaway on our blog of one of her other books Next Door to a Star

Interview Conducted by

   What was your inspiration for the book True Colors?

I had a teacher say that we should write the book we wanted to read and I thought back to how YA and MG books had gotten me through my teen and preteen years. I realized that was exactly what I wanted to write—the kind of book you could escape into that character’s world and also see how you weren’t alone in the issues you were dealing with on a daily basis with friends, frenemies, teachers, and crushes.

How many books will be in the Landry series?

Right now there are two Landry books out and book three will be out early 2016. I have outlines for several more. Landry is fourteen now and I have ideas for her going into college, so she’ll be around for a while.

Why did you start writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I think it started out when I would watch TV with my parents. They would watch these drama shows that ended on cliffhangers and I always wanted to know what would happen next (and not have to wait for next season to start up), so I would create my own endings. Pretty soon, I just started making up my own stories and characters.

How many books have you written so far? 

I have three books out now: True Colors (Landry’s True Colors Series: Book 1), Best Friends…Forever? (Landry’s True Colors Series: Book 2) as well as Next Door to a Star, which is book one is the Star series. Landry in Like (Landry’s True Colors Series: Book 3) and Completion with the Star (the Star Series, Book 2) will be out in early 2016.

What was the hardest thing for you when you were in Middle School?

Dealing with friend/frenemy issues were the hardest. I went to a small school much like Landry (and Hadley in my other Star series) and so there were times I felt I had to be quiet and not make waves to avoid confronting people. I felt like I was trying to make myself small and not call attention to myself so I wouldn’t have to deal with mean girl drama. It seemed like every so often, girls would choose someone to stop speaking to and I don’t even remember why they did that, but the worst thing was when it was you and you’d feel all alone and abandoned. When I got to high school, there were more people there and I felt freer to be myself and speak up for myself.

Who is your favorite character in True Colors?

I love the main character, Landry, because she wears her heart on her sleeve. You see her insecurities and her embarrassing moments. I also love her two best friends: Ashanti and Peyton. Ashanti is a friend who has your back no matter what and Peyton is the kind of friend you can always turn to for advice.

     When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I even won a schoolwide writing competition in the first grade. I started to get serious about it in college.

What are your true colors?

I think I’m a lot like Landry in that I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m also very loyal to my friends.

     What do you do other than write?

      I love to read and browse in bookstores and I’m a TV addict, too. I like to rent a bunch of movies and TV series and camp out on the loveseat with snacks. I like comedies, cartoons, mysteries, romantic comedies, and action films.

      Did you ever audition to be a model like Landry?

I went on several modeling auditions. There’s a photo shoot in book one where she talks about a gross smell in the photographer’s studio and that is based on a real experience I had. In book three, she is on a photo shoot and gets maced in the face with hairspray and talks about all the hairpins that are hurting her and that’s all from my own experiences. It seems like posing for pictures would be easy and fun, but I wanted to show the reality behind it to my readers.  And I didn’t audition for a TV reality show like she did, but I did do the runway thing at a mall only when I did a turn, my skirt didn’t fan out and reveal my underwear like she had happen.

What is your favorite book you have written?

I think the sequel to True Colors, Best Friends…Forever? is one of my favorites because Landry begins to learn how to deal with frenemies and speak up for herself when she’s getting pushed around from friends. I also like the humor in it, too. Next Door to a Star is another favorite because it shows that sweet first crush that turns into a boyfriend and also that longing to fit it and then along the way you find your own tribe, the friends who make you feel comfortable. I like Hadley’s sense of humor and the way she observes things, too.

What do you think about our blog and reviews?

I love the fact that the reviews are fair and also that you warn if there’s a possible spoiler coming. I’ve learned about several good books that you’ve featured and love the variety on the blog.

Why do you like writing?

It’s a way to express myself and also an escape. This past year was difficult for me because my dad had a reaction to anesthesia after surgery and his whole life (and health) changed dramatically. So I spent part of the year escaping into writing the third Landry book at night because the evening is when the emotions start to get to you. My dad passed away unexpectedly over the summer and the shock of that really hit me. It was a few months before I could begin writing, but once I started working on the sequel to Next Door to a Star, I realized how therapeutic it was for me to go into someone else’s world for a little while when my own got to be too much.

Any interesting facts you want to share?

The original idea for True Colors came about when I was in middle school. I was addicted to those YA and MG novels about groups of girls who had the perfect close-knit relationships—the whole best friend forever thing. I remember seeing a CD cover backstage at a small teen/kiddie fashion show I was doing and the girls on the cover looked like that type of group.  I started to wonder what they were like at thirteen/fourteen.  I didn’t start writing the story until I was an adult and then I wrote it to show how Landry thinks everyone else has these tight groups of friends who never get mad at one another and everything is always perfect and she wants that and hopes to find it with Devon, Peyton and India.

Thank you so much Ms. Hager for all of your support and we look forward to reading all of your new books!