I’m Krysten Lindsay Hager and I love to read and write. I started off as a journalist and began writing humor essays and short stories and now I write novels for middle grade and young adult readers and well as for adults. I always say I’ve never met a bookstore I didn’t fall in love with.
What were you like at school.
When I was in grade school (ages 9 through 14) I was very into reading. I liked to make up stories, listen to music, and play with makeup and clothes. I was more of an observer in grade school/middle school. I was definitely a daydreamer, too. When I got to high school (age 15 and up) it was very different. I was much more social and much less introspective. I think that’s why my middle school fiction characters differ from my older young adult fiction characters. I wasn’t crazy about grade school, but I LOVED high school, therefore I can get more introspective on grade school.
What are your ambitions for your writing career.
I plan to continuing writing the True Colors/Landry series and to continue writing older YA and adult women’s fiction as well.
Let's talk about your latest book. What is your latest book. Give an insight into your main character.
My latest book is True Colors. I wrote the book wanting teens and women of all ages to see they weren’t alone in feeling this way and I put in humor because I think the best way to get through life’s difficult times is with a sense of humor. I have my main character Landry go through the same situations we’ve all been through with the “frenemies,” passive aggressive comments, mean girls, trying to get noticed by the popular crowd, the impossible crushes, and all those insecurities we go through. I think it’s even harder for teens now with Facebook and Instagram showing the “perfect” side of everyone, so teens and tweens today are faced with even more of those “perfect life” images that made me feel insecure as a kid. I feel it’s important for everyone to know we all go through the same things and to not put on a fake front about it.
What does she do that makes it special.
You see the world through Landry’s eyes and go through her experiences with her—even the embarrassing ones where she throws up from being nervous right before going on live TV! I made Landry a model to show that on the outside, people see her as pretty, but inside she doesn’t feel that way because she doesn’t look like what she deems as beautiful. She has very light, straight hair, and all she’s ever wanted is dark, curly hair—the ol’ always thinking the grass is greener on the other side thing. I had a reading specialist reach out to me to tell me that her students were really enjoying the book, but one of them was in therapy after being bullied for her weight. She said this 8th grader kept coming up to her and mentioning how Landry doesn’t feel good about her looks like she doesn’t feel good about hers and that made her feel better and it got her reading which was something she was struggling with, too.
Landry wants to be singled out and special (she wouldn’t mind being discovered as the next big model), but there’s a part of her that just wants to fit in and fade into the background. She doesn’t recognize her uniqueness and thinks what everyone else has is better than what she has—from hair color to clothes, etc. She definitely assumes the grass is greener on the other side and she’s fortunate enough to make new friends who appreciate her individuality and help her to see it in a better light, too. She’s a loyal friend, maybe too loyal and trusting, but she tries to see the good in people. She has a humorous way of looking at the world, too. She was a fun and thoughtful character to write and I’m enjoying working on the third book in the series now.
What is the book about.
The book is about Landry Albright who is 13 (and turns 14 in the story) and she just wants to be one of the interesting girls at school who always have exciting things going on in their lives. She wants to stand out, but also wants to fit in, so she gives in when her two best friends, Ericka and Tori, push her into trying out for a teen reality show modeling competition with them. Landry goes in nervous, but impresses the judges enough to make it to the next round. However, Ericka and Tori get cut and basically "unfriend" her on Monday at school. Landry tries to make new friends, but gets caught up between wanting to be herself and conforming to who her new friends want her to be. Along the way she learns that modeling is nowhere as glamorous as it seems, how to deal with frenemies, a new crush, and that true friends see you for who you really are and like you because of it.
What genre do you write and why.
I write middle grade and young adult. I like that age group because it’s a time of hope and confusion about who you are and what you are going to do next. You’re not an adult, but you’re not a little kid anymore. I write for this age group because I hope my readers realize that everyone goes through these sorts of things - rejection, being left out, excluded, and feeling insecure. I want them to realize they are not alone and it sounds hokey, but that, "this too shall pass."
How much research do you do.
I take a lot from my own experiences during those years.
Why do you write.
I always have a story to tell. I want to continue to write the stories I feel need to be told. I love to create stories and sharing them with others is a wonderful part of it, but it is the creating that I enjoy the most.
Do you write full time or part time.
Do you write every day, 5 days a week, or as when.
I don’t write new material every day, but I am working on something whether it be plotting, outlining, editing, or working through a storyline every day.
Do you write on paper or computer.
Both. I have a million journals around the house with bits of story ideas that make their way onto the computer.
What is the hardest thing about writing.
Publishing. And re-writing is not easy either.
What is the easiest thing about writing.
Getting the character’s voice right is easiest for me.
Do you ever get writer's block.
Not really. There are times I don’t know where a scene should go or if I need a scene because half my critique group thinks it’s good.
If True Colors is a part of series tell us little about it.
There is a sequel coming out for True Colors. The manuscript is finished, but we haven’t begun editing yet so I don’t have a release date. The second books picks up right where the first one leaves off and we see Landry deal with her new friends, the old friends, modeling, her self-esteem issues and her world gets rocked when she tells the truth about a a friend who betrays another friend and in the process Landry becomes the bad guy. The series continues with Landry’s first crush turning into something more and she gets another shot at the American Ingénue modeling contest.
How much do you read and who are your favourite authors.
I love to read. My favorite YA/MG writers are: Paula Danziger, Betsy Haynes, Erika Tamar, Francine Pascal (the Victoria Books), Cathy Hopkins, Cathy Cassidy, and Judy Blume.
Of the adult writers: Edith Wharton, Leo Tolstoy, F. Scott Fitzgerald, May Sarton, and Sylvia Plath.
What book are you reading at the moment.
Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay.
Do you leave the book for a month and then come back to it to edit.
I definitely give it time before I begin editing to get fresh perspective on it.
Do you think cover plays an important role in buying process.
I think what the book is about is what pulls people in more than the cover.
Advice for other authors on how to market their books. Pick one thing you enjoy—like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and focus on that.
What do you do to get book reviews.
I used to do book reviews (still do a few for Book Foodies), so I followed what the authors who submitted to me did in sending queries asking for reviews.
Do you format your own books.
I have a publisher.
Your favourite motivational phrase.
"Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong."--Ella Fitzgerald
Your favourite book and why.
I love “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald because of the longing in it and how the characters are pretending to be someone and something they’re not instead of just being themselves and you see how that goes horribly wrong for them.
Favourite film and why.
I love Audrey Hepburn and one of my favorite movies of hers is “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” because she finally finds love and it’s with someone who loves her for who she really is.
Famous people you would like to meet.
Paulo Coelho, Seth MacFarlane.
Advice for aspiring writers.
Learn as much as you can about writing and about publishing. Go to countless conferences, read over a hundred books in whatever genre you want to write. Enroll in both creative writing and literature classes. Get professional critiques and also join critique groups.