Welcome to 4F1H, Krysten!
By Jeff Salter
I’m delighted to finally snag Krysten Lindsay Hager to be my Guest Fox here on Hound Day. We’ve known each other since at least December of 2013, when she joined the author family at Clean Reads (formerly Astraea Press) and made her introductions. We’re always bumping into each other at the C.R. Author page, as well as various Facebook events related to new releases or featured articles / blogs. She’s here today, primarily, to showcase her newest release, Dating the It Guy.
Krysten’s had quite an interesting background for someone so young. One of her experiences that really impressed me was when Krysten was in contact with the cover model for her Landry series. Take a look at her responses to my interview questions… and be sure to leave a comment or question for her.
- I see you already have five novels out, plus stories in anthologies, as well as other articles and pieces. How long have you been writing fiction?
[K.L.H.] — I’ve been writing seriously since college. I started out in news where I began with doing interviews and writing scripts and then went to a newspaper where I was writing hard news, features, sports, and a column. On my own, I also wrote essays, short stories, and novellas before finally being able to finish a novel.
- I believe you’ve been interviewed at least once on television. How did that go?
[K.L.H.] — I’ve done a couple interviews and actually used them as experience for a couple scenes in my book, Landry in Like. There were some funny and anxious moments backstage each time and I used them in the book. Everything is material!
- What was it like to live in Portugal? What took you way down there? How long did you stay?
[K.L.H.] — I lived there for three years and we lived right on the ocean — it was beautiful. I was a Type A personality when I arrived, but had changed a lot by the time I left. I remember coming back to the U.S. and more than one person who knew me before was thrown by the fact I was saying things like, let’s just sit and enjoy our coffee… instead of how I’d usual be multi-tasking where I’d eat while working. We went to Portugal because of my husband’s work.
- After University of Michigan, what kind of jobs have you held? Which did you like best?
[K.L.H.] — I worked as a journalist and I worked in a real estate office for a while as my dad’s assistant. Now that my dad has passed, I realize how fortunate I was to spend so much time with him that way. Some of my best memories are actually from during that time.
I loved working as a journalist. I preferred print journalism to broadcast news. I loved getting to interview people and every day had something new to either learn (you’re expected to become an expert on a subject fast) or someone new to meet. I met politicians, people in the community, athletes, and artists of all kinds.
- I believe you have three books already out in Landry’s True Colors Series… and two books in the Star Series. Why do you enjoy writing series stories?
[K.L.H.] — I like being able to grow and expand a character. With Landry it’s fun to have her evolve the way a regular kid would. It would feel dishonest to have her wake up with all the answers to her problems in one book, so having her figure things out by going through different experiences keeps the books authentic which the readers can really pick up on.
- Looks like one of your series is with Clean Reads, while the other series is with Limitless Publishing. Is it easier or more difficult to deal with two different publishers?
[K.L.H.] — Honestly, the only thing is to remember which company to tag when you share something on Twitter!
- Somewhere I saw that you refer to yourself as a “book addict.” Explain, please. If there was a 12-step cure, would you take it?
[K.L.H.] — When I lived in Portugal there was no English speaking bookstore around. There were a couple shelves in one store, but it was sparse — incredibly sparse. So I went a bit mad when I came back to the United States. I missed being able to browse in bookstores so much. And nope, no interest in a cure!
- I think I remember reading that you’ve been in contact with the model for your cover images of Landry. What was that like?
[K.L.H.] — Yes, she found me on Facebook! Landry only turns fourteen in book one, so it threw me when I saw her photo until she explained the photos were taken a few years ago! She’s very sweet and the funny thing is Landry is Polish-American on her mother’s side and in real life the model is from Poland.
- Have you ever encountered people who seem unable / unwilling to comprehend that writing is something you are driven to do?
[K.L.H.] — Yes, but you can’t convince someone if they don’t understand when people really love art and feel writing is their purpose. I will say my mom did beg me to go to law school. I made the mistake of telling her my grad school professor took me aside and asked if I’d like him to write me a recommendation for law school since I was doing well in my constitutional law class. I passed on it and my mom turned white when I told her. She begged me to reconsider, but I just couldn’t see myself being happy in law school.
- If you were not a writer, can you imagine what else you might do to express the creativity within you?
[K.L.H.] — I can’t imagine not writing. I never really understand when people tell me they stopped writing because it isn’t profitable… because I wrote for so many, many years without getting a book published. So to hear that throws me. I have to write, it’s just who I am.
- If sales (money) and critics (reviews) were immaterial to you, what genre and length would you write?
[K.L.H.] — I would continue to write YA and middle grade no matter what. I’m also working on adult and new adult stories because I love working on more than one thing at once.
- Give us at least one example of someone who has contacted you and expressed how much your writing meant to them.
[K.L.H.] — There was a reader who gave the book Landry in Like to her preteen granddaughter and after reading it the granddaughter came to her with some issues she had been dealing with at school. There had been something bothering her as well when her grandfather died and she didn’t tell anyone and suddenly she shared all of this with her grandma and they understood why she had been quieter and more withdraw the last few months. They thought she was tired with all her after school activities, but she actually had a lot on her mind and the book helped her to open up.
- In the interviews & blog questions you’ve handled over the years, what is one writing question which you’ve WISHED had been asked of you… but never has been asked?
[K.L.H.] — People usually don’t ask me questions about research because I write fiction.
- What’s your answer to # 13 above?
[K.L.H.] — I actually do a ton of research before (and during) writing a novel. I visit the places I write about, take photos, and I will actually walk the route the characters take to get a feel for it. Sometimes I snap pics as I go so I can see the scenery through my character’s eyes later in case I need to refer back to something. If my characters are going through something specific (bullying, self-esteem issues, grief, etc.) then I will read up on it. For the Landry’s True Colors Series I have a shelf devoted just to teen non-fiction about issues that preteens and teens face for reference.
For Dating the It Guy, I read pretty much every book on John F. Kennedy Jr. available and watched all the documentaries. I did so much research that I read a blog saying his wife wore a specific type of lipstick and I immediately thought, no that wasn’t her shade. It was then that I realized perhaps I could step back a bit! But it’s important to get a feel for what their lives were like to give me an idea of the pressures Brendon would face.
Blurb for Dating the It Guy:
Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator’s son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon’s world and it doesn’t help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren, seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you’re dating the it guy.
Buy link: Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XBFRX47
Besides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, Krysten is also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Next Door to a Star, Landry in Like, and Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2). Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book. Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton.
READERS, here’s Krysten’s question for YOU:
I’d love to know “what are your favorite themes to read about in a story?”