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Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Weaver – author interview – Kai Strand


Today, we welcome a local San Fernando Valley girl who shares her novel and her life as a valley girl. 


About Kai Strand

Kai Strand is a children’s author of middle grade and young adult novels. She was born and raised in the mid-west, where she inherited a wholesome outlook on life. She lived in California long enough to become a (very lucky) wife and the mother of four amazing kids. They now live in Central Oregon where the most common sound in her household is laughter. The second most common is, “Do your dishes!”

Obviously, Kai likes to write. The Weaver is Kai’s debut book. She reads a lot as well and calls it research. Kai loves to garden, and is trying out a greenhouse for the first time this year. She loves to sing. You might find her singing in Latin while browsing at Target. Most of the time she isn’t aware she’s singing aloud. She and her family love to hike and geocache. Kai walks 45 miles a month for exercise.

You can visit Kai online at www.kaistrand.com or at her blog, Strands of Thought, www.kaistrand.blogspot.com.



About The Weaver

In a town of word weavers, Mary suffers through her third year of Novice Word Weaving. Mary thinks her troubles are over when she meets a gnome-elf who grants her a wish.  But instead of weaving a better story, she’s weaving strange yarn charms to accompany her still pathetic tales.

Read an Excerpt!
Chapter 1
A Mother’s Shadow 
Given ample sun and water, a flower grows strong and blooms full But grown in shade it is spindly, weak, and off color
Tucked in a lush valley between two snow-capped mountains was the village of The Tales. Those who lived in the village were known as Weavers. Each person in The Tales could tell stories about anything at anytime, and they often did. Prose, poetry, limericks or yarns; they told stories of all types and styles.
On a balmy spring morning, Mary Wordsmith and her mother, Abigail, made their weekly visit to the produce market.
Thumping an acorn squash, Abigail said, “At last, here’s one that isn’t going soft.” She handed the squash to Mary who absently dropped it in the basket on her arm.


Interview

Hi Kai, 

Welcome to the Hollywood Daze!

Thanks for having me, today! I love your url! I must share that my best friend and I were valley girls before it was cool. She and I totally spoke like that! Oh my God! But we didn't know it until the movie, Valley Girl, with Nicolas Cage came out. I remember our horror when we realized that we really did talk like that. After that, we worked so hard to change our speech patterns. Hard habit to break - that valley speak!

Q:  I understand you are a former Californian. Will you tell us if you lived in Northern or Southern California and two things you enjoyed about living in the land of perpetual sunshine?

A:  I lived in So California, Orange County to be exact. For awhile I owned a turbo convertible and on those painfully sunny days, I loved driving along Pacific Coast Highway with the top down on the car, wind blowing through my hair, scent of sea salt tickling my nose and hearing the seagulls cry. So carefree. I also loved those years it was 80 degrees on Christmas Day and we'd be splashing around in the swimming pool. A white Christmas is overrated.

Q:  Will you tell us a little about your book?

A: About The Weaver:
In a town of word weavers, Mary suffers through her third year of Novice Word Weaving. Mary thinks her troubles are over when she meets a gnome-elf who grants her a wish.  But instead of weaving a better story, she's weaving strange yarn charms to accompany her still pathetic tales.

The Weaver has a little magic and alot of storytelling. It's a story about acceptance. It's a story about support. But mostly it is about determination. It's written for children 9 - 12 years old.

Q:  How did you come up with the idea for your book?

A:  I belong to an online critique group called Silver Web. I was sitting at my computer one day casting around for an idea for a new book and the logo of my crit group was staring back at me.  I thought to myself, "We weave words like a spider weaves its web." That was the nugget of the idea.

Q:  When did you start writing your novel and how long did it take?

A:  I don't remember! I really don't remember when I started. I plowed through about 2/3 of the story and then let it sit for a long time before finishing. Edits were pretty spotty.  I just don't have a clue how long this book took to write.

Q:  Who is your favorite author?

A:  I'm not very good with the "favorite" word, because that indicates I like one above all others. But I get enthusiastic about different things from different writers. Maggie Stiefvater has the most beautifully lyrical voice in her writing, plus she's super approachable and funny. How can you not like someone who calls her car Loki? I respect the heck out of Suzanne Collins. My sons were enraptured by her Gregor the Overlander books and then she comes up with the Hunger Games series that were addicting to a broader audience. Skill! Scott Westerfield is another author who just gets it. Knows his audience and what resonates with them. Also very approachable and really respect that in an author. I admit I have this odd reaction of jealousy everytime I see a book from Cassandra Clare, and I see them EVERYWHERE! She actually seems like a lovely person and my reaction is completely ridiculous. I've loved everyone of her books.

Q:  Do you have a favorite book that you could read more than once?

A:  Hands down the Harry Potter series. The charcterization alone is so deep and well vetted that you learn something new about them (main character and supporting characters alike) each time you read. The complex storyline, the tons of hints dropped throughout the series. Plus I've shared many, many hours over these books with my children, so they have such a happy association tied to them.

Q:  Since everyone outside of California believes we are all star struck, who is your favorite actor/actress, if you can narrow it to just one, or at least your top three?

A:  I'm totally star struck when I meet famous authors, but actors not so much. However ignorant I am of who the latest heart throb is, I do take notice when someone is actually a good actor and not just a pretty face. Nothing wrong with a pretty face, mind you.  Anyway, I think I'd have to answer Johnny Depp. He's so versatile. He plays the quirky or dark roles like in Alice and Wonderland and Pirates, but he was great in the dramatic role in Finding Neverland. He can actually act and he's not afraid to. It is only my complete ignorance of actors that allows me to chose a favorite in this category. If I were more educated, I'm sure there were be more names on my list.

Q:  Do you have a favorite movie that you could watch again and again?

A:  Pride and Prejudice. Any version. Love the story. And I prefer the story to the book. Rare for me, but true in this instance. (Phantom of the Opera - love the music, PS I Love You - such a sap for a good love story, Apollo 13 - always exciting, Independence Day - funny! ...)

Q:  What's next in your writing life?

A:  I'm shopping a contemporary middle grade for a slightly older audience than The Weaver and a young adult fantasy series that is really awesome and fun and I can't wait until I can share it with the world. I just have to find the right place for these stories first.

Kai, thank you for sharing your book with us and I wish you the best of luck in your book promotion.

Rebecca, thanks for inviting me to join you! It's been fun sticking my toes in the sand again. It has been too long since I've visited California, thanks for the trip down memory lane. 





5 comments:

Morgan Mandel said...

Great to meet a real live Valley Girl!

Cute cover and great topic for your book, delightful!

Morgan Mandel
http://www.morganmandel.com

Kai said...

Rebbeca, thanks for hosting me on your blog. I love the redesign. Swanky! Really fun interview. What a coincedence that I am in Cali today. Walking across the Golden Gate later. Great timing.

Morgan, thanks for reading and the nice comment. K.C. Snider did the cover art for The Weaver. Such talent.

J.W. Nicklaus said...

A genuinely fun interview.! Easy to see Kai's personality coming through. No flat answers, just engaging information.

Like the concept of Weavers. If I had a middle-grade kid I would definitely get this for them. Gonna keep my eyes open for anyone I know who might have one though ;^)

V.R. Leavitt said...

Great interview, Kai and Becky! How fun. I remember the first time I spent a Christmas in California...I agree, white Christmas is COMPLETELY overrated. :-)

The book sounds wonderful too. Thanks for telling us about it.

Tribute Books Mama said...

I enjoyed the great interview,loved the cover.