Please welcome my guest today, Krysten Hager, the author of the Landry's True Colors series.
CG: Tell us a little bit about yourself, Krysten? Where did you grow up? What do you write? Why did you write?
KH: I grew up in Grand Blanc, Michigan, which used to be known for holding a big golf tournament every year. Grand Blanc is an hour north of Detroit and a suburb of Flint.
I’ve been a journalist and write for adults as well as the middle grade and young adult readers. Now I have this series, Landry’s True Colors, which is about an eighth grader named Landy Albright who deals with frenemies, friend drama, self-esteem, crushes, parent issues, self-image, modeling, and making that transition from middle school to high school. It’s a clean reads book so it spans a wide range of readers—I even had an 86-year-old man email me to tell me what a positive book he thought it was for young women today. That made my day!
I write because I have always enjoyed creating characters and situations that people can relate to and enjoy. With this series, I wanted people who felt alone to know that they weren’t and to give a voice to those girls and women who felt they couldn’t speak out because what they were feeling wasn’t the image that we’re “supposed” to portray. All the magazines show happy, pretty, peppy girls without a care in the world and that’s not reality. We all have bad days, we have blemishes, and bloated days, and we get cranky. So why pretend everything is a perfume commercial?
CG: I love what you're trying to give to YA readers. That's great. So, tell us what is one thing most people wouldn’t know about you?
KH: I used to be a baton twirler and I even competed. My baton twirling group won a bronze medal for a performance at a competition. However, once the group advanced to those throws where you spin multiple times and catch the baton—yeah, I feared getting bopped on the head, so I decided to purse just ballet, tap, and modern dance.
CG: Well, aren't you talented. Now I know who to call whenI write that dancer heroine. Of the writing process, what do you enjoy most?
KH: I love those days when the writing just flows. Where you glance up at the clock and realize it’s 5 am and you’re still up and going.
CG: Oooh, I love that too! When the muse takes over. What came first the story or character for Best Friends Forever?
KH: The story. When I was in the sixth grade, I was a big reader and I wanted to write about those tight-knit groups of friends that I read about in books. However, as an adult, I realized that those weren’t realistic. So I decided to write about a fourteen year-old who wanted that type of clique, but has to deal with the reality that comes with it—that not all friends are true blue. She has to deal with frenemies, misunderstandings, and trying to figure out the difference between where you want to fit in and where you feel comfortable—your tribe, so to speak.
CG: So, true we are always just trying to fit in and finding our "tribe" continues into adulthood, doesn't it? What love song would you pick to be the “Theme Love Song” for Best Friends..Forever? Why?
KH: The first one that comes to mind is “You Belong With Me,” by Taylor Swift. There’s a scene in the book where Vladi (Landry’s crush and, at that point, her ex) is telling her about the girl he’s interested in, but his dad comes in and makes him get off the phone and she’s left wondering, “Who is this girl and is there any chance it’s me or was he calling to get girl advice?”
CG: I love that! Great song too. Can you give us a tidbit about Best Friends…Forever? that readers might not know?
In this book, Landry still deals with frenemies, but there is a misunderstanding, which causes her to lose her true friends and she has to figure out a way to make them both believe her and believe in her.
And thus the title--great tidbit. Please give us another excerpt from your new release.
Devon was glaring at me for leaving her with Jeremy, but I was so happy to be sitting with Vladi I didn’t care. In fact, rabid wolves could have come through the doors and I wouldn’t have noticed. Vladi kept leaning forward to tell me stuff about the varsity players and his cologne mixed with his leather jacket smell and made me dizzy. I couldn’t believe we were sitting this close. I kept smiling at Devon, but she was not happy having Jeremy drool over her. She kept sliding further away from him, but he wasn’t getting the message. Then, she grabbed me and said we had to go the bathroom.
“I’m going crazy. He’s like a leech or something,” she said scrunching her curly dark hair as she stared in the bathroom mirror.
“Isn’t Vladi cute? I wonder what kind of cologne he wears. He smells so good.”
“You’re making me sick,” she said.
The guys had gone to the concession stands and Vladi had bought me a cherry cola (my favorite) and a box of candy to share. Jeremy bought Devon some malt balls, but she snatched the bag away and kept them for herself.
“Can I have some of your soda?” Vladi asked after he had finished his drink.
I thought it was so cute that he’d drink after me and not even worry about germs. He didn’t even take out my straw. I thought I was going to faint from happiness. I mean our lips were touching the same straw. Now my dad would have given me a lecture on how a billion viruses can be spread through sharing a straw, but I wouldn’t care if I get typhoid fever…but not the stomach flu. If there was anything I hated it was puking and even Mr. Hotness wasn’t worth barfing my guts up.
Blurb: Landry Albright hopes the new year will start off in an amazing way—instead she has to deal with more frenemy issues, boy drama, and having most of her best friends make the cheerleading squad without her. Suddenly, it seems like all anyone can talk about is starting high school next year—something she finds terrifying.
Landry gets her first boyfriend, but then gets dumped just as things come to a head with her friends. She feels lost and left out, but finds good advice about dealing with frenemies from what she considers an unlikely source. Landry learns to speak up for what’s right, tell the truth (even when it hurts), and how to get past the fear of failure as she gets another shot at competing in the American Ingénue modeling competition.
Author Bio: Krysten Lindsay Hager is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series, a clean reads young adult series. Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, modeling, and crushes in True Colors and Best Friends…Forever?
Krysten is an Amazon international bestselling author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.
CG: Thanks for being here today, Krysten, and sharing more about Best Friends Forever? Take at look at Krysten's new book online!
Amazon international: http://authl.it/B00UIP1N5S