An Interview with Author Krysten Lindsay Hager

I met Krysten at the Dayton Book Expo this year, and just love the colorful covers on her books! In the almost two years since I’ve become a serious writer, I have found it difficult to find many authors in my kids’ books genres. Imagine how excited I was to find out that she has written the series, “Landry’s True Colors,” for middle graders! She also has several young adult books, so check out how Krysten answered my interview questions below.

author banner 2017b

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration everywhere. I am a TV junkie and love biographies and those shows on the Reelz channel, so those shows get my imagination going. My young adult book, Dating the It Guy, was inspired after watching a JFK Jr. biography and I started wondering what it’d be like to date someone like him in high school and that’s how Brendon and Emme’s relationship came to be.

I’m also a news junkie and read the newspaper a lot, so I often spot story ideas there. I use situations I’ve been in or that I’ve witnessed in my books and readers often tell me my books help them deal with their own issues. Just last week a girl told me she saw why she struggled in relationships by seeing the core of Emme’s insecurities in Dating the It Guy.

I’m always interested in another author’s writing habits – what is your process? And do you have any writing rituals or quirks?

I write at night as I need it to be quiet with no distractions. I make playlists for each story, but I don’t play music while I’m writing. I also do a Pinterest board for each story I’m working on with photos, articles, and inspirations that I find along the way. I make the boards public once the book gets published. The readers enjoy getting to see the places that inspired the stories and I post pics of the rooms that inspired my characters’ homes.

What is your favorite genre to read?

I love young adult books and I read a lot of non-fiction—I usually have three books going at once. I admit sometimes I forget about a book and then find it set aside!

What types of things upset you when you’re reading a book?

Usually the only things that upset me is when I read about something difficult a person went through in a memoir, bio, or autobiography because I feel for the person. I was reading a Christian non-fiction book and even though the author was sharing how she had regained her self-confidence, I could see something she was still hurting over and I actually had to put the book down.

Do you enjoy reading classic literature?

I was an English major for that very reason! I do like classic literature although I will admit in cases where the language used is overly formal or not our current conversational vocab, the books can drag a bit, but the overall story lines are still enjoyable. I like Tolstoy, Wharton, and Fitzgerald.

Is there an author you specifically fangirl over?

If Fitzgerald was still alive—if only! I also wish I could have met May Sarton. Her journals in particular inspired me. I spent a semester doing a one-on-one study with a professor reading Sarton’s work. It changed me and made me more introspective and observant. I saw the importance of solitude if you want to write. It was eye opening. There are a lot of YA authors I like, but all based in Britain.

Author pic

Bio: Krysten Lindsay Hager 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, Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2) and Dating the It Guy. True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Bestseller Award for childen/teens. Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc View, Dayton Daily News and on Living Dayton. You can find more on: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/

Advertisements

Summer News

IMG_3629It’s been awhile since I posted an update, so thought I ‘d share what’s been going on with me. I’m sure I’m not the only one to be whizzing through summer. It just gets faster and faster each year.

I went on vacation to Florida in June. We rented a house with some of my family across the street from the water. It was lovely and I took many sunset photos. My daughter and I got really burned the first day out – and yes – we applied sunscreen! That put us off the beach for a few days exploring the area, hitting several book stores. On the days when I did get to the beach, I was in my happy zen place emotionally and inspired to write. Hmm… I wonder if I can write that off this year, eh? A working holiday…oxymoron. You’ll be sure to see my beach inspired poems if you stay tuned.

For my birthday, my husband gave me more nights in a hotel for writing. It was amazing. I finished my first Christian Tompta book (Gnome on a Mission) and have sent it out to beta readers. I also started revisions for book 2 (The Journey Home) and wrote my first query letter. The weekend was quite the success, though I think in the future I’ll stick to two nights rather than three as I was pretty stiff walking out of the hotel. Several days in a confined space do not do a body well!

In July met friends in Cleveland to see the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time. We ate dinner at the Great Lakes Brewing Company and stopped by to see the house from “A Christmas Story.”

IMG_3692  IMG_3686

This month we are reaping the benefits of my hubby’s garden and our counters are overflowing with cucumbers and tomatoes. He has already  canned  peaches, green beans and cherries (my favorite). I made pickles and we are looking forward to canning squash and tomato sauces and soup. Yum! I’ll have garden fresh flavors in the midst of winter.

This is my daughter’s senior year of high school, and that will cause me great sadness. I love her so much and am excited to see the choices she makes for her own life, but my family will be entering a new change soon, so I am going to live in these moments with her as much as I can.

This month will bring more family and fun to our home. I’m very grateful for the many blessings God has bestowed upon me. I hope you all are feeling the blessings too ,and enjoying your summers.

Peace!

The Quickening of Time

Have you noticed how fast time moves as you get older? Things that seemed to take forever as a kid now happen in a snap of the fingers.

For instance, my child is about to be grown. She will soon be able to do what she wants without my input. I hope she will still want it, but legally, she’ll be on her own. I’m looking forward to seeing how her life pans out, but her adulthood sure crept up on me. She was a babe and now she’s an adult – it happened in a blink.

What’s really weird is how much time that will free up for my husband and me. What shall we do with it? Then, just as soon as we get that free time, someone gets diagnosed with something that’s going to slow them down. We just can’t win with time, can we? When we are young and energetic, we don’t have the wisdom and when we are older and wise, we don’t have the energy.

So what can be done?

We must engage in each and every moment as much as possible. Put down our devices and spend time with each other. Look our lover, mother, daughter and friend in the eye to have a conversation. Visit grandma. Take in a museum. Compliment a stranger. Try a new food. Stomp some grapes. Paint something wonderful. Make introductions to the neighbors. Take a trip that’s been put off. Why has it been put off?

We must appreciate this life we’ve been given before it’s taken away. We must praise and pray to God who gave it to us. We must engage in it to our fullest capacity, rather than let it pass us by in a sleepy passive way. We must not waste a single minute.

Peace…

Retreat 2016

I just got back from a wonderful long and refreshing weekend with my writing buddy!

Our journey began when I picked her up at the airport and we headed off to Amish country, stopping to see three giant baskets along the way. The first was not actually a basket, but the Longaberger Corporate Offices, built in the shape of one of their classic baskets. Next, we stopped and saw a large apple basket at their homestead. Lights were on and a man was standing in the windows of one building so my friend ran and dipped through the bushes to capture a photo while I kept the car running. Finally, in Dresden, Ohio, stands the World’s Largest Basket. The pictures show the light fading, so I moved the car into various positions to try to get the best light, but it was difficult.

Giant Baskets

We stopped for dinner and finally made it to the hotel at about 8 pm. She brought a “Writer’s Toolbox” game/set and I brought wine and snacks, so we got busy working on timed prompts. We wrote, talked and laughed until past 1 am. I have now decided that writing games are the best games, and nobody loses.

The next morning we slept in a bit (only til 8ish) and then headed out to the Warther’s Museum where we saw amazing carvings. Mooney Warther carved only for hobby, but worked his way up from throw-away wood and beef bones to creating with ebony and ivory. He even used a bit of gold for a train spike! He discovered a way to make 32 cuts iinto a piece of wood to create a wooden pliers – no pins or screws or anything! The giant W made from three pliers connected was made by his son David, but Mooney made a sculpture of 511 pliers all together, creating a tree that folds up into what appears to be a church steeple. The guide advised us that the math and image just came to him one day in a vision. He went on to make knives as a business to support his family and they have an excellent reputation.

Warther_Museum

Though it was terribly cold outside, we also visited “The Button House” and the Warthers’ home. Mooney’s wife made mosaic pictures from buttons and as a creative person, I hold much respect. It was indeed interesting to see her work space. After our tours, we went back to the hotel for more writing exercises, this time taking our laptops downstairs to sit in front of the fireplace.

The next morning we woke up earlier and though the temperature said 5 degrees with a -1 windchill, we were off to investigate Amish country. Both of us were surprised at the commercialism of the area, but enjoyed the journey anyway. Besides the World’s Largest Basket, we also saw the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock. We shopped and toured an Amish quilt shop, a Christmas shop, an Amish grocer and a giant craft mall.

Amish Country

With so much to see, we kept busy until late afternoon when on our way back to the hotel, we veered off course to investigate a pretty multicolored building. It turned out to be a winery where we tested  local wines and bought some to share and some to bring home before we went back to the hotel to rest and write.

Retreat2016

On our last morning, we again awoke early and headed out for the three hour drive back to my house. On the way we stopped at Cottrill’s Sidewalk of Sculptures. Even though we were fogging up the windows in the car because the temps were so low, the art drew us from the car for an episode of photo-taking.

Cottrills_Sidewalk

Our last evening together, we spent chatting and planning a collaborative project. It was so sweet to see my good friend and writing buddy as it brought back memories of slumber parties, cozy nights by a fire, childhood reading, a crafting convention we attended together, good food and fun while also drawing out poetry and ideas for future stories.

Next up for me will be the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop this spring. Many good things are happening as I continue this crazy journey. I can hardly believe it’s already January of 2016!

I wish you the ability to keep warm, to cozy up with a good book and to have a peaceful winter…