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When the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died, the end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for younger children Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Visit Kai’s website, www.kaistrand.com, to browse her books, download companion materials or to find all her online haunts.
Welcome, Kai. Please tell us about your current release.
Do you love a bad boy? Jeff Mean is King of Bad.
Jeff is a budding pyromaniac who also has a way with the ladies. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie. That is, until he is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. When your classmates can do things like suck all the water out of your body or make you dance until your feet bleed, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff is bad, but is he bad enough for SVA?
What inspired you to write this book?
It isn’t uncommon to have an academy setting in young adult books. I’ve read Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins and Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead just to name a couple. One morning I woke up with the question, “Who trains the bad guys?” Suddenly, I wanted to know who trains people to be bad, to do bad things for personal gain? Before I knew it, I needed to tell that side of the good vs bad scenario.
(Meeting the crush)
“Source, who is she?”
Source followed Jeff’s line of vision. “Oh, that’s Oceanus. Don’t even think it, kid. She’s already found a match.”
“What do you mean?”
“See the guy next to her?”
“The skinny red head?” Jeff hoped.
“No, the other one.”
“Oh, the Adonis?” Jeff’s heart fell. He’d no hope to thwart the god-like S.V. seated next to Oceanus.
“Not far off. People call him Set. The God of chaos, storm, wind. He’s a great guy.” Sarcasm wrapped around Source’s words. “Descended from a long line of super villains Known he’s an S.V. his whole life so came to the school ready to rule from what I hear. Real nasty character, even for an S.V. You don’t want to piss him off.”
“Oh, I won’t piss him off. I don’t go looking for trouble.” Jeff considered his life before the academy and realized that looking for trouble was the only thing he used to do. He amended his statement, saying, “Much.”
His stomach knotted. Had the academy turned him into a coward?
Source chuckled. “Don’t worry. You’ll get a name and things will settle into some sort of normal. Once we figure out what your root ability is, I’ll help you develop it. Though, after your hulk impersonation, I doubt anyone will dare taunt you.”
Jeff felt the anxiety lift. Source was okay for a bad guy.
What exciting story are you working on next?
The second book in the Super Villain Academy series, Polar Opposites, will be released next year. I just finished a contemporary young adult romance that has jewel thieves and car chases and a lot of cheek fanning moments. And I’m writing the third book in my middle grade Weaver Tales series. It is always fun for me to visit The Tales, a village of Word Weavers (people who speak in story.) I really get to stretch my storytelling muscles in my Weaver Tale books.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
What a good question. It’s funny how difficult it is to consider yourself a writer. The day I was hired by a company as a Customer Service Rep, I immediately started calling myself one, but it took me a long time to start telling people I’m a Children’s Author. Even after my first book was published I stumbled over the title. I don’t think it was until after my second book was under contract that I felt comfortable saying it.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I am currently writing full time. I start my day off with promotion and social media. I like to share links to blogs I’m a guest of, or pass on links about my friends’ books, or my favorite authors. I read and share articles about writing, I write blog posts. Then I walk for about an hour. In the heat of summer, those two might be reversed. After a refreshing shower I’ll either sit down to write, or I’ll pack up the laptop and go write somewhere public (coffee house, library, park.) I write for between two to four hours. Then family time takes over. I really love being able to write fulltime.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I consider myself pretty quirk-less. I know that’s so boring and being a fiction writer I could make something up, but I’m really honest too.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An archeologist, until I found out about the bugs I’d encounter. A professional ice skater, until the rink in our town closed and I could no longer skate all the time. A rock and roll singer. That one is still an option!
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If you like a book, tell everybody you know. Not everybody will be interested in it and many will ignore your recommendation, but even if one or two people buy it based on your opinion, that is one or two more sales that author wouldn’t have had otherwise. It is so difficult for authors to get the information about their books in front of readers. If you want more books from that author, all you have to do is talk about why you like their work.
Buy the book!
Add it to Goodreads.
Thanks for having me!
You’re welcome! Readers, don’t forget about the giveaways!