Thursday, May 14, 2020

Interview with middle grade novelist Kai Strand

Today's special guest is novelist Kai Strand. She's sharing a bit about the first book in her new Concord Chronicles fantasy series, Day of Reckoning.

During her virtual book tour, Kai will be awarding a $15 Amazon gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!


Kai Strand writes fiction for kids and teens. Her debut novel, The Weaver, was an EPIC eBook Awards finalist. Her young adult title, King of Bad, soared to the publisher's #1 spot in its second month and stayed on the Top 5 Bestsellers list for eight months, reaching #7 on Amazon’s best seller list. She’s been a wife for 28 years and is still madly in love. She’s the mother of four amazing young adults. The most common sound in her household is laughter. The second most common is, "Do your dishes!" She and her family hike, geocache, and canoe in beautiful Central Oregon, where they call home.

Welcome, Kai. Please tell us a little bit about your current release.
Not only does twelve-year-old Terra learn she’s a Nature’s Spirit destined to serve the peaceful underground city of Concord, but she also finds she is named in a prophecy as the only one who can thwart the leader of the death tribe.

The Trepidus are the death janitors of the Underworld. They’re responsible for the termination and cleanup of Concord’s beings. When their leader, Blanco, learns Terra is the one who can derail his day of reckoning, he does everything he can to get rid of her. Including, dispatch a “Bringer” to complete the ultimate of death janitor duties.

Not only does Terra want to stay alive, but she hopes to complete her training and discover her Spirit talents too. So, Frank, a Spirit of Security, is assigned to protect her. Together, they undertake a secret investigation of how to defeat Blanco. But with the future of Concord and Terra’s very own life at stake, will they find the answer in time?

What inspired you to write this book?
The inspiration for this book came years ago as I read through the Harry Potter series for the first time. I’d read the first four books in the series in just a matter of weeks, but the fifth book was months away from publication. I missed Hogwarts something fierce. That’s when I realized I had the ability to distract myself by making up my very own fantasy world. The first character that popped into my head was a transportation animal that resembled a mole. I thought to myself, who would need an underground transport animal and where would this person be going? Answering those questions gave me both Terra and the city of Concord - and a book idea was born.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m actually just finishing the first draft of the prequel for this series. It’s titled, The Making of Master, and it’s Frank’s story. I love Frank as much as I love Terra and readers deserve to know it.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Sadly, I did what most writers do, and I didn’t consider myself a writer until after my first paid publication. I’d had several shorts published online, many of them weren’t paid. Though they helped me build a resume, I somehow didn’t consider them valid since I hadn’t received money for them. So, my advice is, if you’re new to the writing gig, and you go through a submission process, and your work is chosen above other submissions for publication –consider yourself an author.

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 did write full-time for many years but grew tired of my own company and got a part-time job. Then, my husband’s business fell apart and I had to get a second part-time job to help with finances. Then, I decided I was tired of always having an old car, so I got a full-time job. After each change, it took me awhile to figure out how to work writing in. The longest adjustment, of course, was after going to work full-time. I write mostly on the weekends now. Where I used to be able to pound out a first draft in a couple of months, it now takes me SOOOO much longer. But I love writing, so I plug away. The ultimate dream would be to sell enough books and have enough speaking gigs to write full-time again. I miss it. Ironic, right?

As for full-time work, I consider myself pretty lucky on that front. I’m the Office Administrator for a family owned company that makes goat milk soap, lotion and other all-natural skincare products. We work on the forty acre family farm with a view of the Cascade Mountains. Hey, if you’ve gotta work full-time, it’s an incredible setting. And I can’t say enough good things about the products. I buy the ingredients, so I know the quality firsthand. If you have any skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, or even just dry skin, check it out. Or, if you just like super soft, healthy skin and like to know you aren’t putting toxins into your body, check it out. Tell them Kai Strand sent you – lol. Here’s my affiliate link if you’re interested. BEND SOAP COMPANY

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m really not a quirky person, so I can’t think of any writing quirks that I have. I’m really positive person. I smile a lot and think the best of people. I (mostly) always look forward in life because 1) I try to make informed decisions (no regrets) and 2) what’s done is done so why worry over what I’ve already completed? I apply that to my writing too. The biggest difference is I do go back and edit the work I’ve done, so there’s a little more looking backward there. Lol.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an archeologist in such a big, bad way. I envisioned myself digging in the Egyptian desert and finding artifacts that told more of Nefertiti’s story. Until, that is, I learned I was likely to come across large spiders and scorpions. Then I wanted to be a veterinarian but was horribly allergic to cats and dogs. My eyes would swell closed if I walked into a house with a cat and my arms would break out in welts if I pet a dog. Ironically, I stopped being allergic sometime in my adult years. I had avoided contact with both for so long that I honestly don’t know when it happened, but I’m making up for all of those years I couldn’t interact with them. Now I have three dogs and two cats.  

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
It’s been a pleasure visiting with you all today. I would love for you to hop onto any of my social media sites to say hi. My favorite part of being an author is visiting with readers and having passionate book discussions, so let me know what your (current) favorite read is or how you enjoyed my book, if you pick up a copy.

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Thanks for being here today, Kai.
Thanks for having me!

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Mason Canyon said...

Fun interview. It's always interesting to learn more about the authors we enjoy reading.

Lisa, thanks so much for being a part of Kai's tour and for sharing her book with your readers.

Kai Strand, Author said...

Thank you for such a fun interview! It was a pleasure visiting with you and I truly appreciate the opportunity to share Day of Reckoning with new readers.