This was such a fun interview. I love all of Kai Strand’s answers and hope that readers do as well! Please be sure to check out her amazing sounding middle-grade book, The Weaver!
A children’s author of middle grade and young adult novels, Kai Strand was born and raised in the mid-west, where she inherited a wholesome outlook on life. After a move and time living in California, Ms. Strand became a wife and mother to four amazing children. Kai Strand and her wonderful family now reside in Central Oregon where laughter is a common and daily sound which resonates from their residence.
Ms. Strand has a deep love of reading which she disguises as “research.” Kai Strand also loves to garden, and is trying out a greenhouse for the very first time this year. She also loves to sing. You may even come across her singing in Latin while browsing at Target. Most of the time she isn’t aware she’s singing aloud. Ms. Strand and her family love to hike and geocache. Kai walks an amazing 45 miles a month for exercise.
Please tell us a bit about your book: The Weaver — characters, plot, etc.
Mary lives in a town of storytellers, called word weavers. Her mother is the most revered weaver of them all, but poor Mary suffers through her third year in Novice Word Weaving. She meets an odd creature who agrees to grant her a wish and she’s so relieved that her troubles will soon be over. But the wish goes wrong and instead of weaving a better story, she is weaving strange yarn charms to accompany her still pathetic tales. Now, Mary must figure out how to overcome two problems instead of one.
If you could meet, in person, any of your characters, who would it be and why?
Though it would be great fun to picnic with Mary and her friends, if I had to choose just one, then I’d want to meet Unwanted. He has so much going against him in life, but he seems to just accept things as they are and face trials head on. I love his spunk and his naiveté.
If you could fictionalize yourself and put yourself in any situation, how would it play out? Could you give us a scene/scenario of such an occurrence?
I would be the strong-willed leading lady, living in a castle, wearing castle appropriate finery, but with comfortable shoes. I’m a romantic at heart, so there would have to be a handsome leading man who would eventually win me over. First we would have to overcome unreasonable misunderstandings with each other and then thwart a dastardly plan against me before we would reluctantly learn to see eye to eye and then suddenly realize all that tension we felt was us falling in love. Original — heck no. Fun — me thinks so.
Do you have any particular habits that you do while writing? Places you write the best, foods, drinks, etc that help set your “writing mood”?
I actually work at not being habitual, so I don’t have any idiosyncrasies like chocolate covered pineapple or even one particular writing spot. It does mean I sometimes have to force myself to fit writing in since I don’t have a set schedule.
What are you reading right now?
The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson. I don’t read a lot of older books because there are so many amazing new releases to get through, but Ms. Ibbotson recently passed away, so I wanted to read something of hers to honor her career.
Who are some of your favorite authors and/or books?
The predictable ones are J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Game series. But I also loved Flash Burnout and The Mermaid’s Mirror by L.K. Madigan, The Healing Spell by Kimberley Little, Just Breeze and Caves, Cannons & Crinolines by Beverly Stowe McClure.
If you could meet any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I can’t answer this question. It’s too hard to pick. I’d love to talk to J.K. Rowling about character development. In just two sentences you know the person and their quirks. It’s amazing. It would be fabulous to talk to Jonathan Stroud about Bartimaeus. Just that one character – oh how I LOVE that djinn. I’d pick Cindy Pon’s brain to talk about how to create such lush setting and fantastic pacing. Maybe I should just host a party.
Okay, here are a few “get to know you better” questions:
Please share with us a favorite memory.
I’ll harken back to a memory from when I was the same age of my readers, nine to 12 years old. I lived in a small town in Wisconsin. My sisters are way older than me. Like five and six years older. Summertime, the neighborhood kids would stay out late and play red light-green light. It was dark as pitch. Boys and sisters loved to jump out at me from behind things and make me scream and/or cry. But being a part of a group of kids just doing kid stuff meant so much to me. I loved those summer nights!
Please describe a perfect meal – including menu and those present.
A bacon-wrapped filet mignon and a glass of Shiraz is high on the list. But honestly, the best meal is Papa Murphy’s Garlic Chicken Take ‘n Bake, a season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, kids, husband. I have plenty of years to be snooty and chew my meat 25 times before swallowing, but I have so few to really enjoy having my kids as a captive audience.
What are some of your favorite ways to relax?
Venti white mocha and my laptop or a book at Starbucks.
A 4mph walk listening to Biggest Loser ’70s mix.
Singing. Singing almost always works.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I don’t think I’ve visited enough places to be able to determine this. I would need to do more research. I’ve been to the south of France. Nice. I would need to compare it with Southern Italy to be able to rule one out. Wyoming in the summer is glorious, but I’d need to make sure that Montana won’t one-up it.
If you could only read books by one author, who would it be? *I know, this is an inconceivable thought, lol.
My brow furrowed when I read this. I thought, “I understand each word, but strung together like this they make no sense.” Ha! Okay, let me give it a try.
Henry David Thoreau. He wrote so much. I’d eventually run out of material by him, but it would take so long by the time I started over again, it would never feel repetitive. Plus I find his words inspiring. It might make a better or, at minimum, more prolific writer out of me.
Share with us a few of your dreams. Also whether they have been fulfilled or are still a work in progress.
When I was young, I dreamed of being a professional ice skater. This dream did not come true.
When I was a young adult I dreamed of having three kids. This was a bonus dream, I had four.
When I was a less young adult I dreamed of being a published author. That dream is now a reality.
Now as a middle-aged adult, I dream of publishing a successful series. I’ll keep you posted on this one!
What are some of your guilty pleasures?
Crackers and cheese.
Excessive reading time.
If you could leave the world with one piece of advice, what would it be?
This might be a bit “deep” but you asked and I truly believe it.
Define what (or who) is important to you and make sure that each of your decisions in life either support that or does not undermine it. Don’t let the superficial or the daily mania pull you off track. Life is way more meaningful when you stay focused on what is important to you.