Interview with Krysten Lindsay Hager
What genre do you write and why?
I write young adult books because that is the age when I turned to novels to help me deal with the difficulties of growing up.
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is Competing with the Star, a YA romance about a high school girl named Hadley who finds the perfect sweet boyfriend who she bonds with. They have this amazing deep connection, but it’s all threatened when the teen celebrity next door interferes with their relationship. Hadley goes from feeling secure in her relationship to feeling like she’s competing with a star.
What marketing methods are you using to promote your book?
Right now I’m doing online book tours and I also have some book signings planned.
Who are your favourite authors?
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Paula Danziger, Judy Blume, Ann M. Martin, Sylvia Plath.
Who is you favorite character in your book and why?
I love the main character, Hadley, but I have to say I really enjoyed writing the transition for the Pilar Ito character. Pilar goes from a stereotypical mean girl to someone who is hurting from a breakup, a friend betrayal that she feels she can’t speak out about, and her grandmother’s dementia. She ends up becoming a great friend to Hadley when in the first book they never even speak directly. I also enjoyed writing Nick because so few male characters in books show the guys as feeling insecure. That’s something you don’t see as often and it was important to me to show that guys go through those feelings as well.
Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
I think readers will like the way Nick and Hadley’s relationship formed. So often we read about couples that have a superficial bond or a purely physical one, but Nick confides in Hadley about his grandpa’s Parkinson’s and dementia and it’s the first time he’s been able to share that with someone. Hadley knows how much Nick is hurting and offers to go with Nick on visits to the nursing home. You see how much they truly care about each other, so it’s devastating when something comes along to disrupt that relationship. She begins to wonder if she ever had the love she thought she did or if it was a fantasy. It’s easy to feel insecure on your best day, but when the girl who kissed your boyfriend used to be a TB star? That takes it to another level.
How long did it take you to write your book?
I actually wrote this book in just a few months—my fastest book ever! My father had just passed away and I was really struggling in my grief and the first Star Series book had just come out and I was getting messages from readers who wanted to know what happened with Nick and Hadley since they get together at the end of that book. I had never intended for it to be a series, but there I was sitting on my couch, trying to deal with missing my dad and suddenly I thought, maybe I should write about what happens next for them. I used my own pain over my dad’s sickness over the past year to be able to write about Nick’s and while I can’t say if it was therapeutic for me, I hope it helps someone who reads it.
Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?
As I began to write the book I started to see that there is so much under the surface when it comes to people’s emotions. I wanted readers to see that everyone has something they’re dealing with—Pilar seems like she has this charmed life, but in reality, she’s struggling because her own family history has been difficult with her grandmother’s dementia, etc. No one has a perfect life, but we don’t always realize that.
What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
I’m finishing the follow up to Competing with the Star. Since the book ended with Hadley’s favorite singer, Jack Brogger, announcing he was going to hold local auditions for his next music video, in the next book we will see Hadley get a part in the video—along with Simone, the star. Let’s just say Jack is everything Hadley thought he would be and more.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love watching TV, reading, shopping, and lately I’ve been learning about meditation to try and balance my crazy life. I used to be a journalist and I was the typical Type A girl, but then when I transitioned into creative writing, I changed a lot—living in Europe made me more laid back as well. But now I have to juggle my creative writing side with the business admin side of writing and it’s like—help! I see that Type A side slip out and I realized I need to get a handle on things.