Once Upon A time

When I think of fairy tales I think…once upon a time…however, this one started with “Tucked in a lush valley between two snow-capped mountains was the village of The Tales.”  I love fairy tales but never did I think I would meet the author of one.  In reading The Weaver by Kai Strand, iKai - windowt only took a few pages to realize I was being pulled into a real, live, fairy tale.  Kai’s writing is truly reminiscent of the greats.  Her style flows easily, the characters are likable and there’s a valuable message for finding one’s destiny.  The Weaver is a delightful story containing all the elements of a good fairy tale; a sweet little girl trying to achieve what she feels is an unreachable goal, a clever little blue creature, and mother as magical as any fairy Godmother.

Weaver Tale Cover - Copy

 

 

 

 

The first thing that caught my eye about Kai was her first name.  I guessed wrong, it does not mean sea in this case.  Here’s how she explained the meaning to me.  “My name has a funny story behind it. It’s my middle name. Pronounced like the letter, K. My mom wanted to spell it Kai saying that was the Swedish way (her heritage.) My dad said that was weird. So she spelled it Kae (really, not much LESS weird, but whatever.) I’ve always spelled it Kai because I liked the weirdness. So when I was rooting around for a pen name, I thought, “Oh, duh!” So I googled Kai Strand and got a lot of Swedish men. <–Maybe my mom would have known that if Google existed when I was born. Oh well, again, I like the weirdness of being the only female Swedish (decent) Kai Strand, too.

Kai’s volume of work is daunting.  She didn’t stop with children’s books, but kept moving up the years to young adult.  Follow along with me as I get to know Kai better.

Q:  Tell us a little about yourself.

A:  Thanks for having me, Kathleen. First and foremost, I’m a wife and the mother of four. I’ve been telling stories my entire life, but I’ve been a published author for just over four years. I write middle grade and young adult and just had my tenth title published. Publication day is still as thrilling as the first time around! Personally, I’m addicted to pizza and—thank goodness—I’m a compulsive walker (allows me to load up on the pizza). Handling raw meat and running into a scorpion gives me the willies. I’m a Mozart fangirl and have been caught wandering the aisles in the grocery store singing his Requiem. In Latin. Aloud.

Q:  When did you start writing and why?

A:  It was between the release of books 4 & 5 in the Harry Potter series. My daughter and I had plowed through the first four books during the summer. When the kids went back to school, I was left alone with my Hogwarts withdrawals. It was then I decided to entertain myself by creating a world of my very own. That book, though not my first published book, later became Beware of the White.

Q:  Where’s your favorite place to write?

A:  It varies depending on the kind of atmosphere I need. I mostly write at home in the quiet while my children are at school, but sometimes I need noise or activity around me so I go to a coffee shop or the library. Then other times I just need to be out of the house, so I’ll go to a park and write next to the river or staring at the Cascade Mountains.

Q:  When I read The Weaver I felt a definite classic fairy tale quality to your work. What made you decide to write in this style?

A:  I’m so glad you did. Not all of my books have that feel, but all The Weaver Tales do. The Weaver came about when I was poking around my head for a writing idea. I was staring at the website for my critique group and thought to myself, I’m so glad we don’t all live in the same town. I’d feel completely inferior if I lived with all these talented storytellers. Oh, my – there’s an idea for a book. Since I’d decided to set the story in a village of storytellers, it felt natural to add the old world, fairy tale feel.

Q:  You successfully write for the middle-grade readers and young adult readers, which came first and do you have a preference?

A:  Writing for middle grade came first. I added young adult simply because an idea that was better suited to teenaged characters struck me. I think my preference is whatever I’m writing at the time. I love writing for tweens because it’s such a formative time of life. Kids are truly discovering who they are and books can help shape them, teach them, open their minds to new possibilities, let them know they aren’t alone. Writing for young adults is fun because there is no limit on what subject, content, even the language I use. Though I don’t like to write inappropriate behavior or speech, I like that I can if the story requires it. Plus people who read YA are very passionate about their books and become truly invested in the characters.

Q:  What are your goals in writing?

A:  Writing is my profession, so my goals are mostly attached to my livelihood. Be able to earn enough to assist with mortgage and utilities, buy an occasional mocha and attend a movie now and again. In five years maybe even have more disposable income to go on a ‘research’ trip. Otherwise, I hope my writing impacts readers intellectually by making them stop and think, and/or emotionally with a character’s journey living within them on some level.

Q:  What is your favorite thing about writing? What do you like the least?

A:  Any and all contact with readers is the most rewarding thing for me. I love classroom visits where I have good conversations with students about books. I love signing events where I get to meet my readers. I love reader email and when they stop by my Facebook page to say how much they enjoyed a book or how excited they are for an upcoming release.

Least of all…editing. Ugh! Especially between the second draft and when I get to work with a critique partner or editor. Those passes when I’m alone in the story again and again is never as exciting as the first draft (LOVE the creation phase), it is all very tedious for me.

Q:  Who are your favorite authors and why?

A:  Maggie Stiefvater – for her beautiful use of the English language.

Jonathan Stroud – for his humor.

Cassandra Clare – for her compelling story lines.

Q:  Describe an average day for Kai Strand?

A:  It’s frightfully boring. Promotion, exercise, writing, cooking, reading or television. Nothing glamorous.

Q:  What do you like to do in your spare time?

A:  That’s a little more fun! Central Oregon is a beautiful place and we have tons of BLM lands and great trail systems, rivers, and lakes to enjoy the beauty from. So I spend a lot of time outside.

Q:  Where do you go from here?

A:  My next book is a young adult speculative fiction and the final book in my Super Villain Academy series. It’s scheduled for release in June. I’m really excited for that series to be complete. Unlike the Weaver Tales, which are each stand alone stories set in the same fictional village of The Tales, SVA is a trilogy with an over arcing storyline that you have to read in order and comes to an exciting conclusion in Super Bad (SVA#3).

 

SVA series

 

Kai’s books are available on Amazon.com

Drop by Kai’s blog at Strand of Thought to learn more.  Very clever use of your last name Kai!

Please leave comments by clicking on “comment” under the date upper left of the blog.

digitalbookcoverupdated (2)EASmokeandMirrors Front Cover (3)-page-001

Visit me at http://www.kathleenandrewsdavis.com

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Deanie Humphrys-Dunne
    Apr 08, 2015 @ 15:15:30

    Another excellent interview, Kathleen. Ms. Strand has an interesting story that your readers will certainly enjoy.

    Reply

  2. Sandra Foust Geimer
    Apr 08, 2015 @ 15:40:19

    I loved reading this interview; it was interesting and fun to read. The authors’ books will reach many readers and will certainly be fun reading. Her book covers are “alive” and they certainly reach out to the reader.

    Reply

  3. kaistrandauthor
    Apr 09, 2015 @ 11:03:14

    Thank you for such an enjoyable interview, Kathleen. And for the lovely review of The Weaver. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

    Reply

  4. Gryphon
    Apr 23, 2015 @ 09:50:55

    Great interview! Interviewing is a weakness I am working on in my writing…I tend to become involved in the conversation and the experience rather than reporting it for someone else to read. Kai is really inspiring and I can’t wait to check out her books! I hope that someday I can write something my daughter will connect with (she’s 14). She is not the reader I was at her age but thankfully she has not had the childhood and challenges I have had either. Not long ago I took her to a book signing for Kiera Kass’s The One. To see her so excited about a book and Author was one of the best experiences I have had with her. Kiera was so sweet and genuinely happy to speak with us. Thank you again. I’m now following so I can see what you do next.

    Reply

  5. Gryphon
    Apr 23, 2015 @ 09:52:35

    Ahh I spelled her last name wrong it’s Cass…my apologies. If you could edit I’d be forever grateful. Peace and warm happy fuzzies to you 😊

    Reply

  6. Kathleen Andrews Davis
    Apr 23, 2015 @ 11:11:25

    Hi Gryphon, Thanks for stopping by for visit. Taking your daughter to a book signing is great! I can’t think of a better way to get her interested in reading. Be sure to read the same books she does so you can share the experience together.

    Reply

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