Friday, March 27, 2015

True Colors by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Today we will have the first in a "Two-Part" post, featuring Krysten Lindsay Hager and her True Colors series. so, get ready for some good stuff. Oh, and if you have a teenage girl, she just might like this series! Oh, and don't forget to come back tomorrow for part two.

So just who are we talking to? Allow me to introduce you to Krysten Lindsay Hagar.
Author bio: Krysten Lindsay Hager is an author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she
didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and also writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. TRUE COLORS is her international bestselling debut novel from Astraea Press and the first book in the series. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite TV shows. She received her master’s in American Culture from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Could you share a little about yourself and what led you to become a writer?
-I’ve been making up stories since I was a kid. When I was in the fifth grade, my teacher told my parents at a conference she thought I would grow up and become an author. My mom was a little thrown by that. I think at that time all my friends and I were obsessed with books (like the Sweet Valley series, The Baby-Sitters Club, etc.) but I think my mom thought it was just a phase. Fast forward to high school and I was still saying that was what I wanted to do, so my mother signed me up for a writing conference a few days after the end of my senior year. It is really great that your mother supported you and helped you in such an awesome way.

Do you write full time? How much of your life is set aside for writing?
-I don’t have a schedule, but I am very disciplined. I might not write every day, but I work on some aspect of writing, editing, plotting—something every day. It’s not a career where you can take breaks. I read somewhere that writers never take vacations and isn’t that the truth? I went away with a friend for a short trip and my mind was going, “Hey, so and so could have her break up scene in a place like this,” and, “Gotta get a picture of this house because this is how I imagined the beach house in my story would look.” Haha! Now I don't think there's an author out there that would disagree with that comment.

Could you tell us a little about your novel?
-My book is about an eighth grader named Landry who is torn between wanting to fit in and wanting to stand out. She gets pushed into trying out for a modeling reality show with her two best friends, but they “unfriend” her when she advances in the competition without her. Landry tries to make new friends, but gets caught up between wanting to be herself and conforming to who her new friends want her to be. Along the way she learns that modeling is nowhere as glamorous as it seems, how to deal with frenemies, a new crush, and that true friends see you for who you really are and like you because of it.
Would you take us on a brief tour of your novel and the world you’ve created?
-I’ve set the book in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which is not a city I’ve ever lived in, but I spent a lot of time there since I have family there. I felt this was a safer environment and more universal than the town I grew up in myself. Landry goes to a private school called Hillcrest Academy where she sees that having a small class means trying to co-exist with frenemies. I went to a small private school from kindergarten through eighth grade so it was a world I understood very well. Landry starts going to the high school basketball games with her friends and meets a ninth grader named Vladi who she develops a crush on, but he seems like he might be interested in her, too. In my mind, I even know Landry’s school bus route and the stops where her friends live. I get very detailed when I come up with an idea, but most of that information is just for me when developing the story. This is something we have in common...details and research to make sure all bases are covered, and yet the reader is rarely aware of any of it.

Where does the inspiration for you main character and story come from?
-My inspiration came from a college professor who said we should write the book we wanted to read and this was the book I wished I could have had at that age. I wanted a character who shared her insecurities and fears (along with her funny commentary about life) to let readers know they are not alone with what they’re feeling or going through themselves.

What is the message behind the story? Was it something you specifically wrote a story around or did it develop as your characters came to life?
-I knew I wanted to create an honest, realistic teen who shared her fears and insecurities and how she longed to be a part of one of those tight knit cliques at school, yet never quite felt like she fit in anywhere. I knew going in that I wanted to deal with the friendship aspect of it, but as I went along more things popped up like her feelings about her parents living apart due to her mother’s job transfer. Sounds like something teens will really relate to, and definitely enjoy reading. 

Do you work from an outline or just go with the flow? If you use an outline, how detailed is it?
I never used an outline until writing the second book in the series, Best Friends…Forever? (which will come out in 2015). It became easier to have plot points and things jotted down to finish book two and work on book three. I think for a stand alone project that free flowing works best for me, but with the series I have to admit the outline has been helpful. I have only outlined a novel once, because I was taking a writing course, and although I find it to be somewhat of a pain to do, I will admit that it had been a useful tool. I think certain genres, such as mysteries, would require an outline.

What is the time span in your novel, weeks, months, years? How much research went into it?
-The book begins in fall and goes until the week of Christmas vacation for my character. The second book (which will come out this year) picks up right where I leave off in book one because I hate reading a series where important stuff happens off the page. I want to see it all and not read a little catch-up paragraph, so the readers won’t miss anything.

I didn’t do too much research since it’s fiction, but I do keep a list of Landry’s school schedule and make sure it’s accurate for an eighth grader.

Could you tell us how you go about your research, how you ‘catalogue’ information to make it all work?
-I write fiction so not as much detailed research. I do keep track of what goes on in middle schools and high schools in terms of schedules, I use diaries/journals, watch tween and teen shows and read the magazines. I also know the area I’m writing about (even though I never lived there) so that helps.
That sounds like research to me!

How does this book differ from what you have written in the past?
-I think this book is more vulnerable than some of my past work. A lot of people know my journalism work or my humor essays or funny short stories whereas this one deals more with self-esteem issues. This book is still funny, which relates to my other work, but it’s more of a vulnerable work which is why I think people connect to it so much. My list of books to read just keeps growing...

How have the changes in present day publishing impacted your schedule as a writer?
-It is more time consuming now due to social media. There are different time zones to consider, too. You might be dealing with bloggers, readers, interviewers, or reviewers from other countries and have to work on their hours. I enjoy meeting new people, so I have fun doing it, but it takes a lot more time than people realize. I think we (and people in general) would be shocked at just how many hours we spend on the marketing of our material, something that takes away from our writing time.

How do you handle marketing? Do you have a plan, a publicist or just take one day at a time?
-I’m not a planner when it comes to anything, so I take it one day at a time. I promote other writers on my blog all the time and not myself so much on there.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
-Take as many classes (literature classes, creative writing classes) as you can and go to conferences and workshops to learn about the business. There is so much to learn and like any other career you need training and education before you dive in.

Could you tell us what you’re working on now?
-I am writing the third book in the Landry’s True Colors series. I also am working on an older YA novel, another upper middle grade one and an adult novel as well. I just had the best time last night writing a funny scene with Landry and her crush. It’s moments like that when a scene really comes together that makes all the hard part worthwhile.

Tagline: A little competition can really bring out people’s true colors.

Blurb: Landry Albright just wants to be one of the interesting girls at school who always have exciting things going on in their lives. She wants to stand out, but also wants to fit in, so she gives in when her two best friends, Ericka and Tori, push her into trying out for a teen reality show modeling competition with them. Landry goes in nervous, but impresses the judges enough to make it to the next round. However, Ericka and Tori get cut and basically "unfriend" her on Monday at school. Landry tries to make new friends, but gets caught up between wanting to be herself and conforming to who her new friends want her to be. Along the way she learns that modeling is nowhere as glamorous as it seems, how to deal with frenemies, a new crush, and that true friends see you for who you really are and like you because of it.

Back Cover BlurbEvery day I walked down the sidewalk to school and wished I were one of the interesting popular girls who ran up with exciting news. Just once I’d like to be one of those girls instead of the being the one who didn’t get invited to things because people “forgot” about me.
Landry Albright gets pushed into trying out for the American Ingénue reality show modeling competition with her two best friends. She doesn't think she stands a chance, but she advances to the next level in the competition and her friends ignore her when they get cut.
Enter the gorgeous Devon Abrams, who also makes the first cut and includes Landry in her clique. Devon becomes the perfect best friend, but can their friendship survive the competition?
Landry hopes her big break could come at any moment, but soon sees there's much more to modeling than just getting your hair done and looking pretty. She begins missing out on being with new friends like Ashanti, a girl who truly has Landry's back. Landry also has the chance to have a boyfriend when she meets a boy named Vladi from another school.
Part of Landry wants to be famous (and have her hair look good for once), but part of her just wants to be accepted. She learns about friendships, being true to yourself, and that a good hair conditioner doesn’t hurt either.
While I was deciding whether or not to chicken out, the stage manager, Georgia, started having the girls go out on stage. I overheard somebody say one girl fell out of her shoe as she stepped on the runway.
“Is she okay?”
“Yeah, she’s fine. She just pretended to have two heels on and walked on her tip toes,” Georgia said.
I would have burst into tears and run off the stage — kind of like I did when I was four years old and in a dance recital. We were supposed to be little ballerinas and have scarves attached to our tutus, but my mom was still in school at the time and she came home late and forgot to give me my scarves. So all the other little girls pulled out their scarves, and there’s a video of me looking on either side of my tutu for my scarves and then bursting into tears crying “Mommy!” as I ran off the stage. My grandmother said I was adorable, but I don’t think it was any coincidence my grandfather died two weeks later.
At least I didn’t have to worry about missing scarves tonight. All I had to do was focus on not tripping. If I could just make it down the runway and back, I’d be fine. Unless, of course, I suddenly came down with Tourette’s Syndrome and started swearing live on the air… but I’d know if I had Tourette’s, right? It doesn’t just come on out of nowhere, does it?
“Okay, girls. Your group is next,” Georgia said.
I took a deep breath. All I had to do is say, “My name is Landry, and I’m from Grand Rapids.” Easy—as long as I didn’t get the dry heaves or puke into the microphone and electrocute myself…or get diarrhea on live TV. Why did I ever go to the audition in the first place? Everything was fine when I was just boring old Landry fading into the background. The girls at school were a lot nicer to me when I was nobody special. I mean, before this stupid competition I had friends, but now it seemed like there was no one I could trust. Maybe if I lost this stupid thing I could go home and everything would be back to normal.
“Okay, girls. You guys are next.” Georgia pushed me in the back. “Don’t forget to smile,” she said in my ear.
Then the girl in front of me morphed into a different person. She straightened her spine and walked with a little skip in her step. “I’m Desiree, and I’m from Sterling Heights,” she said in a low sexy voice. Great, I had to follow her.
“I’m Landry, and I’m from Chicago, Illinois,” I said. I moved away from the microphone and realized I said “Chicago” instead of “Grand Rapids,” so I went back to the microphone to correct myself and slammed into the next girl. She acted like she didn’t notice, but I had hit the microphone and it made a shrieking noise. I heard laughter. People were laughing at me. On television. I wanted to die.
I saw Georgia gesturing at me to get off the stage, and I walked off. I had been practicing my stupid runway walk for weeks and for what? A chance to humiliate myself on live TV? I’ve always been sorta accident prone. If anybody was going to do something stupid and embarrassing it was probably me, but I thought I could control myself for two seconds on live television. I’m such an idiot.

Buy Links:

Connect with Krysten:

Amazon author profile

Book reviews:

From Teenage Book Recommendations in the UK:

Review- "This is a fantastically relatable and real book which I feel captures all of the insecurities and troubles which haunt the modern teenage girl. It is about a young model who has to go through tough times when she is torn between a life as a model and managing her friendships. You learn which friends she can most trust and which will create the drama typical of teenage life. Follow the life of Landry and try to see if you can find out which are her true friends before their true colours are revealed. This book is all about relationships, hopes and truth. I loved this book!"
Review from Purple Pen Book Reviews: Heart-touching  Life Story and Great Read!!

When I first started reading Krysten’s book, I thought to myself that she must no everyone’s story at any given time in their life, we have all had to deal with some kind of drama, rumors, judgment, and loss of friendship and hoping to gain friendship.

This book should be read by all tween & teen girls, I believe each one would have some sort of connection to Landry. By the way, I love that name, “Landry!” Every woman worries about how they look and how other people perceive them to be; doesn’t matter if we are tweens, teens, in our twenties, middle-age or older. when we all look in the mirror, we all wonder.

And Krysten, shows this and more in her book and how we all can learn from what she has written. A great story with a great lesson and great morals. Keep writing, Krysten!!

From Books & Authors Spot:
So this book was just so awesome due to which I have rated this book 5/5, first book on the blog to receive full marks. This book is about Landry Albright, a fourteen year old girl who hates her hairs and forehead. She underestimate herself but she is really tall and she's a great writer. Her best friends Tori and Ericka forces her to participate in a modeling contest. Landry knows that she will be rejected as she is not gorgeous. But to her surprise, judges select her and her best friends Tori and Ericka get rejected. Ericka and Tori become jealous and they starts to ignore Landry.

Landry's heart breaks, due to the ignorance of her best friends. Meanwhile, she also gets second place in a short story writing competition. Landry makes a new best friend, Devon but she is really moody due to which things get complicated between them. Landry also befriends Ashanti, Peyton, India, Arianna. Landry likes a guy, Kyle but she knows that he will never have feelings for her as she is not gorgeous.

Landry fails the competition and it doesn't matter to her. She gets modeling opportunities from some modeling agencies, and she starts to model for an agency. A super handsome guy Vladi falls in love with him and Tori and Ericka want Landry back.
Know more about Landry's chaotic life which so relates every teen girl...

Never underestimate yourself.

This book is such an inspiration for those who just care about their looks and are tensed about them. This thing is looks aren't every thing. This book is related to every teen's problem. Hager has written a very inspiring novel.

RATE: 5/5

"Inspiring... Perfect for a depressing day."

Book review from teen book blogger: Indyia's Reviews!

Krysten Hager's "True Colors" is GREAT book for teens! I'm in love with this book because almost ANY middle school, or even high school teens can relate to this! This book opens up when the main character, Landry Albright, is going through the typical stage of wanting to fit in! She gets an opportunity of trying to fit in when her best friends Tori and Erika push her into trying out for this teen reality modeling show! Landry goes for it and ends up making it to the next round! Little Landry? Making it to the next cut? Who would've ever thought! Even she was surprised! The real problem comes when her two friends Erika and Tori get cut! Of course, being jealous and mad and they unfriend her the next day! Landry tries to make new friends! Through this journey she gets caught up in trying to be herself, but also wanting to be "perfect middle school girl" to meet her new friend's standards! Landry learns throughout the story how to deal with her new found enemies, a crush, and she figures out modeling isn't this great big fairy tale world! In the end, she figures out that true friends will love you for you! I love the moral of this story because to me, it's very self motivating! It's okay to be yourself and a little quirky sometimes! I defiantly give this book a 5 out of 5!! After all, "Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself!" -Coco Chanel

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