Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Kai Strand, Beware of the White

AUTHOR: Kai Strand
BOOK TITLE: Beware of the White
PUBLISHER: MuseItUp Publishing
Or look for it on iTunes

Please tell me how long you've been writing, and why you decided to become a writer.

It was the summer before my daughter entered fourth grade. She still hadn’t really taken to reading and I was determined to help her discover the wonders of losing herself in a book. I’d heard so much about the Harry Potter series, and I thought, I bet if she sees me reading them, she will too. We both devoured the first four books that summer. Yet the release of the fifth book was months away. I decided I could create a fantastic world of my own. That was nine years ago.

Are you a full-time writer or a part-time writer, and how do you organize your writing time?

I just recently became a part-time writer again. I got a part-time job (5 hours a day). It is so recent, I haven’t really had an opportunity to figure out a schedule yet, especially since I’m on tour and getting ready to release another book in July. However, I wake up pretty early in the morning to do some basic online promotion before work. I’m on the west coast, so I am already starting the day late anyway. I feel it’s best that I get online early and be part of that day’s conversations.

What influences your writing?

Most definitely life. I write mostly fantasy, but real life elements are what make fantasy work. Emotion, situations, relationships, struggles, joys, celebrations, embarrassments, and accolades are all key to a good story.

Is this your first published work?  What other types of writing have you done?

My first published work was a short story called Bungling Lulu, about a clumsy pixie who just passed her flying test and has to chant the pixie credos in order to follow the rules of the air. (Like the rules of the road – to a flyer). It was originally published by KidVisions a defunct online magazine, but was republished by Knowonder and is now included in the story collection Herman’s Horrible Day. I have shorts in each of Knowonder’s story collections.

I have three other middle grade novels published; The Weaver and The Wishing Well: Another Weaver Tale, which are lyrical books filled with a little magic and a lot of storytelling. And Save the Lemmings, a contemporary novel about a girl who invents a product that makes her an overnight sensation – and how that impacts her life and threatens to derail her sunny disposition. My first young adult novel, King of Bad, releases in July. It’s filled with teenage super villains, so it’s safe to assume lots of mayhem ensues throughout the book.

Why did you choose to write a children's story?

It is rather cliché. Because I have kids. Reading books to them and with them exposed me to the wonders of children’s literature in a way I never noticed when I was young. My son had double vision and fell way behind in reading early in elementary school and I wanted to create stories that I knew would draw him in and make him WANT to read. Up until then reading had been a tremendous chore for him. It’s all about the kids.

What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book?

The idea started with a Molly. I was suddenly struck with this furry mole-like creature that was used like a trolley. I thought, Hmmm, where would you use a Molly and why? When I sat down at the computer to write, the story poured out of me quickly. I had so much fun creating this happy, peaceful Underworld. Especially its creatures. However, it was the first novel I wrote – nine years ago. And it was chockfull of really horrible writing. It took me this long to get it into publishable shape. I talk about each step in the process in more detail on my tour.

What are your thoughts on traditional versus self-publishing?

I hang my head and admit to starting out as one of the snobs who turned my nose up at self-publishing. I’m happy to say that a better caliber of writer has improved the product tremendously and I’m so thrilled to see some worthy authors finding success. My personal hero is Susan Kaye Quinn, author of the Mindjack Trilogy. I keep toying with the idea of trying it myself, but I’m a chicken. I enjoy working with small press publishers. It is a good fit for me. But I like that I have the option to include self-publishing in my portfolio if I choose to in the future.

What is your marketing strategy?

Strategy is defined as a plan, method or series of maneuvers. I do not consider myself a strategist. That said, I guess the closest I come to a strategy is to keep my work/name/face in front of as many people as possible so that when they are ready to make a choice of their next book, or a birthday present for their child, or end of the year present for the teacher’s classroom, they think of my books. I also truly enjoy the social aspect of social media, and love to be able to converse with readers in big and small ways because of it.

What are your thoughts about children's writers needing an agent or not needing one?

I think children’s writers are lucky that having an agent is not required to make a go at the industry. I feel I’ve done well without agent representation. That said, I would love to have one for two reasons. One, to get in with a big publisher. I don’t want my entire career in big publishing houses, but I would love a book or two to have the advantage of that distribution channel. Two, I would love to free up all the time I spend on researching the proper fit for a book so that I can write more. Finding a good fit takes a lot of time. Time I’d love to spend creating more books.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

My website is the best place to start, It has blurbs for all of my books, teacher’s materials, downloads, my social media haunts and upcoming appearances. Also, I’d love for people to visit the other stops on my tour and enter my big book related prize packages giveaway!

Tour Schedule and Prize Packages Giveaway can be found HERE:

Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children's literature?

This is one of the nicest industries you will ever work in. People share their knowledge and resources and support each other’s successes and commiserate each other’s heartache. Don’t be afraid of it, it is a genuine culture. Jump in and join the conversations, ask questions, listen to the answers, join a critique group. If you want this to be a career, network and socialize and give back! 

Oh and read, read, read! Be sure to include current books from the genre/target age you want to publish in. I guarantee you the writing style from your childhood is no longer viable.

Please give us a brief synopsis or excerpt from your current book and when and where it will be available.

About the book 
As is tradition, Terra learns on the Saturday past her twelfth birthday that she is a Natures Spirit. It is her legacy to serve in the peaceful underground city of Concord. Learning she is named in a prophecy and being threatened by the leader of the death tribe…that part breaks tradition. 
The Trepidus are the death janitors of the Underworld, responsible for delivering fatalities with a smile and cleaning up after themselves until Blanco, recent leader of the Trepidus, decides the day of reckoning for his species is coming. He begins organizing the creatures and leads them toward an uprising. The prophecy says there is one person who can stop him. Terra. 
With Spirit of Security, Frank, protecting her, Terra attempts to complete her training and discover her Spirit talents. Together, they go on a rogue investigation to learn how to defeat Blanco. In the end, it comes down to a battle of the minds. The future of Concord is at stake. Will Blanco, the older, more experienced being win? Or will Terra, the young, new Spirit earn back the peace of the city?

BEWARE OF THE WHITE is available now through any of the buy links I’ve provided. Please visit my blog for more book launch fun! Tour Schedule and Prize Packages Giveaway can be found HERE:

The creature’s direct gaze caused her to shudder. Pushing off the wall, it seemed to float across the room toward her. No characteristic slapping sound registered when its bare feet flopped with each step. It never blinked and never broke eye contact. A chill enveloped Terra as it stopped an arm’s length away. She wanted to curl up in a ball, sob and plead for it to leave, but Terra instinctively suppressed her fear and stared back at it, erasing all emotion from her face.
“I have come to warn you.” The horrible voice sounded like a thick gel bubbling up through a pipe full of gravel and coarse sand.
The creature’s throat buckled and undulated as if the words physically worked their way up through its vocal cords. Terra expected the words to tumble from its mouth and plunk to the floor, a sort of sick word vomit. She shook from the effort of swallowing past her gag reflex and fought the impulse to turn away.
“You’ve come to warn me? Warn me about what?” Terra asked.
“You have been figured to be the enemy of my beings. My leader has sworn to destroy you.”


  1. Thank you, Penny for hosting me today. Your interview questions were fun to answer! Thanks for supporting my blog tour.

  2. My pleasure, Kai. Good luck with your tour!

  3. Great interview. I'm always interested to hear author's opinions on small presses vs. self-publishing. I might look more into that myself soon.

    1. Thanks, Rena. If you ever have any questions about working with a small press, just drop me an email. I'm happy to share whatever I know.