We have another guest on the Lit Ladies today! We are so lucky to have so many wonderful women writer friends. If you missed yesterday’s post, you can check it out here. It’s very inspiring about failure, and you can enter to win a book titled: Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life, which is a memoir with self-help ideas.
If you love young adult, this is the place for you today! We welcome Krysten Lindsay Hager with her debut novel, True Colors, the story of Landry Albright, who just wants to be one of the interesting girls at school. 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. 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.
Sounds like a book everybody needs to read–teens and up! So read the interview below and then enter to win your own e-copy for Kindle (you don’t have to have a Kindle to read an e-book. Kindle has a free app you can download on to any device or computer!).
LL: Welcome, Krysten, we are so glad to have you at the Lit Ladies. What gave you the idea to write the book True Colors?
Krysten: I grew up reading different YA series books about close-knit friends like in the Babysitters Club series, Fabulous Five, etc. and I always wanted to be in that sort of group and have those friends who always had your back. So when I was in sixth grade, I created a story with a crew like that. Fast forward to college and a professor mentioned a quote about writing the book you want to read, and I thought back to that sixth grade idea. However, this time I decided to give the main character a realistic approach and have her feel like everyone around her has this, but soon she realizes no one has the perfect friends or the perfect life—no matter what books, magazines, and social media sites try to tell you with their happy, perky pictures.
LL: Agreed! And I love how you took your idea from childhood and turned it to something real for today. Tell us about your main character, Landry. What are her strengths and weaknesses?
Krysten: Landry is a very loyal friend, maybe even too loyal at times. She doesn’t have the highest self-esteem, and she often backs down from arguing or standing up for herself for the sake of keeping the peace. She tries to keep other people from getting their feelings (or egos) hurt, and sometimes she hides her “light” a little bit because of that. She’s a definite “over-thinker” something she *may* have inherited from me…
LL: Me too. I am an over-thinker! My critique group tells me that all the time! How does she grow throughout the novel?
Krysten: In the beginning, she only hangs around with her two best friends; and after they shut her out, she is forced to branch out and make new friends. She has to come out of her shell to try and meet people, and she often finds herself hiding her accomplishments to keep her friends from getting jealous. As time goes on, she begins to learn what true friendship is and be a better friend herself.
Landry assumes everyone else has it better than she does with their perfect lives and friendships. She begins to learn that isn’t the case and that everyone has their own insecurities and worries. There’s a part of the story where she tells Devon how she’s always wanted dark, curly hair like hers and felt that was the ideal, and Devon responds she always wanted hair like Landry’s. We always think the grass is greener on the other side, don’t we?
LL: Oh, yes! For any of our readers interested in YA, what are two or three tips for getting a manuscript to a publishable state for this age group?
Krysten: The main thing is to read the genre. Sometimes I go to conferences and hear manuscripts where the person obviously just read a couple of teen magazines and thinks they know how teenagers talk. Or they fill the dialogue with trendy slang that will be outdated in a month or two. I always credit my lit classes in college with helping me learn how to put together a story as well as my writing classes and critique groups. Plus, going to conferences and workshops help you learn about the business.
LL: In your opinion, why do so many adults love to read YA?
Krysten: For me, I loved the genre at that age, so it’s not a surprise I still appreciate it. You might be able to sell an adult a subpar story, but a teen or kid will just stop reading the story. So you have to up your game and be authentic and honest. And it’s that part of it that I think appeals to so many adults—that authenticity and honesty.
LL: Okay, sell your book here! Why should someone buy or enter to win TRUE COLORS?
Krysten: True Colors deals with the friend drama, jealousy, insecurities that we’ve all dealt with as tweens/teens (and as adults, too!), but in a funny way through Landry’s eyes. We go through her dealing with frenemies, worrying about fitting in, and those modeling auditions that make her stress out (and hopefully make the reader laugh and cringe with her!). I hope people can enjoy the humor and feel a little less alone, realizing that everyone goes through periods of insecurity. I also hope the message that we each have something unique that makes us special comes through. I try to show that instead of trying to fit in, we should appreciate our differences.
Thanks for having me on today to talk about Landry and True Colors!
You can buy your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/True-Colors-Krysten-Lindsay-Hager-ebook/dp/B00L2G0YJS/
Enter to win below!