Meet Kat Zhang, Author of WHAT’S LEFT OF ME
Posted by John Hansen
Before I do anything else, I just want to thank everyone who attended our first ever #TeenWriters chat Tuesday night. We trended Twitter for an hour! It was amazing. Today we have a very special guest to interview.
Please welcome Kat Zhang, author of WHAT’S LEFT OF ME!
Kat wrote and sold WHAT’S LEFT OF ME as a teenager, in a major deal to HarperCollins. Watch out for her. I bet she’ll top the NYT bestseller’s list as soon as her book releases. Find Kat on:
Pre-order @ Amazon
(Releases September 18th from HarperTeen!)
1. First off, welcome to Teens Can Write, Too! Thank you for agreeing to interview with us. It’s great that you sold your book to such a major publisher as a teen! What was that like? What was going through your mind when your agent called to say that your book sold?
Hi! Thanks for having me Selling the Hybrid Chronicles was really, really amazing.
We had a number of offers from different publishers for the trilogy, so the process was spread out over a few days, but the final offer we accepted happened on a Friday night, so it was a great way to end a week! I’d been on the phone with my agent and editors a lot during the days leading up, and hearing my agent saying she was going to close the deal was just the most fantastic thing ever
Funnily enough, that day was April Fools day, so I was thinking to myself, “This is either the best thing ever, or the best (worst) April Fools day prank ever!”
2. Your cover is made of awesome. What kind of input did you have in the cover process? Is the cover like you imagined it would be?
I think it’s made of awesome, too My editor and I did talk a bit about cover ideas, and I sent in a few covers I liked personally, as well as vague concepts. My editor was the one who first brought up the idea of an optical illusion, though. In the end, the designer just did such a fabulous job–the cover isn’t anything I’d imagined, really, it’s better
3. So, um, I’ve probably told you about five times now how excited I am for WHAT’S LEFT OF ME (and of course some people on Twitter are teasing me with the book’s awesomeness!), but it just looks so great. Can you tell us a little about it? How about one thing that isn’t in the blurb?
Sure! I won’t rehash the blurb, then. A lot of people wonder about the genre of the book, and it is a bit difficult to categorize. I call it “alternate reality” It’s got a dystopic element, but it’s not set in the future. It’s got sci-fi elements, but it’s not “hard” sci-fi. Hopefully, you guys can read it yourself and then tell ME what genre you think it belongs in!
4. If your main character ruled the world, what would she do first?
Hmm…our world or her world? If her world, she’d definitely stop all this antagonism the Americas feel for hybrids like her!
5. What advice would you give to aspiring teen writers?
Haha, I feel like I’ve gotten this down to a mantra, but: Write as much as you can and stress as little as you can. Focus on what you can change (how well you tell a story!) and not things you can’t change (book trends!).
6. Plotter or pantser?
I used to be a pantser 100%. That’s getting harder and harder to do now, though, so I’m trying to make my own process that gets the best of both
7. After you wrote WHAT’S LEFT OF ME (then known as HYBRID), did you always have a feeling it was good, or were you thinking to yourself “OMG OMG OMG. This sucks! No agent will ever represent this.” If the latter, how did you overcome this? Any tips?
There were definitely times when I doubted WLoM would ever get represented, let alone sold I think most writers doubt their own stories at some point–sometimes even after they’ve been sold. My critique partners were definitely a TON of help. It’s always great to have a support group. Also, it’s good to just distance yourself from a story sometimes when you start getting too freaked out about it–work on another story or just focus on other parts of your life for a while; get things in perspective
8. What inspired WHAT’S LEFT OF ME? Was this your first completed novel?
There wasn’t one big thing that inspired WHAT’S LEFT OF ME. I just started thinking about that little voice everyone has in the back of their head, and how sometimes in movies and such, it’s portrayed as this whole other voice, and what if that voice was really another person, and what if they were stuck inside your body…? That’s how the idea for Eva came about, and the rest of the story was based around her
WLoM was my second completed novel, actually. The first is buried deep in my hard driver
9. What was the most awkward/funny moment you’ve had with your agent or editor, whether during The Call or something else?
Haha, hmm…. Well, when we were brainstorming title ideas for Book 1, I was in Spain at the time, so we had to finagle a 3-way conference call with one person overseas, plus deal with the time difference and everything. We had a lot of fun brainstorm (some quite silly!) title ideas!
10. So how about first draft horror stories? They can be bad. What was the dumbest line (you can paraphrase) or note you made in your first draft that made you slap your forehead in embarrassment?
Oh, I don’t even remember. To be honest, there are probably lines in WHAT’S LEFT OF ME that seemed fine when I last looked at it months ago but would make me slap my forehead in embarrassment now! As writers, you’re (hopefully) always moving forward, getting better.
11. Anything else you’d like to add?
Only a thank you for having me!
Posted on August 16, 2012, in #TeenWriters Chat, Author Interview, Uncategorized and tagged books by teens, harperteen, hybrid, kat zhang, kat zhang teen, teen authors, what's left of me. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.