Please welcome Kat Zhang, author of WHAT’S LEFT OF ME!
By the age of twelve, Kat had started her first novel and begun plans for her life as a Real Live Author (she was rather more confident at twelve than she is even now). Said plans didn’t come into fruition until seven years later, when her agent sold her trilogy, The Hybrid Chronicles, to HarperCollins. The first book, WHAT’S LEFT OF ME–about a girl with two souls–will released September 18, 2012. Book 2 in the series, ONCE WE WERE, will be released September 17, 2013.
Pre-order @ Amazon
(Releases September 18th from HarperTeen!)
1. First off, welcome to TCWT, and thank you so much for agreeing to interview with us. Personally, I think it’s beyond cool that you sold your book to such a fantastic publisher when you were only twenty. 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!” :P
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” :P 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 excellent, 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 :P 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 :P
10. Anything else you’d like to add?
Only a thank you for having me! :)