I'm pleased to welcome author Laekan Zea Kemp today to promote her YA novel, The Girl in between.
But the appearance of this strange boy isn't the only thing that’s changed. Bryn’s symptoms are worsening, her body weakening as she’s plagued by hallucinations even while awake. Her only hope of finding a cure is to undergo experimental treatment created by a German specialist. But when Dr. Banz reveals that he knows more about her strange symptoms than he originally let on, Bryn learns that the boy in her head might actually be the key to understanding what’s happening to her, and worse, that if she doesn't find out his identity before it’s too late, they both may not survive.
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Thank you for being with us, Laekan. Please do tell, what inspired you to write this book?
I started working on this novel in April of last year and, to be honest, I can't really remember where the original idea came from. Probably because I can't really remember what the original idea even was. I know that it started out as a contemporary standalone and I'd been really interested in exploring dual narrative again but I suppose the story started out the way all of my stories have--with the central relationship. It isn't always a love story that's central to my novels but I do like to focus on human relationships, whether that's familial or within the context of first love. The characters always come to me first and the various means of torturing them always comes later.
If you could host a diner party with two writers who would you pick and what would you serve?
That's easy. My two favorite authors are Maggie Stiefvater and Melina Marchetta and as long as I could delegate the cooking responsibilities to someone else, we'd have an Irish potluck/Italian-style Sunday night dinner with plenty of Guinness and chocolate everything.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
The advice I would give to aspiring artists in general is to dive into your passion with a clear vision. It doesn’t have to be glamorous or grandiose, it just has to be clear. In fact the more specific it is the better. So many of us struggle with validating our choice to pursue the arts and because of that sometimes we have a tendency to shy away from the risk and rejection that comes along with it. We tow the line between our dreams and the more practical expectations of the people around us and wonder why we’re unsatisfied. Don’t be afraid to make declarations and definitely don’t be afraid to make them loud enough for other people to hear. Be honest about what you want, regardless of how silly it may seem to others, and do something every day that brings you closer to that goal.
What are you working on now -- or would you rather surprise us?
It takes time for an idea to fully form in my head to the point where I’m willing to devote 6-8 months to exploring it so I’m not sure when I’ll revisit the paranormal genre again but coming up next I do have plans for a few contemporary romance novels followed by my foray into the dystopian genre.
Thank you for being with us Laekan, and good luck on all your future projects.