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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Author Interview: Lana Krumwiede

I met Lana this summer at the Writers and Illustrators for Young Readers Conference. She was super nice, pleasant to chat with, unassuming-even with having an awesome book deal-which she didn't even mention until a long way into our conversation. So take notes authors-chat, be nice, people will like you and then when you mention an upcoming book-we'll think-WOW this super nice person has a book deal, it couldn't happen to a better gal. And then we'll mark the date on our calendars and eagerly await the arrival of your book. I still have the awesome bookmark she gave me that day as we tried to protect our eardrums from the Class Songs and wicked feedback they generated.

First of all, Happy Book Day! I have 3 children born in October, so it seems like a good month to have a book:)

Okay, to the questions:
RH: If you could make your own ice-cream flavor what would it be?

LK: Hmm . . . I'm not sure, but it would definitely involve caramel and chocolate.

RH: You have great taste in ice cream:) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

 LK: When I was in third grade, I wrote like crazy. Somehow that faded away over the years. About two decades later, I connected with an old elementary school friend, and she asked me if I had published anything. When I answered no, she said she always thought I would be a writer. Until that moment, I had forgotten the joy I had found in writing as a young child. I even dug out my elementary school papers that my Mom had saved, and sure enough, in my awkward grammar-school cursive, I had written that I wanted to be a writer. It was like my 8-year-old self sending a message to my adult self. I eventually turned to writing again, although it took a few more years to figure out how to create that opportunity.

RH: When did you pick up writing agin?

LK: I started writing again in 2001. I started with short pieces--poems and stories for children's magazines. I did that for 7 years and had many publications in Highlights, The Friend, Spider, Babybug and other magazines. It was a great way to learn about writing for children and about the publishing industry.

RH: Have you always written for the middle grade audience?

LK: Middle grade seems to resonate with me. In my own life, this was the time when I fell in love with books and reading. I love picture books, too. I have a picture book under contract with Candlewick as well, and I can't wait to see how it turns out!

RH: What are you working on now?

LK: Right now, I'm working on the sequel to Freakling, which I'm very excited about! Taemon travels outside of Deliverance and discovers the outside world is not what he expected.

RH: What was your inspiration for Freakling and how long did it take to write/come to fruition, from your head to book in your hands.

Thinking about the idea and building Taemon's world = 1 year
Writing the first draft (started over many times) = 2 years
 Beta readers, revisions, writing a query = 6 months
 Finding an agent = 1 month
 Revisions with agent = 6 months
 From contract to release date = 18 months

 Grand total = 5 1/2 years!

RH: I just signed with my agent and my non-writing friends have been asking me when my book is coming out. If they only knew;)

And here is FREAKLING in all its glory!! 
Goodreads Blurb: 
A thrilling, fast-paced dystopian novel about the dangers of unchecked power and the dilemmas facing a boy torn between two ways of life.

In twelve-year-old Taemon’s city, everyone has a power called psi—the ability to move and manipulate objects with their minds. When Taemon loses his psi in a traumatic accident, he must hide his lack of power by any means possible. But a humiliating incident at a sports tournament exposes his disability, and Taemon is exiled to the powerless colony.

The "dud farm" is not what Taemon expected, though: people are kind and open, and they actually seem to enjoy using their hands to work and play and even comfort their children. Taemon adjusts to his new life quickly, making friends and finding unconditional acceptance.

But gradually he discovers that for all its openness, there are mysteries at the colony, too—dangerous secrets that would give unchecked power to psi wielders if discovered.

When Taemon unwittingly leaks one of these secrets, will he have the courage to repair the damage—even if it means returning to the city and facing the very people who exiled him?

I can't wait to read it! I ordered it this morning.

RH: Advise for writers in the query trenches.

LK: I signed with Molly Jaffa, my amazing agent, after sending a cold query, but I think the only reason that worked is because I did a LOT of research up front. I read through agent interviews on blogs and carefully went over agents' websites. I had a list of five things I was looking for in an agent: 1) An editorial agent 2) Likes middle grade 3) Either works for a well-established agency or has plenty of experience in the industry 4) Likes fantasy and science fiction 5) Loves my story. So I guess my advice is know what you're looking for and research carefully. Oh, and you'll need a great manuscript and an equally great query letter. Don't forget that step. :)

These are great questions. Thank you so much, Robin!

RH: Thank you Lana for the interview and your advise! So glad to have you on the blog! 

Lana's amazing debut novel:

Goodreads here
Amazon here
Barnes and Nobles here
Local bookstores everywhere:)


  1. Sounds like a fantastic book! And Lana seems so warm and hardworking and helpful. Great interview!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the interview. I like seeing the process-concept to physical book. It helps me be (a little more) realistic with my own writing goals.

  2. Love the title, the cover, the premise, and Lana sounds so nice. Great interview, Robin and Lana.

    1. Thanks Ilima-isn't that cover great?

  3. Ooh, that sounds really interesting. I'm always looking for great books, especially middle grade ones! Thanks for the interview. :)

    1. We have boys about the same age don't we? Great MG are something I'm always on the lookout for, so Lana's has me all excited! Hope you enjoy it!

  4. I love her story of how she became a writer! Sometimes we need our eight-year-old selves to kick us into gear! I will definitely have to check out this book.

    Thanks Robin for the interview!

  5. What a fantastic tale to becoming a writer. Really, really cool. Wonderful interview ladies!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. Isn't Lana awesome?!?

  6. Sounds like the kind of book my grandkids would enjoy.

    1. I hope you pick it up. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. You'll be receiving The Liebster Blog Award from me tomorrow!!! :)

  8. Five and a half years. WOW! It doesn't seem like it takes that long, but when you add up all the components, it does.

    The premise of Freakling is intriguing. Thanks for the intro, Robin!

    1. I know-the time it takes-and our endurance as writers to keep going, keep working towards publication. Proof that we're not in it for the money;)

  9. Replies
    1. Thanks Tammy! and thanks for the follow:D

  10. Excellent interview. And I loved the stats. It always amazes me how long it takes for a book to reach the world.

  11. Lana is seriously so nice! :) Can't wait to read her book!