So, today I’m interviewing Author Laekan Zea Kemp! She wrote a book I recently read: “The Girl In Between”. My questions are crap but her answers saved it! Let’s get started.
Laekan is a writer and explorer extraordinaire who grew up in the flatlands of West Texas. She graduated from Texas Tech with a BA in Creative Writing and is the author of the multi-cultural New Adult novels The Things They Didn’t Bury, Orphans of Paradise, and Breathing Ghosts. Follow her adventures here on Goodreads, on her blog, or on twitter.
1.) What/Who 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.
2.) What is the hardest part in writing? How did you push through the hard times?
All of it. I’ve written six novels so far and each one has tested me in different ways. Depending on my mood, on the random stress of life, on my strengths and weakness that day that seem to vary as often as my mood, I can be stumped at any point. I re-wrote The Girl In Between from scratch probably six times because I just couldn’t find the story’s true identity but when it came to writing the third novel in the series, the first draft just fell out of me. I wish there was one area that constantly gave me difficulty because then I could focus all of my energy on improving it but stories are wild things and it takes something different to tame each one.
3.) If you were to switch lives with a fictional character in any book, who would you pick and why?
So tough…thirteen-year-old me probably wished she was Lena in The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants. I was obsessed with Italy and Greece in my teens and was convinced that I was part of some ancient bloodline.
4.) Do you like to read? If so, what are your favourite books?
Absolutely! My mother read to me all the time when I was a kid and my love of stories really started with these beautifully illustrated Richard Scarry books. I was always really imaginative and incredibly thoughtful and could spend hours just asking myself strange questions and coming up with even stranger answers. Books really activated those most powerful parts of myself and gave me a safe place to explore my own thoughts and opinions. It’s so hard for me to choose a favorite novel but it usually boils down to whatever Melina Marchetta’s or Maggie Stiefvater’s latest release is. I’m in love with Jellicoe Road and am totally crazy about Marchetta’s Chronicles of Lumatere series. I’m also about to start reading Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Steifvater and can’t wait to see if it takes the place of The Scorpio Races as my favorite novel of hers.
5.) If you traveled back in time and told your 13 year old self that you would publish a novel, how would your 13 year old self react? Doubtful? Excited?
My thirteen-year-old self would be neither excited nor surprised. She had very high expectations. I just hope that despite not being president or a millionaire, she’d at least be proud of all I’ve accomplished so far.
6.) Who is your favourite character in “The Girl In Between”? Why?
Bryn is probably the character who is most like me so I’m a little biased. Of course all of my characters are some version of my best or worst self so my favorites tend to vary but I always have a huge soft spot for my side characters. After reading the initial reviews for The Girl In Between, it looks like readers agree, and everyone is team Felix! He’s Bryn’s best friend and provides the much needed comic relief throughout the series.
7.) Do you have any writing tips? If so, what are they?
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.
Check Laekan’s blog for more updates about her books. The Girl In Between is a pretty good book. I am a fail on writing reviews so I didn’t get to publish it immediately but I liked it! I won’t be surprised if you’re interested in it!
Thank you for reading and um, bye!