Author Interview: Lana Krumwiede

The Book Monsters are super excited to introduce Lana Krumwiede. Lana's debut book, Freakling, releases on October 9th!

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?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Everyone has psi but me.

What has your road to publication been like?
I took a long time to find the road, but once I did, it was pretty smooth. I wrote for children's magazines for many years and really enjoyed that. I learned a lot of things about writing–how to write concisely, how to submit, how to deal with rejection, how to revise–and those skills have served me well. When I finally had an idea that was suitable for a novel, it took me over two years to write it. I would write myself into a brick wall, go back and pull everything apart, get rid of what I didn't like, put it back together, then keep writing. That happened several times. But by doing that, I learned a lot about plot structure. Once I had a decent manuscript, everything happened quickly.

I signed with an amazing agent, Molly Jaffa, we revised together, the book sold at the first publisher it was submitted to. More revision work after that with the fabulous Kaylan Adair at Candlewick, and now we're nearing the release date. It's still hard to believe it's really happening!

How did the idea for "Freakling" come to you?
I was attending a writers group and one of the comments was about writing in a way that makes it easy for the reader to visualize. Another writer in the group said that she does not visualize books while she reads. This was a stunning revelation to me. I thought everyone visualized, like seeing a movie while you're reading. It turns out not everyone does. I thought about this for a long time. Is this a learning disability? What other things would be hard to do if you couldn't visualize? What kind of society would be hard to live in if you couldn't visualize? I came up with this idea for a place where everyone had telekinetic powers, where it was just a way of life, and without it, you wouldn't be able to function. I was intrigued by this idea of everyone else having the super powers, but not this one kid. I think a lot of people feel that way.

What was the research process for "Freakling" like for you?
I read a lot about telekinesis (the more accurate term is psychokinesis), a lot of theories about how it might work. Some were more scientific in their approach and others more mystical, but I gleaned ideas from all of that. I needed to come up with some limitations, some principles for how this works on a society level. What are the rules? What keeps people in check? How could things go wrong? I had a lot of world building to do!

What is your favorite part of the writing process? Least favorite?
For me, there are three main parts of the process. First, developing an idea into a story. Love that part. So fun! Anything is possible! Second, writing the first draft. Hate that part. It's like wringing my brain to make the sentences come out. Ouch! My first drafts are bad. Really bad. I hate writing badly, but I know it's part of the process, so I have to make myself do it. Third, revising the first draft into something amazing. LOVE THAT PART! I love seeing my story get better and better. Finally I get to see the amazing story that I hoped would emerge. That is absolutely my favorite part.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I never expected the whole writing experience to teach me so much about my own life. I find the whole creation process so inspirational. It is a metaphor for creating your own life story, for making decisions, for holding up under adversity and obstacles, for building your own character.

 

 

Thank you so much Lana for stopping by! You can learn more about Lana and Freakling at:

Kate

Kate is the co-blog owner of The Book Monsters. I am a twenty-something year old who is passionate about reading. I currently hold a B.A. in English and am married to my high school sweetheart. We have two (cat) children, Gracie and Kit, who are total divas. I have an insane and possibly unhealthy passion for reading. You can usually find me with my nose buried in a book.

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