JOIN ME IN WELCOMING THE TALENTED AND BEAUTIFUL KAI STRAND TO MY BLOG TODAY:
Kai Strand is a children’s author of middle grade and young adult novels. She was born and raised in the mid-west, where she inherited a wholesome outlook on life. She lived in California long enough to become a (very lucky) wife and the mother of four amazing kids. They now live in Central Oregon where the most common sound in her household is laughter. The second most common is, “Do your dishes!”
Obviously, Kai likes to write. The Weaver is Kai’s debut book. She reads a lot as well and calls it research. Kai loves to garden, and is trying out a greenhouse for the first time this year. She loves to sing. You might find her singing in Latin while browsing at Target. Most of the time she isn’t aware she’s singing aloud. She and her family love to hike and geocache. Kai walks 45 miles a month for exercise.
MY INTERVIEW WITH KAI:
What inspired you to write THE WEAVER?
The Weaver’s main character, Mary, is embarrassed by the fact that she is taking a beginning storytelling class for the third year in a row. She has to figure out a way to overcome feeling inferior and to improve her skills. I wrote The Weaver as an inspiration for children who feel like they aren’t as successful as other kids or who don’t feel they fit in.
Can you tell me about your background?
I’ve always loved to write fiction, but I took a really big detour in life before I decided to attempt to make a career out of it. I spent a number of years in middle management in corporate America (service & support). I’ve also given a number of years in the non-profit world (administration & operations). So, obviously I’m nice and I’m organized. My husband and I have four kids. It was while encouraging my oldest child to read that I fell back in love with fiction and started writing regularly again.
How long did it take you to write the book?
I feel so bad when people ask me this. I really don’t know. I don’t remember when I started on this story. I wrote about 2/3 of it and then let it sit around for a long time before finally making myself sit down and finish it. I wrote a whole other novel while this one sat on my hard drive incomplete. Yes, I am blushing.
Tell about your journey to publication?
This is a story I love to tell! I live in a relatively small community. I saw a blog post on Margot Finke’s blog one day that said several children’s authors and illustrators were going to be involved in a big signing event at the Barnes & Noble in my town. I thought to myself, “There are no children’s authors here.” (Of course there are some, but I do like to exaggerate). I figured there had to be someone local planning such a big event, so I did a little research and found one of the illustrators lives locally. I sent an email offering assistance with the event. She was generous enough not to take me up on the offer to help, but to invite me to the dinner with all the authors, illustrators and their publisher. I had a wonderful time that night. But it wasn’t until about a month or so later that I thought, “Oh, I think I have a manuscript that will fit their line up.”
MY REVIEW OF KAI’S BOOK: THE WEAVER
Kai Strand’s debut mid-grade novel The Weaver is a must read. The story is about Mary Wordsmith, whose wish is to be able to weave a tale just like her mother. Mary is a typical teen who wants to be well liked and respected. In her quest to be like her mother she meets a peculiar blue man who is ready to help her achieve her greatest desire.
Mary, her self-esteem at an all time low, allows the little blue man to talk her into granting her wish. Much to her dismay, things did not turn out in her favor. Mary is baffled when there is no major improvement in her storytelling. She feels betrayed by the blue little man.
Things get even more complex when trinkets start to appear after practicing weaving a story.
You have to read the book to find out what happens to Mary. Will her storytelling improve? Will the trinkets continue to appear? The story held me captive; I had to finish reading the book in one sitting.
Kai Strand is a master at storytelling. Her book is very unique in that adults and children can learn a very valuable lesson. Each one of us is special and we should strive to celebrate and accept each other for who we are. I also loved the way Mary’s friend gives her unrelenting support. We all need friends to support us in the times of our greatest challenges.