Introducing: Krysten Lindsay Hager


A little competition can really bring out people’s true colors.

True Colors by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Every day I walked down the sidewalk to school and wished I were one of the interesting popular girls who ran up with exciting news. Just once I’d like to be one of those girls instead of the being the one who didn’t get invited to things because people “forgot” about me.

Landry gets pushed into trying out for the American Ingénue reality show modeling competition with her two best friends. She doesn’t think she stands a chance, but she advances to the next level in the competition and her friends ignore her when they get cut.

Enter the gorgeous Devon, who also makes the first cut and includes Landry in her clique. Devon becomes the perfect best friend, but can their friendship survive the competition?

Landry hopes her big break could come at any moment, but soon sees there’s much more to modeling than getting your hair done and looking pretty. She begins missing out on being with new friends like Ashanti, a girl who truly has Landry’s back. Landry also has the chance to have a boyfriend when she meets a boy named Vladi from another school.

Part of Landry wants to be famous (and have her hair look good for once), but part of her just wants to be accepted. She learns about friendships, being true to yourself, and that a good hair conditioner doesn’t hurt.

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True Colors is part of Secondhand Shadow‘s “graduating class,” you might say, both being published by Astraea Press at about the same time. Krysten and I thought it only natural, therefore, to interview each other on our blogs!


Where did you get the idea for True Colors?

When I was in grade school, I saw an album cover and imagined what the four women would have been like as teens. I came up with this little story, but never did anything with it. Then, years later, I was finishing up a one-on-one creative writing independent study in college and I wasn’t sure what to write next, but I had read that you should write the book you want to read. So I thought about those four girls I had created back in grade school and began the first version of True Colors…although it went through a couple versions and stages!

How long did it take you to write?

Hard to say because it did go through different versions. I rewrote it and changed a few major parts of it. I actually put it away for a while because I was doing more journalism and then I moved twice—once overseas. When I came back to the U.S. I was working on another project and happened to go to a book signing in town with a football player, Tim Green. I mentioned I wrote and he asked if I wrote middle grade/YA, too. I thought, you know it has been a long time since I sent True Colors out, so I submitted it to three places and it got picked up.

Talk about your writing process. Do you have a schedule? Play music? Need your lucky hedgehog?

I don’t have a schedule, but the one thing I do is start out by editing. That gets me back into the process. I actually enjoy editing because it lets me revisit the story. I may be the only writer alive who likes editing! I play music to get into the story, but not while I’m actually writing. Although, when writing True Colors I did listen to music almost all the whole time. Suddenly, I don’t like to listen to it as I work anymore. Just before I start and then I switch it off. Not sure why that changed.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I hope it will help kids and teens feel less alone and realize that other people go through the same insecurities and thoughts that they do. It’s funny, a guy in his thirties read it and told me it was a great insight into the minds of the girls who rejected him at that age. He said he understood now that a lot of it was their own insecurities and had nothing to do with him as a person. I also had a man in his 70’s tell me it gave him insight into his daughters and why they did the things they did growing up. I’ve had a lot of adult women reading it saying that it took them back to those years and they really enjoyed it. One mom told me the book has come into her daughter’s life at the exact right time because she’s going through something like this with her friends. Her daughter really related to the character, Landry, and that was all I ever wanted.

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You can support a beginning novelist (and read a cool story!) by buying True Colors from Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords! You can watch a trailer for the book here, how cool is that??

You can also learn more about Krysten on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Poop & Prejudice

It is a truth universally acknowledged that my family has never owned a normal pet.

Aside from the usual dogs and cats, we’ve had rabbits, fish, crabs, chickens, a goat, and a mouse. Few of them were acquired on purpose. Most simply showed up, and because we are bleeding hearts one and all (even, or perhaps especially, my grumbling father), they stayed.

The rabbits got ear mites. The dogs got mange. The chickens were determined to become housepets. The fish ate each other. The crabs died, mysteriously, one after another after another, until we forbade my little sister from bringing home any more.

My older sister’s “free to good home!” dog caused hundreds of dollars of property damage before, and occasionally after, getting his separation-anxiety meds. (Readers of my book — you know how Shadows bond to one person, whom they love and need and can’t be away from? They are partly inspired by this dog.)

Of the feral kittens we gradually tamed and brought inside, one never quite adapted to being touched. Which made it a twice-daily trial worthy of those creative punishers, the Greeks, when she developed epilepsy and had to be given a pill twice a day. (Pill poppers. Look ’em up. They’re priceless.)

And of course there was Dottie, the Dalmatian who showed up at my grandparents’ house in the country, fat and toothless and ancient. We thought it a small enough kindness to keep her comfortable her last year or two. (Nearly a decade later, much of it with so little hip mobility she had to be steered around by her hind legs like a wheelbarrow, she finally had a stroke. And survived it.)

In my particular case, there was Lucy, a kitten being passed around among my extended relations. I made the horrible mistake of taking her on as a college student. She turned out to have an umbilical hernia requiring surgery, a sensitive stomach requiring expensive food, a lifelong unconquerable insistence on pooping on the floor, and, most recently — diabetes.

It should be noted that none of this has bothered Lucy nearly as much as it bothers me. The hernia was fixed before it became seriously painful — what does she care that it’s probably still included in my unpaid credit card balance? The special food, well, it’s nice enough, but she would so much rather have the other cat’s food, and if it makes her intestines bleed, what of it? Pooping on the floor — well, it’s not like she has to clean it up. And the only difference diabetes makes in her life is that suddenly, her beloved Mommy is determined to poke her with a sharp thing twice a day. What a weird fixation! Doesn’t she know that stings? She’s tried rolling over on her back every time the needle approaches, to communicate her displeasure, but Mommy doesn’t seem to get it. Gosh, humans are stupid.

And if Mommy is afraid of needles and had a complete meltdown on discovering she would have to give a shot twice a day for the rest of her cat’s lifespan, well that’s just really not her concern at all, is it?

It sure is lovely having all these sweet pets to lower our blood pressure.
“Of course that’s my poop on the floor. Why is your face so red?”
(P.S. Dottie is no longer with us — the stroke worsened her condition to the point where we finally had to put her down. But darn it, she never went down, she had to be put down. The entire family is convinced she’d been made immortal, ancient and toothless for decades, wandering from one family of suckers to the next. …We miss her a lot.)

Greetings From the Other Side

I am now a published author. “How does it feel,” you might ask, “to finally achieve one of your life’s dreams?” Well, so far, pretty surreal. It’s only the ebook release, so far — I think it’ll feel more real in July, when I have a physical book to hold in my hands. It’s also weirdly embarrassing? All I want to do is hide when people congratulate me. Part of it is suddenly being the center of attention, I guess, and part of it is being terrified that they’ll dislike the book. Despite the fact that quite a few people who were in no way obligated to like the book have gone so far as to invest their time and money in its success, I am about halfway convinced it is utter crap. This is very possibly a permanent state that I will live in even if I become the next J.K. Rowling.

I tell you what, though, when I can stop cringing long enough to feel joy, it is extremely nice to hear that friends and acquaintances are actually paying for my book and enjoying it. At least two of my Tumblr followers have bought it. My sister Misty, who was included in the acknowledgements, sent me a picture of her hugging her Kindle in near-tears. My sister Amanda bought it, kept her nose in it all evening, giggling most hearteningly, and told me the next morning that she hated me because my book kept her up until 1:30 in the morning. This is the sister that I thought had negative-one-hundred interest in my writing, so this is extremely touching, guys, I can’t even tell you.

On June 3 (henceforth known as Publication Day), I only had to work the morning, so I spent the afternoon catching a super-bargain matinee of X-Men: Days of Future Past with my brother (my second viewing of it), had dinner with him at Waffle House, then came home and broke out the Sparkling Grape Juice with him and Amanda before we went to bed.

Such glamorous. Very fame. But you know what, it works for me.


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