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GETTIN’ LUCKY: An Interview with Lydia Kang, author of CONTROL

It’s hard to believe 2013 is coming to a close, but here we are, wrapping up our year of Lucky13 debut author interviews with Lydia Kang, author of CONTROL! Here’s the official blurb:

Set in 2150 — in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms — this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.

When their overprotective father is killed in a terrible accident, Zel and her younger sister, Dylia, are lost in grief. But it’s not until strangers appear, using bizarre sensory weapons, that the life they had is truly eviscerated. Zel ends up in a safe house for teens that aren’t like any she’s ever seen — teens who, by law, shouldn’t even exist. One of them — an angry tattooed boy haunted by tragedy — can help Zel reunite with her sister.

But only if she is willing to lose him.

Welcome to the OneFour blog, Lydia and congrats on your debut! In Zelia’s world, there are humans with unique — illegal — genetically engineered traits. A child might be born with extra limbs or the capacity to speak 700 languages while playing the piano. Which of these traits was your favorite to explore and why? 

Wilbert’s trait was definitely the most fun. At first I figured, “Kid with two heads. That’s fun, right?” But it had to be more than that. What would be great about having two brains? Twice as much intelligence? Somehow that didn’t make sense. Memory? What about sleep? I latched onto that idea and made him a kid that can be awake 24/7 by switching consciousness between brains. My editor was really sharp and pointed out that somehow his brainstem needed to connect to both brains, otherwise how would he breathe okay all the time? (My editor is smaht like that.) And so…that’s Wilbert!

One of the hats you wear is as a physician, correct? Just how far did you have to stretch the realm of the possible for these physical traits?

They’re stretched pretty far. I mean, retinoic acid and limb regeneration is neat in newts, but in people? A very far stretch. Still, I wanted to put a dose of some scientific reality behind why each trait existed. And each trait was researched to make at least the fiction make sense within certain rules of physiology.

CONTROL opens with such exquisite world-building — from magpods to the agriplane to hair styling wands. I imagine you locked yourself away inside a library for years to feed these details. What was your favorite piece of research that lead to some part of this futuristic America?

Thank you! The easiest way for me to imagine things like this is to look around at what’s wrong and needs fixing in the world we live in now. Friction is a major drain on gas mileage, so I removed it by levitating the automobiles, hence the magpods. And bad hair days! Boy, that one was fun to fix with the styling wand.

Zelia is a whip-smart girl who’s always looking for the good in people. If she were to attend Hogwarts, which house would she be sorted into?

Gryffindor. She would have been Hermione’s study buddy and together they’d have banished their frizzy hair and saved the day with their brains.

Since this is the first in a series, what can we look forward to in future books? (More illegal genetic experiments?)

I’m taking the kids out of Neia (Nebraska/Iowa) and into new territory. And I’m making life very, very hard for Zelia, just when she thought things were hard enough. And yes, more kids with more wacky traits!

And as this community is All for One and OneFour KidLit, we’d like to know what two or three books inspired you as a kid.

I was a huge fan of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Laura is my hero, in that she’s resourceful, unapologetically smart, and a careful observer of life and human nature. I also adored any children’s lit that had good food scenes. I must have been a very hungry child. Like the Beaver’s dinner in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? I practically have that scene memorized (ah, the gloriously sticky marmalade roll!). Also, once I got into my teens, I became a huge Bronte and Austen fan. There are several nods to Pride and Prejudice in Control, if you’ve an eye to find them. I’ll give you a hint–my character names are anagrams. 🙂

Thank you so much for stopping by, Lydia, and congratulations again!


Lydia Kang is an author of YA fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. She is an internal medicine physician and has a blog where writers can learn the most accurate way to maim their characters. She believes in science and knocking on wood, is a bit of a salt addict and thinks Star Wars should have been ewokless. You can find Lydia by visiting her website and on Twitter.

Where to buy the book:
Indiebound | Barnes and Noble | Amazon
Powell’s | Books-A-Million | Book Depository



Natalie C Parker is a writer, professional project coordinator, and future zombie slayer. When not saving the world, she can be found on Twitter (@nataliecparker). Though once determined to never live in a land-locked state, she resides in Kansas with her partner in a house of monsters. Her southern gothic YA debut, BEWARE THE WILD, is due from HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2014.

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November Business

First! It is the first of November and hopefully none of you will be eaten by a rabid kelpie!

Second! As promised, we are no longer accepting applications for new membership to the OneFours. If you are a late 2014 MG or YA debut, the Fearless Fifteeners have graciously offered to accept late applications. Also…did you see that link? I’m going to link it again because THE FEARLESS FIFTEENERS HAVE LAUNCHED. Hard to believe. It seems only yesterday I was emailing the few 2014 debuts I knew and establishing the OneFours. *sniff*sniff* Oh, how time flies.

Third! It’s time for NaNoWriMo! And several OneFours are participating. Want to know which ones? Well, I’ve made a list!

  • Dahlia Adler aka dahlelama, author of BEHIND THE SCENES
  • Stephanie Diaz aka Stephanie Diaz (that was easy), author of EXTRACTION
  • Corinne Duyvis aka thecory, author of OTHERBOUND
  • Christy Farley aka Christygirl, author of GILDED
  • Louise Galveston aka lougalveston, author of BY THE GRACE OF TODD
  • Michelle Krys aka MichelleKrys, author of HEXED
  • Emery Lord aka emerylord, author of OPEN ROAD SUMMER
  • Meredith McCardle aka MeredithMcP, author of THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN
  • Julie Murphy aka andimjulie, author of SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY
  • AdriAnne Stickland aka AdriAnneMS, author of WORDLESS

Good luck to everyone embarking on this exercise in group insanity! May you reach all your goals without losing too much hair, and we’ll catch you on the flip side.

Natalie C Parker is a writer, professional project coordinator, and future zombie slayer. When not saving the world, she can be found on Twitter (@nataliecparker). Though once determined to never live in a land-locked state, she resides in Kansas with her partner in a house of monsters. Her southern gothic YA debut, BEWARE THE WILD, is due from HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2014.
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The OneFours will be closing their doors

It’s hard to believe that the end of 2013 is just around the corner and it will soon be the official debut year for the OneFours. That means it’s time for us to buckle down and gear up for a 12-month extravaganza of main events. In preparation, we’ll be closing our doors to new membership applications as of 10/31/2013. So if you’re a 2014 debut and you’ve been considering joining our ranks, the time is NOW. Visit our application page while it still exists!

But don’t panic! If you’re lucky enough to sell your 2014 debut YA or MG novel after our doors have closed, the Fearless Fifteeners have graciously agreed to consider your application. You can contact them at fearlessfifteeners@yahoo.com.

As always, you can contact us with questions at onefourkidlit@gmail.com.

Happy reading, writing, and interneting!

Natalie C Parker is a writer, professional project coordinator, and future zombie slayer. When not saving the world, she can be found on Twitter (@nataliecparker). Though once determined to never live in a land-locked state, she resides in Kansas with her partner in a house of monsters. Her southern gothic YA debut, BEWARE THE WILD, is due from HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2014.
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Happy 14th Day: September

Okay, so it’s the 15th day of September, but I’m filling in for Amber and am…..late. (I was going to make excuses, but really, I’m sitting in a train barracks in the midst of the Kansas prairie and have none.)

Sing Sweet Nightingale Cover

Since we’re already late with this reporting, let’s get to it!

Erica Cameron’s SING SWEET NIGHTINGALE is up for preorder on all your favorite sites!Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Books A Million | IndieBound

Mark your calendars — Kate Kelly’s RED ROCK has a release date of September 12th! She also published a piece on the rise of Cli-Fi (that’s “Climate Fiction”) in SFX magazine.

We’ve also got an appearance in the near future! If you’re in the Illinois area, you can spot a OneFour in the wild! Phillip Siegel will be signing ARCs of THE BREAK-UP ARTIST at the Heartland Fall Forum in Chicago, October 3-6. If you manage to catch a glimpse, tweet a picture at us –> @onefourkidlit!

Up next, two pieces of cover news.

The cover contest for Kelsey Macke’s DAMSEL DISTRESSED is accepting entries until September 22nd! For details, visit http://www.teamomgen.tumblr.com

And Jessica Love has a bright and shiny cover for PUSH GIRL!

Finally, we have a few new sales to report.

Rachel Searles‘ THE LOST PLANET sold in Spain!

Nicole Maggi sold another book! Here’s the Publisher’s Marketplace blurb:
Nicole Maggi’s HEARTLINES, in which a teen heart transplant recipient is plagued by memories that belong to her donor; each time she gets an unbidden memory, she loses one of her own; she must find out what happened to her donor before she loses herself, to Leah Hultenschmidt at Sourcebooks (world English).

Congrats everyone! That’s it for September. Here is your parting gif (oh, the pun!) — adorable and random and delightful.

Natalie C Parker is a writer, professional project coordinator, and future zombie slayer. When not saving the world, she can be found on Twitter (@nataliecparker). Though once determined to never live in a land-locked state, she resides in Kansas with her partner in a house of monsters. Her southern gothic YA debut, BEWARE THE WILD, is due from HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2014.
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Natalie C Parker: BEWARE THE WILD

We’ll be continuing our introduction posts over the course of this month and next…possibly even longer. There are a bunch of OneFours to introduce! Today, we’re introducing YA author Natalie C Parker. 

Yes, this is me at 3 years old. Tap-tap-tapping away at something. I’m sure it was brilliant…

Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen?

It was a dark and stormy night. I’d been traveling with the crew of the GatorHead for many moons, but on that night, when the deck was slick with blood and moonlight, I strode up to Captain Ne’er Do Well and said, “No more! I want to write!”

At which point he grinned and said, “Then I’ll do ye a favor and give ye a drink,” then threw me overboard….

Okay, so the real story has fewer pirates (but not by much!). After college and grad school, I set off on a professional path, but somewhere along the way I decided I needed to balance my profession with doing something I loved. It seemed a good time to return to the childhood hobbies I loved most – playing the cello and writing. I surrounded myself with writing peers and mentors and after 18 months felt ready to query. Two weeks later, I’d signed with the indomitable Sarah Davies of The Greenhouse Literary Agency and together we entered a near-year of revision. When we both felt that novel (now a shiny new novel) was ready, it went out on submission and, again, the deal with HarperCollins Children’s Books was sealed in about two weeks. Long gaps and big leaps, that’s the sort of game it’s been for me.

What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?

Here’s a bit of a blurb about BEWARE THE WILD:

The entire town of Sticks, Louisiana, fears the swamp that sleeps in its center, surrounded by an all too fragile split-rail fence. For 16-year-old Sterling Saucier, the swamp has always been a place to avoid – until the day her brother Phineas climbs over the fence in a fit of rage and doesn’t comes back.  One day later, a strange, ethereal girl named Lenora May crawls out of the murky water, claiming to be Sterling’s sister. Suddenly, nobody but Sterling remembers Phin and the entire town accepts Lenora May without question.

Cool details? Though this story had been budding for some time, the first words were born of a conversation I had with Carrie Ryan sitting on a porch swing during a skin-meltingly hot summer in New Orleans. One year later, struggling with revision of this same story, I found clarity in a conversation with Brenna Yovanoff sitting on yet another porch swing in New Orleans. Friends and porch swings. That’s how this story’s been built.

Three things readers might not know about you?

  1. A a kid, I was a fledgling equestrian vaulter. I trained on a horse named “Graceful.” His name was ironic as he was given to tripping just as I’d reached whatever precarious position I was practicing. I ate a fair amount of dirt in those days.
  2. I’ve been SCUBA Diving to 137ft. That’t 37ft past the recommend recreational limit. The experience/accident landed me in a hyperbaric chamber with a bunch of Navy Seals. They are a STERN bunch.
  3. I learned the play the koto, the 13-stringed Japanese harp, as a high school freshman living in Japan.

What are your desert island books?

That depends. HOW BIG IS THE ISLAND?

Okay. Kidding. My must haves are THE CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN by Lloyd Alexander and THE DARK IS RISING SEQUENCE by Susan Cooper for nostalgia. THE DISPOSSESSED by Ursula K. LeGuin and THE EARTHSEED SERIES by Octavia Butler for my sci-fi/dystopian fix. And finally, I’d take LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov and THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver for beautiful, beautiful words.

Natalie C Parker is a writer, professional project coordinator, and future zombie slayer. When not saving the world, she can be found on Twitter (@nataliecparker). Though once determined to never live in a land-locked state, she resides in Kansas with her partner in a house of monsters. Her southern gothic YA debut, BEWARE THE WILD, is due from HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2014.
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GETTIN’ LUCKY: An Interview with Ellen Oh, author of PROPHECY

Prophecy_300We’re kicking off the year by interviewing the first Lucky13 debut author, Ellen Oh! And how better to begin the debuting adventure than with an ancient PROPHECY? I was lucky (ha ha) enough to find myself with an ARC of this delightful tale and even luckier (heh he he) to win the chance to interview her. Without further ado, I shall now entice you with the blurb:

The greatest warrior in all of the Seven Kingdoms . . . is a girl with yellow eyes.

Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and she’s also the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope. . . .

Murdered kings and discovered traitors point to a demon invasion, sending Kira on the run with the young prince. He may be the savior predicted in the Dragon King’s prophecy, but the legendary lost ruby treasure just might be the true key to victory. With only the guidance of the cryptic prophecy, Kira must battle demon soldiers, an evil shaman, and the Demon Lord himself to find what was once lost and raise a prince into a king.

Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first book in a trilogy.

Welcome to the OneFour blog, Ellen and congrats on your debut! PROPHECY is set in a rich world of tangled family relations and old magic. What was the piece of this story that first inspired you? Was it an image, a character, or an idea?

It was definitely an idea. The idea was about how everyone believes that the hero of legend is a young prince. But instead, it turns out that the hero is actually a girl. It came from that place in me that was so tired of being overlooked for being female. So tired of the sexism and misogyny in our world. I wanted a story where the girl didn’t need to wait for a prince to come and save her because she was the hero of her own story. And that is how Prophecy came about.

This novel is filled with magical settings and vibrant characters. Often the characters and settings seem to create each other. I was particularly fond of the mountain temple monks and their deceptively serene appearances (flying! monks!). Why are the monks so awesome? I’m kidding. (They are awesome because that’s what monks do.) What was your favorite setting/group of characters to create? 

I love the temple monks also! I love the idea that they are protectors and so they train like warriors, but they are forbidden to take life. So there should be something magical about their abilities. They are so light on their feet, they seem like they can fly. It is the advantage of their training. To be honest, I was really intrigued with creating my demon creatures. They are incorporeal forms in the human world that could only be solid by taking over a human body, eating its organs and wearing the skin like a costume. I had a lot of fun creating them and the half-breeds.

Kira is the girl with yellow eyes and a heart of gold. If she were to attend Hogwarts, which house would she be sorted into?

Without a doubt she’d be in Gryffindor. She’s smart, strong, proud and stubborn – just like Harry.

What is the craziest thing you did in the name of research for PROPHECY?

I wish I could say that the craziest thing I did was fly to Korea. But that hasn’t happened yet! I hope to make it happen real soon. But I think the craziest thing was also the nicest thing done for me by my father. He was such a big help. He got all of these awesome Korean historical books that I couldn’t get. But they were in Korean. Since I can’t read it, he actually took the time to translate several books in long hand. How awesome is he?

Since this is a trilogy, what can we look forward to in future books? (More flying monks?)

How about assassin gisaeng (similar to geishas)? And a kumiho – a nine tailed fox demon that eats the livers and hearts of men in its attempt to become human. Seriously, writing Book 2 was even more fun than writing Book 1!

And as this community is All for One and OneFour KidLit, we’d like to know what two or three books inspired you as a kid.

My favorite book when I was young was The Count of Monte Cristo. It was without a doubt the most eye-opening and awe inspiring experience of my life! I became obsessed with the idea of betrayal and revenge. It would form the heart of pretty much every story I ever wrote… as a child, anyway! And then I read To Kill a Mockingbird and my mind was blown again. A completely different story, quieter, slower, and yet just as intense and as powerful. I think the reason both of these books are my childhood favorites is because they impacted the way I thought and the way I would write. They were books that made an indelible impression on me and were stories that I could never forget.



ellen_59
Writer, lawyer, college instructor, donut-slayer, chocolate lover. Addicted to diet coke. Likes to quote extensively from the Princess Bride, Monty Python and Godfather movies. Never leaves home without her iphone, chapstick, a book and her American Express card. You can find Ellen by visiting her website and on Twitter.

Where to buy the book:
Indiebound
Barnes and Noble
Amazon
Powell’s
Books-A-Million


This interview was conducted by OneFour member Natalie C Parker, whose Southern Gothic YA novel BEWARE THE WILD will be released Winter 2014 from HarperCollins Children’s Books. The interview was the beginning of a series of interviews with The Lucky13s — YA, MG, and children’s book authors debuting in 2013.