A few weeks ago I mentioned the wonderful What's Left of Me in a 'things what I've read recently and rather liked' blog post. Now the author of that book, the lovely Kat Zhang, is here to talk about it.
Everyone who replies to this post by midnight Friday 23rd November will have their name put into a hat. The name pulled out of that hat will win a copy of What's Left of Me. (giveaway open to everyone, worldwide).
So, pull up a seat and have a read!
Welcome to the blog, Kat! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Currently, I'm a senior at university, studying English :) I also love films, theater, dance--any kind of story-telling, really! I perform Spoken Word poetry, as well. I like to call myself a professional dabbler, because I like to do a little of everything :P
What books did you love when growing up?
I read a ton as a kid, and loved different books at different ages, but some stories that really stuck with me are Northern Lights, Ender's Game, Sabriel, Green Angel, and The Bartimaeus Sequence :) I was a big fan of fantasy as a child, and I still love it now, though I've come to really enjoy contemporary stories, as well.
Tell our lovely readers a little bit about What’s Left of Me.
Sure thing :) What's Left of Me is a young adult novel about a fifteen-year-old girl, Eva, who is fighting to survive in an alternate version of our world--one where each baby is born with two souls but one usually disappears by age five or six. Eva is the recessive soul, the one who should have faded away, but she never did. Instead, she lost all control of her own body, existing as only a voice in Addie's--her twin soul--head.
Both girls must keep Eva's existence secret; society fears and hates hybrids like them. If they were discovered, they'd be locked away. But when another secret hybrid reveals that Eva might be able to learn how to control her body again, Eva can't help but risk everything for the chance to move and speak aloud.
I love the concept of ‘hybrids.’ How did the novel come together - which ideas came first?
I got to thinking one day about the little "voice" we talk about a lot--the sort of inner monologue everyone has. What if that voice was a whole other person? What if they were stuck inside your body and couldn't control it, and couldn't communicate with anyone but you? That's how the idea for Eva came about, and the rest of the story built around her and her situation :)
How long did it take you to write?
I started writing the first draft during the winter of my senior year of high school, completed the draft (after a lot of putting it on hold due to testing/graduation/college stuff) during the spring of my freshman year of college. So I guess the 1st draft took more than a year!
What’s your publication story?
Well, after completing the first draft of What's Left of Me, I revised for a few months and, after querying about two months, signed with my agent, Emmanuelle Morgen. I revised with her for a few more months, and then we went on submission to publishers and announced the deal with HarperCollins about a month after that! :)
This is the first book of a trilogy; how far are you with writing the next books? Have you planned everything out?
I'm actually doing final edits on Book 2 right now, and I'll begin drafting Book 3 after finishing with that. I know the general direction everything is going, and how I want things to end, but I don't like to plan things out in too much detail, as I feel like that doesn't allow room for the story to grow and breath organically.
What’s the most exciting part of the journey been for you, so far?
I love going to writer/reader conventions and festivals to talk with other people in the book/reading business. Meeting up with bloggers has been really fun, and I really enjoy school visits, too!
What’s your writing routine?
Sadly, I don't have much of a routine. Since I'm a student, with classes, homework, clubs, and friends who do like to see my face from time to time ;), I tend to write whenever I can.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope the rest of the Hybrid Chronicles are well-received, and I'd like, of course, to keep writing books for a very long time :)
Kat Zhang is just 20 years old and began writing What's Left of Me in her senior year of high school. She was born in Texas but has lived in Connecticut, Tennessee, China and most recently Georgia. Kat studies creative writing at Vanderbilt University and also performs as a Spoken Word poet.