Intro: What is your name, what do you write, and where can readers find you on social media? And just for fun, if you could be any mythical being or creature, who or what would you be?
I’m Krysten Lindsay Hager and I write middle grade and young adult books. You can find me online at:
And I’d pick a unicorn!
- Your most recent publication, Can Dreams Come True centers around a girl dreaming of becoming an actress possibly falling for a famous star. On your website, you mention you received your first kiss from a famous singer. Did that inspire this book at all? If not, what did?
I guess I’ve always had crushes on famous singers since I was five when the kiss happened with Bobby Vinton! I was inspired to write the story by my childhood crush on George Michael. I had written a good portion of the book when George passed away (Dec 25, 2016) and I stopped working on it for a bit. It was seeing an old interview of George talking about writing that convinced me to go back to the manuscript. I started re-reading my work and since the Andrew character had become his own person, it made it easier to go in and finish the book and start work on book two.
- If you were to change careers and become a performer instead of a writer, what would your dream roles be?
I love movies and my favorite actresses are Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. I’d love to be in the movie Funny Face. I love all kinds of movies, but I think I’d be best suited for comedies. Something like the movie Just Friends.
- Dreams Come True really is about Cecily reaching for the stars without meaning to, how is it different from other similar books of its genre?
The book is different because it shows a real side to the pressures and anxieties that come with living a bigger life. We see Andrew (the singer), share his difficulties with his big life and we see Cecily having anxious moments as well as she is auditioning, acting, and then in dating someone famous. I also think it’s different in the fact that the relationship that builds between them is based on a foundation of trust and understanding. We also see Cecily dealing with a not-so-healthy relationship with another boy, Zach, and how she learns to stand up for herself as he’s gaslighting her. There’s the contrast between the different relationships.
I’ve been hearing from beta readers and early reviewers that they felt this star/girl next door relationship could actually happen—it felt real, unlike many they had read about before.
- What kind of research did you have to do for this book and what was the most surprising thing you learned?
I watched a lot of documentaries and biographies on singers and read a stack of biographies/memoirs/autobiographies as well. It surprised me how many of the bigger names had bouts of fear or anxiety and/or depression during their careers. I widened my research to singers from different eras to see the differences and that was one thing that crossed over. It explained why so many had substance abuse issues.
- Your first book was targeted at a preteen audience and won several awards including the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Bestseller Award for children/teens. Why did you decide to foray into YA?
I had actually written a few books before my first book was published, so I actually had more YA books written than middle grade when I started out. Once I got the first contact, I began editing and polishing the other manuscripts to send out.
- If the characters of Dreams Come True each had a theme song, what would they be and why?
Cecily’s song: Scars to Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara. Cecily deals with her own insecurities (especially when Harlow plays mind games with her the night before the music video shoot). Cecily is trying to overcome them, but it’s an ongoing thing like with a lot of people. This song encompasses that.
Andrew’s song: There’s a tie for this one: I Feel It Coming by The Weeknd. He can sense something is happening with Cecily and he would like the chill feeling of this song. Also, Faith by George Michael because the lyrics speak to how Andrew is trying to stay hopeful a better relationship is coming after being hurt.
Harlow’s song: Shake it Off by Taylor Swift. Harlow has a very, “whatever, let’s get on with it,” type of attitude when difficult things happen, whereas Cecily tends to overthink things. This song suits that part of Harlow’s personality.
Zach’s song: Jason Mraz – Living In The Moment. The line, “I’m letting myself off the hook for things I’ve done,” kinda suits him.
- In addition to novels, you’ve also written a plethora of short stories, many of which have been featured in anthologies. How do you choose which ideas to make novels and which to keep on the shorter side?
I had a funny teen short story about a vampire that I considered making into a longer story, but at that point the market was getting saturated with those kinds of stories, so I kept it as a short story.
- On your website, it says you used to write for the news. How is that different from writing novels and what made you want to switch gears?
I always knew I wanted to write books, but my parents wanted me to have a stable job to start out with. When I got the first book contract I decided to focus on creative writing. I have noticed that since I am focused on the creative side that my thought process is different. My mind can be at work on a story and I can miss details while I’m out. I will be in the store thinking about a storyline and walk past someone I know! Whereas, when I was working in journalism I was always hyper aware of what was going on around me.
- If you had to pick another creative career other than an author or writer, what would it be?
Choreographer! I used to make up dance routines and ice skating routines in my mind when I used to ride the bus home from school. I always thought that would be fun to do.
- Favorite moment/moments with fans who have read your book?
I love hearing from a reader that they saw something in the book that made them feel less alone in a difficult time they were going through. It makes it all worth it.
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As always, keep making magic, word weavers!