December 16, 2013

An Author a (Mon)day: Kat Zhang

This week's guest is one of the most talented young authors I know - Kat Zhang. I read and loved her debut novel, What's Left of Me last year, and I'm really looking forward to reading Once We Were too! I also had the privilege of meeting her at BEA, and she's one of the nicest, coolest authors EVER. Without further ado, here's our mini interview!

Alexa: What was the process of writing What's Left of Me like? And how does it compare to the process of writing the sequel, Once We Were, and the coming end to the trilogy?

Kat: The writing process for What's Left of Me was pretty different from that for Once We Were and Book 3. Actually, the writing process for Once We Were and Book 3 were pretty different too, haha. Each book brings new circumstances and a new process.

WLoM was the most different, though, because obviously, when I was writing it, I hadn't sold the trilogy yet, so there were really no deadlines or anything. I started drafting it during my last semester of high school, and I wrote it when I had time. I also wrote a good chunk of that first draft the summer between high school and college, when I was traveling (those 15 hour plane rides to China are good for forcing oneself to write, haha).

Because I had so much time for WLoM, I wrote a ton of drafts, some of which were quite different from the final product. Though, funnily enough, some scenes made it through all of them almost unchanged. I revised on my own, then with my agent, and finally, after we sold, with my editor.

Once We Were and Book 3 were both written on contract, so I only had a few months to draft and revise each. From the very first words to copy edits, Book 3 took about 6-7 months, I think. I can't remember exactly. That's a whole lot faster than WLoM, which took me about a year just to write the first draft. But such is the nature of the game post-sale :)

Alexa: I wish I were as productive as you on long flights! I usually just end up falling asleep instead... Anyway, why don't you tell my readers a little bit about Once We Were? (Bonus challenge: Do it in 1 sentence!)

Kat: As Addie and Eva's world expands after their escape from Nornand, they meet other hybrids and start questioning how far they're willing to go in the fight for hybrid freedom--and if their decisions might destroy the things most precious to them.

There, one sentence ;)

Alexa: Impressive! I wasn't sure how it could be whittled down to one sentence, but you totally did it. So, what are you currently reading? And what do you plan on reading before the year ends?

Kat: I'm currently reading... not much >.< It's been a bit hectic. I plan on reading a lot more YA fantasy soon, though!

Alexa: YA fantasy is one of my favorite genres ever, so if you need any recommendations, I would be happy to share some! I remember seeing that you were working on something new these past few months. Can you tell us anything at all about it - like what it's about, what genre it is or even something about the characters? Your tidbits via Twitter are very intriguing.

Kat: I can't say too much, but it's a YA fantasy, and it's pretty weird, lol. I'm apparently good at the weird. It keeps getting weirder, too. And bigger. Yikes! I also can't settle on a title for it. Yeah, that's about all I can divulge for now. I really hope to be able to share more soon, though :)

Alexa: YA fantasy? And weird? That sounds right up my alley! I can't wait to find out more about it. Now, for a quick bonus question since it's the holiday season! What was/is your favorite tradition for the holiday season?

Kat: My family doesn't have a lot of holiday traditions, haha, so I don't really, either. I guess I just like getting together with friends I haven't seen in a while and chilling and catching up :)

Alexa: I love doing that too! It's always fun for me to spend time with loved ones during this season, particularly for parties. Plus, I do love a spot of gift giving!

Thank you so much Kat for dropping by the blog today! It was an honor to have you, and to share your awesomeness with everyone else. Your new project is definitely on my radar, just so you know ;) If you want to find out more about Kat, you can find her on her official website, her Facebook page, Publishing Crawl, her blog or Twitter!


Series: The Hybrid Chronicles #1
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: September 18, 2012

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything. (from Goodreads)

Series: The Hybrid Chronicles #2
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: September 17, 2013

Eva was never supposed to have survived this long. As the recessive soul, she should have faded away years ago. Instead, she lingers in the body she shares with her sister soul, Addie. When the government discovered the truth, they tried to “cure” the girls, but Eva and Addie escaped before the doctors could strip Eva’s soul away.

Now fugitives, Eva and Addie find shelter with a group of hybrids who run an underground resistance. Surrounded by others like them, the girls learn how to temporarily disappear to give each soul some much-needed privacy. Eva is thrilled at the chance to be alone with Ryan, the boy she’s falling for, but troubled by the growing chasm between her and Addie. Despite clashes over their shared body, both girls are eager to join the rebellion.

Yet as they are drawn deeper into the escalating violence, they start to wonder: How far are they willing to go to fight for hybrid freedom? Faced with uncertainty and incredible danger, their answers may tear them apart forever. (from Goodreads)

Why should you read this series?
Confession time: I actually haven't read Once We Were yet! I will though, and there's no doubt about that because I need to learn more about Eva and Addie, and the whole hybrid situation. Anyway, I think you should check out this series for the following reasons: (1) the uniqueness of the hybrid situation, (2) what the hybrids mean for the society in the book as a whole and (3) Eva and Addie's relationship as hybrids. Here's a direct quote from my What's Left of Me review:
What’s Left of Me is certainly one of the most unique and most promising books I’ve read this year. I enjoyed reading it, and could not put it down once I had passed a certain point. I loved the fact that it made me wonder about what I would do if I were in the same situation as Eva and Addie.


  1. I really enjoyed both books in the series, zipping right through the pages. The way the whole two-souls-one-body concept is handled and fiddled with is intriguing and done with an expert hand. It's not ever confusing, but it turns your mind in an interesting way. Book two left me breathless and impatient for the final installment. I TOTALLY recommend this series. ^^

    1. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed both the books in this series! I have read What's Left of Me, but I have yet to get to Once We Were. I've definitely got to make that happen this year before Echoes of Us is out!

  2. I'm all for a weird YA fantasy! I didn't realise Kat was working on something new, but that's definitely exciting to hear. I really enjoyed What's Left of Me. Great interview, ladies! :)

    1. She's already finished up her original trilogy (with the last one releasing late this year), so she's been working on a new project. I'm really excited about it, because I do love a good fantasy novel. The more unique it is, the better!

  3. I love Kat's first book and can't wait to read the 2nd one. I've been getting into more YA fantasy myself, too. Thanks for this interview! So cool!

    AKA Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island

    1. I need to read the second one as well! I'm probably going to wind up waiting to read the second closer to the release date of the third, so the wait in between won't be as long.

  4. I recently picked up What's Left of Me on sale at my local bookstore, and now I'm even more excited to read it! In fact, I'll be reading it soon - I packed it to come home with me over the holidays! Loved this interview :)

    1. I'm happy to hear that you'll be reading What's Left of Me soon! I really hope that you enjoy it as much as I did, and I can't wait to read your review.


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