Kat Zhang is the author of What’s Left of Me, her debut novel and the launch title for her Hybrid series. This book looks so intriguing, and I’m very anxious to get my hands on it when it’s released in September. Until then, I asked Kat if she could stop by the virtual offices to discuss her book and let us get to know her a little better.
[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Kat Zhang] I write & read & wander (rarely all at once, but sometimes). I’m a Spoken Word poet & a college student. I’m very silly when over-tired
[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about What’s Left of Me?
[Kat Zhang] Well, I think the official blurb sums it up pretty well Here’s the US one since the UK one (at least right now) is up on Goodreads
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.
[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Kat Zhang] Tough question! I didn’t really have any grand moment of realization for this story. I just came up with the idea of two souls fighting over control for one body and the notion that one of them eventually became trapped as a passive observer of her own limbs. I honestly didn’t have too much else planned when I began the first draft. Eva and Addie (and the plot!) emerged as I wrote and revised.
[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the story?
[Kat Zhang] The dual nature of the characters in WHAT’S LEFT OF ME was definitely a challenge–it’s not often that one has to struggle with correct pronoun use and such for a body inhabited by two people! Also, it took a lot of brainstorming to figure out how this phenomenon might work in a “real” world, and how the two souls would feel about one another and their body as a whole. These considerations meant that even some of the most mundane scenes took a lot of thinking through!
[Manga Maniac Café] What three words best describe Eva?
[Kat Zhang] Desperate. Compassionate. Loyal.
[Manga Maniac Café] What are three things Addie would never have in her bedroom?
[Kat Zhang] A disco ball. A mess. A frog.
[Manga Maniac Café] Can you describe the editing process for What’s Left of Me?
[Kat Zhang] Rigorous 😉 WHAT’S LEFT OF ME was only the second book I ever finished writing all the way through, and it was definitely a learning process. I revised for a few months with critique partners before querying, then revised a few more months with my agent before submitting to publishers, then went through some more revisions after that. So, yes, much revision. But it all served to make the book so much stronger.
[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Kat Zhang] Other books. TV shows. Movies. Dance. I love it all
[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Kat Zhang] Hmm…there aren’t a lot of things I need, but silence is always nice. A comfy place to sit. And the knowledge that I have several free hours ahead of me Okay, so those are all preferences, not needs, because when you’re a college student and writing, you can’t be picky about writing time, haha.
[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Kat Zhang] Gosh. Um… Are we talking about like books we loved as children? Because the earliest book I remember loving is the complete collection of Winne-the-Pooh stories. My father bought me this enormous hard-cover blue book with all the stories plus a lot of his poetry for children, and it’s falling apart, now, but you can still see where little me wrote her name in super shaky handwriting 😛
[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Kat Zhang] I love to travel, and I’m trying to each myself how to play the piano at the moment, so I spend a good amount of time on that. I’ve recently discovered that rock climbing can be very fun, and I like to be outside, so I enjoy stuff like hiking. Of course I like just hanging out with friends, too, doing college-y things
[Manga Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?
[Kat Zhang] Here’s me on Twitter: @KatZhang
My website: www.katzhangwriter.com
Or Goodreads for WLoM: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11043618-what-s-left-of-me
Thanks for inviting me to do an interview, Julie!
[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!
What’s Left of Me will be in stores in September! You can preorder a copy from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below:
NEVER LET ME GO meets HIS DARK MATERIALS in a beautiful, haunting YA debut, the first book in The Hybrid Trilogy.
Eva and Addie live in a world where everyone is born with two souls, but where only the dominant one is allowed to survive childhood. Fifteen years old, and closer even than twins, the girls are keeping Eva, the ‘second soul’, a secret. They know that it’s forbidden to be hybrid, but how could they ever be apart?
When a dramatic event reveals what really happens to hybrids if they are discovered, Eva and Addie face a dangerous fight for survival, neither wanting to be the one left behind…