Q&A with Author Kayla Olson

BookTeen Event You Can’t Miss!

We have author Kayla Olson at the store this Saturday, November 17 at 6 PM for her latest and greatest Sci-Fi adventure, This Splintered Silence. She’ll be speaking and signing copies of the new book, so hopefully we’ll see you there!
In the meantime, enjoy this Q&A between Teen Press Corps member, Xander, and Kayla:
kayla olson

Xander: Which of your novels was the most challenging to write?

KO: Ooh, good question! They were both challenging in their own ways, but I’d say This Splintered Silence had a slight edge in the challenge department—there are so many layers to it, and there’s an ensemble cast, and it takes place in a very tight setting, so it was not something I could draft quickly, ha! It often felt like I was braiding five strings with one hand (with the other hand tied behind my back), so it was slow-going at times, but in the end it was still a really fun project!

Xander: Describe This Splintered Silence in 10 words.

KO: Mystery in space / shifting friend dynamics / surviving a crisis together

Xander:  Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what is on your playlist? If not, what are you jamming to when you aren’t writing?

KO: I’m actually a very musical person, so I get super distracted by music of any sort—even if it’s just instrumental! My go-to writing noise is this one thunderstorm soundtrack I downloaded, like, seven or eight years ago! It is by far the most played track in my iTunes library, lol. At this point, just turning it on helps me slip quickly into a focused mindset! (It was kind of weird to draft a book set in space while listening to thunderstorms, but despite trying other noise tracks, I always came back to this one!)

Xander: Which author would you fangirl over if you met?

KO: I would completely fangirl over meeting J.K. Rowling! The Harry Potter books are a huge reason why I started writing—I didn’t read them until after college, but the great thing about that was that they were all published by that point, so I could binge-read the entire set (and I absolutely did)! I will forever be impressed with the world she created, how rich and complex it is, and all the character and plot arcs she wove together to create such an incredible story. 

Xander: What is one part of the publishing industry you were surprised about?

KO: The most surprising thing to me about publishing (not really the industry itself, but part of the process anyway!) was how much I absolutely loved the copyedits phase of things—where a technical editor goes through your entire book and is very nitpicky about commas, repetitive words/phrases, details no one else would ever notice. It was so satisfying to feel my books getting all clean and polished up, even though that particular phase of things is pretty tedious! I had really great copyeditors who connected with my voice/style, too, so I imagine it could have been a much more painful process if I’d been matched with someone who wasn’t such a great fit.

Xander: Where do you like to write?

KO: Lately, my favorite writing spot is in my little home office—I have a big monitor, and can make the room really dark, so it is a really immersive experience that helps to minimize distractions. I also love writing in places that have a good view (especially if said view is of water and/or trees)!

Xander: What YA novel is your go-to recommendation recently?

KO: Lately, my go-to YA recommendation is Always Never Yours by Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley—it is such a wonderfully smart and refreshing contemporary, inspired by characters from Romeo and Juliet (specifically, the character of Rosaline, who Romeo was with right before he found his true love in Juliet). I couldn’t put it down, and I can’t wait for their next book (called If I’m Being Honest)!

Xander: What interesting hobbies or talents do you have?

KO: Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve always been a musical person—people always expected me to go the singing route (I also play piano and guitar)! Lately, I’ve also started taking tennis lessons, which is brand new for me since I’ve never been too athletic. I’m loving it, though, and it’s been an awesome physical outlet since I spend so much time sitting while writing/reading!

Xander: What is your favorite word and why?

KO: There are so many, haha. It’s hard to pick just one! Let’s see…I think I’m going to go with the word joy. A while back, I did a lot of thinking about the concept of joy v. happiness, and how people often use them interchangeably, but I don’t believe they’re actually synonymous. I think joy actually has deeper roots than happiness—that it’s rooted in hope, not just temporary and/or fleeting circumstances, and therefore feels more solid (and like it can coexist with complex emotions that don’t always include straightforward happiness).

Xander: What are you working on right now?

KO: Something brand new!! I’m in the midst of a first draft on a YA Fantasy, which is a totally new (and super fun!) experience for me. I have more sci-fi ideas/projects on the backburner, too, so…yes. Always working on something, ha! Hope to share one of these somethings with all of you at some point!

Xander: What Hogwarts House are you in?

KO: I’m very much a Ravenclaw! Though I did take an official quiz for my ‘hybrid’ house one time, and it said I was Hufferin, ha—the description seemed spot on, though, even though there was no Ravenclaw in that mix. 
Come support Kayla Olson here at BookPeople on Saturday, November 17 at 6 PM Can’t make the event? You can still order a signed copy of This Splintered Silence online!

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