Author Interview with Mya Kay
I’m hosting an author interview with author Mya Kay today. Mya Kay is the author of YA novel “A Song for Jordan”. Come read the interview to find out more about Mya, why she became an author and about her book!
1) When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I knew I wanted to be an author when I was in college. But I tried to write my first book when I was five. I remember asking a girl in my class if she would draw the pictures for a quarter a piece. It was about two talking dogs. The rest, I couldn’t tell you.
2.) How long did it take you to write “A Song for Jordan” from draft to finish?
From draft to finish, it took me roughly six months, which includes time put aside. I took the time to finish it after my mom was diagnosed with tongue cancer. I had to keep myself busy and from getting depressed while doing her home care. I had written a few chapters and put it aside. Once she got sick, I picked it back up and realized this was going to be a great story if I wrote it the way I originally wanted to. I finished the outline and from there, everything just flowed.
3.) Where did you get the inspiration for “A Song for Jordan”?
I love music. I played the flute when I was little. There is something that music gives that I don’t even think books can. Music has a life of its own and I always wished I had been more advanced in playing instruments. So, I chose to live through Jordan being the musician I always wanted to be. Now, I do write songs, so that part came naturally. But I definitely feel like I would be a lot like Jordan if I had continued with my music studies.
4.) What’s your favorite character from “A Song for Jordan”? Who is your least favorite character?
My favorite character is Christopher Jordan. I don’t want to give too much of the book away, but I love a man who takes on being a mentor and fatherly figure to young people just because he works with them. A lot of black men are seen in the media in a negative light. I always said I would try my best to build strong, black, male characters. And I think Christopher is that all the way around.
My least favorite character is Jordan’s mom, Melissa. I know what’s it like to long for the attention of a parent and everything and everyone else seems to be more important than you. And when that parent has money, they think because you may have the latest Iphone and gadgets, that they’ve done their part. Melissa is like a lot of moms and even some dads I know – neglectful and at times distant and cold. I like complex characters that have a toughness about them, but you still find a way to be compassion about them.
5.) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
My biggest piece of advice to aspiring authors is to break all the rules. I think the industry puts too much stress and pressure on how things should be done. You HAVE to write everyday or you’re not a real writer. You HAVE to outline. You HAVE to study your genre mercilessly. I think it kind of sucks. I think some of the greatest children’s writers of our time, my favorite being Judy Blume, just kind of found they had a gift and acted on it. That’s not to say that they didn’t learn some hard lessons on the way. But I definitely feel that when you know you have a gift to tell a story, you have to follow your heart. Of course certain rules make sense. You SHOULD read books in the genre you want to write in (but you don’t have to stress over it). I was reading so many books in my genre because I thought I wasn’t a good writer if I didn’t, that when I went to go write, I got stuck. All I could think about was how so-and-so did it and if I didn’t do it like them, it wasn’t right. Over reading can hurt you as well. So, definitely, follow your heart. Outline simply. Then outline some more if you get stuck. But your outline doesn’t have to be twenty pages. And write when you can. I personally write everyday when I’m working on a something new. But I may write 500 words one day and 2,500 the next. You can’t always write when you are inspired because there will be days you don’t feel so inspired. But definitely don’t pressure yourself to write if you feel you can’t.
6.) What did you find most challenging about writing “A Song for Jordan?”
Writing “A Song for Jordan” actually came kind of easy. I think that’s because it was my second book. My first book (Fall, 2013) was a challenge. But when I finished that one, I was querying agents and was getting a lot of rejections. So, I knew I needed to get back to writing at some point. You also have to remember, I was laid off and taking care of my mom, so I would throw myself into my work to get my mind off of life’s troubles.
7.) Are you working on a manuscript right now? If so, can you tell us more about it?
I actually have two releases that will be getting edited soon for release in 2013. “Butterfly Faith” will be out June 2013 and “Kaiya’s Redemption” will be out Fall 2013. There’s also a sequel to my first book, which is a book of short stories called “Speechless: Short Stories” that will be out Christmas 2013. I just finished my first middle grade, but I will be querying agents for that one. And I am working on another young adult manuscript that I am looking to pitch to agents as well. I’m about 18,000 words into that one. I know, I know! Sounds hectic. But writing is everything to me! LOL!
As far as my next release, I love building strong female characters that don’t focus on image and things that the media tells our teen girls they should focus on. Butterfly Faith, a novelette, is the story of a young lady named Angela Faith who is homeless and a drug addict. But she’s very bright and still goes to school every day. Everybody thinks her father is away in the military, but her parents and her little brother actually were killed in a car accident two years prior. Her transformation is amazing. It’s very touching and every time I think about it, I am reminded why I love writing teen fiction so much.
Thanks for answering my questions, Mya! You’ve been a wonderful interviewee, and it was a delight reading through your responses. Good luck with the release of Butterfly Faith and Kaiya’s Redemption!
A Song for Jordan
Mya Kay’s A SONG FOR JORDAN (Amazon/Mya Kay Publishing; December 15, 2012; $15.00 Print, Kindle $7.99) is a story that will take you along an emotional and mental journey with Jordan Crystal Myers as she searches for a father that her family hates. Everything fifteen-year-old Jordan Crystal Myers knows about music comes from her father, from arranging notes to playing several different instruments. One day, she’d love to meet him.
A musician who left her mother, Melissa, when she was born, Jordan longs to have a relationship with the man that gave her the gift of music. Even knowing that her grandparent’s wanted her mother to abort her and that her mother doesn’t want her to find him doesn’t stop Jordan from asking questions.
A bi-racial teen already facing the pain of being mixed in an image driven society puts her search on hold when she lands a competitive music internship in Atlanta with SyncDeep Music Group, a label run by one of her favorite musicians. For the next six weeks, Jordan gets to arrange music, play and network with some of the music industry’s biggest artists. Two weeks before the internship is over, she’s abruptly fired and finding out her mother is the reason behind her termination causes Jordan to lose all hope – until she realizes she may have just found what she’s been looking for all along.
All the lies she’s heard come to light in this gripping tale that will leave your heart wrenching for Jordan as she searches for the one thing she longs for most. A SONG FOR JORDAN will leave bitter mothers who keep their children away from their fathers feeling sorry for the pain they’ve caused.
Mya Kay is the author or Speechless: Short Stories and a screenwriter. She is currently a teacher in South Korea teaching English as a Second Language. You can follow her on twitter, facebook or learn more about her at her website www.myakbooks.com.