Next Door to a Star by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Hadley Daniels is tired of feeling invisible.
After Hadley’s best friend moves away and she gets on the bad side of some girls at school, she goes to spend the summer with her grandparents in the Lake Michigan resort town of Grand Haven. Her next door neighbor is none other than teen TV star Simone Hendrickson, who is everything Hadley longs to be—pretty, popular, and famous—and she’s thrilled when Simone treats her like a friend.
Being popular is a lot harder than it looks.
It’s fun and flattering when Simone includes her in her circle, though Hadley is puzzled about why her new friend refuses to discuss her former Hollywood life. Caught up with Simone, Hadley finds herself ignoring her quiet, steadfast friend, Charlotte.
To make things even more complicated, along comes Nick Jenkins…
He’s sweet, good-looking, and Hadley can be herself around him without all the fake drama. However, the mean girls have other ideas and they fill Nick’s head with lies about Hadley, sending him running back to his ex-girlfriend and leaving Hadley heartbroken.
So when her parents decide to relocate to Grand Haven, Hadley hopes things will change when school starts…only to be disappointed once again.
Love gone bad.
Is this really what it’s like to live…Next Door to a Star?
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Welcome, Krysten. What inspired you to write the Landry’s True Colors series?
When I was in college, I heard the phrase that you should write the book you want to read. I had been wanting to write a YA novel and had several starts, but nothing that I really went the distance with until I heard that. I began writing the books I would have wanted to read at that age as I was dealing with my own insecurities about fitting in and comparing myself to images in magazines. I grew up in the era of the supermodels, which reminds me a lot of how teens and, really, people of all ages, compare themselves to what they see on social media sites. So I wrote from the point of view of a character who sees these perfect looking girls, with perfect looking lives and what seems like super tight-knit friendships, but begins to realize that the grass isn’t always greener. I also wanted to write with humor because that was something I found missing in the YA novels I read growing up.
I love having a character that grows throughout the series although the books can be read as standalone novels as well. It’s fun for me to continue on with the Landry character as well as all her friends and develop them more as the series goes on.
You are a self-proclaimed book addict. What are the best books you’ve ever read? Why would you include those books in your list of best books?
I love to read and my to-be-read stack is growing all the time. One of my favorite books is The Great Gatsby. It was assigned to me in 7th grade and again in 9th, but I didn’t connect with it until I reread it the summer the movie with Leonardo came out. This time all the themes jumped out at me and I appreciated what Fitzgerald was doing. I love Fitzgerald’s essays and short stories as well. Growing up, I loved all the series books. I read everything from Nancy Drew to Sweet Valley High, The Babysitters Club, and fell in love with a book called Goodbye Glamour Girl by Erika Tamar. I also like reading books by Susan Shapiro, May Sarton, Sarah Mlyanowski, and Judy Blume as well.
There are some great and classic series in that list.
In your web site bio you say that when you’re not reading you are catching up on your favourite shows. What are a few of your favourite shows and why?
I am bad luck for shows, apparently, because so many of my favorites get canceled–like Hart of Dixie and Dallas, Freaks and Geeks. My current must see programs are: American Dad because I love the writing on it. I love how the writers have the characters of Stan and Roger play off each other. I watch The Simpson and Family Guy for fun, escapist humor and I love The Goldbergs. My friends and I are always talking about that show. Watching Adam Goldberg go through middle school is like going back in time to our own awkward experiences at that age. I also like watching shows on the Disney Channel, like, Girl Meets World, and Austin and Ally. I started watching that show a few months ago when I realized the Austin character looked a bit like how I was imagining Vladi Yagudin in my series. I tune in to Switched at Birth and I also watch sports a lot: figure skating, basketball, football (both college level as well as the pros–the Detroit Lions), soccer (Real Madrid), and during the playoffs I watch the Detroit Tigers.
Your Amazon bio says you have worked as a journalist and humor essayist. What is the connection between writing in this style and writing fiction?
My favorite thing as a journalist was interviewing people. Human interest pieces were such a treat because I got to talk to people from all walks of life like politicians, athletes, teachers, priests and preachers, and a lot of people in the arts. It often brought a new perspective to how I viewed things and I’ve been inspired by many of the people I’ve interviewed over the years for my stories. I wrote an essay that was published in an anthology called, Patchwork Path: Friendship Star, about a woman I was sent to do a human interest piece on. She and I became close friends, but then she passed away from a heart condition and I wrote about her impact on my life. When it came to writing humor essays, it was a great way to get my foot in the door by showing a more creative side of my writing and people who liked the humor in those pieces get a taste of what I write in my fictional work as well.
You have a master’s degree in American Culture. How often do you use what you learned in school in your writing?
Daily! I have often said the most helpful thing in my writing career has been the classes I’ve taken over the years. The literature classes showed me how stories are put together and honestly, it’s like taking a class from the masters. With American Culture you’re covering everything from literature, communications, history, art history, and I also took pre-law classes. So many of these experiences helped me to become a better writer by teaching new things I can use in my novels or helping me to understand a subject better. As an undergrad, I took mostly European history and European lit classes, so moving on to American culture was great because I felt much more well-rounded and have a unique take on things having studied both.
My degree is in Cultural Anthropology and I feel the same way about those classes.
Back to writing and books, how did you find your publisher? Why did you decide to publish with Clean Reads?
A few years ago, I was living in Portugal and in a freelance writer group. I was mostly writing for newspapers, magazines, and online sites and one of the writers in the group mentioned she was happy with the company and then later I saw another writer from that group had signed with them as well.
What’s the best review you have received to date? Quote something from it and tell us why it meant so much to you.
The first one that comes to mind is from a high school student who reviewed both books on her blog, Indyia’s Reviews. Part of the review for the first book (True Colors) said, “I’m in love with this book because almost ANY middle school, or even high school teens can relate to this! …Through this journey she gets caught up in trying to be herself, but also wanting to be ‘perfect middle school girl’ to meet her new friend’s standards! Landry learns throughout the story how to deal with her new found enemies, a crush, and she figures out modeling isn’t this great big fairy tale world! In the end, she figures out that true friends will love you for you! I love the moral of this story because to me, it’s very self motivating! It’s okay to be yourself and a little quirky sometimes!”
I loved that review because that was exactly what I had hoped readers would walk away from the book thinking and feeling. I also loved hearing from a reading specialist about two of her students who appreciated the fact Landry deals with insecurities even as she is picking to go on in modeling competitions. One of the students said it made her feel better knowing even Landry dealt with self-esteem issues like she (the student) did.
Getting reviews is one way to publicize. How else do you go about publicizing your book? How much time do you spend on publicity? What is the most helpful site(s) you have found to date?
I’ve done book tours and book blasts, but I think having other writers on my own blog/website has been helpful as you’re bringing in new readers to your site. I think Facebook pages are a great way to connect with people so that’s been the most helpful, but I’d suggest each writer pick one thing they feel comfortable with because if you feel awkward using it, it will show. I don’t know how much time to say I devote to it as I don’t keep track.
What is your next project about?
I have a new standalone YA novel called, Next Door to a Star, out now from Limitless Publishing. It’s about a high school student named Hadley Daniels who winds up moving to a lake resort town near a teen TV star for a summer that involves first love, true friendship, and realizing that what you see in the magazines isn’t always what you get.
I also finished the third book in the Landry’s True Colors Series, so I’m looking forward to the release of that and I’m working on book 4 of the series as well as another YA novel and an adult one.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell your readers that’s not covered by this interview?
I feel so fortunate to be able to connect with readers online, so drop me a line any time on my website.