Friday, September 7, 2012

Interview with Author Lydia Kang

Lydia is one of my earliest blog buddies. She has an amazing blog The Word is my Oyster. Though her Medical Mondays posts can sometimes make one nervous, they are absolutely informative and an eye opener. Lydia graciously agreed to this author interview and she sent the email back within half an hour. I am sure she has a time turner, that is the secret of all the things she can do in a day.

Q.  Tell us a little about your YA sci-fi novel Control?

A. It’s a near-future, soft sci-fi novel about a 17 y/o girl, Zelia, who loses her only family left—her sister—and needs the help of a foster home full of illegal, genetic freaks to help her. Oh, and she maybe falls in love too!

Q.  Where does inspiration for your characters come from?

A. Out of my head. Some classic romatic relationships (like in Austen, Bronte) often inspire me. Others, I just literally write down a list. This person is going to look like this, be humorous, look like a jock, but have a secret soft spot too. Stuff like that.

Q.  I read in your bio that you work part time as a primary care internal medicine physician. How do you balance your medical duties with your writing schedule?

A. I am lucky in that I work part time as a doctor. My writing takes over every other corner of my life outside of being a doctor and having a family.

Q.  Are you a plotter or a panster?  How long does it take you to write the first draft?

A. I plot my novels; I pants the scenes. As the years go by, I’m finding that my first drafts take longer and longer. My inner editor won’t shut up; but as a result, my revisions are not nearly as bad as they used to be. Right now, a first draft might take me 4 months. (Compared to the first novel I ever wrote—one month!)

Q. What is your writing schedule like? Do you have a word count you tackle everyday? Or do you go by the number of hours you clock in?

A. I try to write 10,000 words a week, in first draft mode. In truth, it may range from 4000 words to 12,000 words. (those 4000 word weeks usually have some writer’s block/plot issues going on)

Q. How was your journey to getting an agent? Any query tips for my readers?

A. For all the down and dirty details, I blogged about my querying journey here:
My tips would be to keep your query letter under 300 words, have a killer hook, and don’t tell your whole plot, just limit it to what happens in the first 50 pages and lay out the stakes of the novel. Oh, and grow a very, very thick skin.

Q.  Is there a writing craft book you cannot do without?

A. No, not one. I’ve taken a little bit from various books and blogs to help me write.

Q.  What are you working on now?

A. I’m tweaking a MG novel (a magic dystopian) and trying to finish the sequel to CONTROL.

Q. How do you balance everything: your medical profession, writing, blogging and looking after your family?
Any time management skills you would like to share with my readers?

A. Oh boy. Well, blogging was hard to do three times a week, so I cut down to twice a week. My readership fell a little with that, but I feel so much more free now, so that was worth it. Doctoring takes up very specific times in my life, so there’s no wiggle room there. On my writing days, I try very hard to actually write, and not waste my time. I also write late at night, and am sleep deprived M-F. I  make it up on weekend mornings when my kids wake up and get their own breakfast. Though I loved it when my kids were babies and little toddlers, my sleep deprivation is way more in control now that they have a little independence.

Thank you, Rachna, for having me over on your lovely blog! You’ve been a blogging friend almost since I started blogging, and I love your writing posts!

About Lydia: Lydia is a doctor, blogger, mom, and author. Her YA sci-fi book, CONTROL, will be out summer 2013 from Dial Books (Penguin). She is ravenously omnivorous and has a salt-tooth. She’s also strong for her size, kind of like an ant.

Thank you Lydia, for this amazing peek into your writing life.


  1. Control sounds intriguing - I love stories set in the near future. Great interview. Thanks, Rachna and lydia.

  2. I love the way she manage to reply you shortly. That is the symbol of how passionate she is about writing.
    That inspires us a lot.
    wonderful post.....:)

  3. Great interview Rachna and Lydia. Loved learning more about how Lydia balances it all and her writing process. Can't wait to read her book. And I'm impressed if a first draft only takes 4 months. Mine are torture right now.

  4. I didn't know you were part time. I bet it would be really difficult to keep up with everything if you were full time.

  5. Great interview, and awesome pieces of advice littered throughout.

    Moody Writing

  6. Great interview :-)Loved the tips on writing the query letter! Thanks, Rachna and Lydia...

  7. Hi Friends, do go through the link where Lydia talks of her querying journey. Its absolutely inspirational. Lydia's time management skills leave me stunned. She really packs in a lot in one single day.

    Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

  8. "I plot my novels; I pants the scenes." Me too! I've been trying to figure out how to say that forever. :)

    Great interview!

  9. Great interview. Thanks for hosting Rachna. Lydia, your medical background makes your blog the most interesting one I visit.

  10. Hmmmm. I've never quite known how to describe my process, but you've summed it up for me--plotting the novel but pantsing the scenes.

    And you're working on an MG! Yay!

  11. Thank you Rachna and everyone for stopping by! Who knew there were so many "plot the novel, pants the scene" writers out there!

  12. Great interview ladies! I enjoyed getting to know Lydia better. :)

  13. Lydia, it's so exciting to see your promoting your novel Control! I'm wishing you the best of luck with it.

    I liked your way of describing your writing technique - "plot the novel, pants the scenes". I guess that's how I pretty much do things too. And I like to take my time on my first drafts too. It makes the revision process so much quicker and easier.


  14. I don't know how Lydia balances it all, even if she just works part time. She still has to keep up with the latest medical news. She must be super woman. :D

    Thanks for the great interview, ladies.

  15. Thanks for hosting, Rachna. Lydia, it was great to learn more about you.

  16. Wow! Absolutely amazing and a thoughtful interview. I loved it when she said, "My inner editor won't shut up"
    It made giggle for once and then made me realise, how much hardworking person she is.

    Thank you!

  17. Fun interview. It was nice learning more about you. The strength of an ant made me chuckle.

  18. A really great interview this. Some fascinating insights made possible by the intelligent questions.

  19. Great interview Lydia and Rachna. I am impressed with the 10k word goal. Thanks for the querying tips. I have bookmarked those for future reference.

  20. Wow!! Lydia, I love how you manage your time!
    I want to be more like you. I really do.

    Bless you, Rachna, and thank you for sharing another wonderful writer with us!!!

  21. Wow, Lydia sounds extremely focused and seems to have perfected the art of time management!

  22. Great interview, Rachna.
    Congrats with sticking it out and not giving up, Lydia. You are an inspiration.

  23. I always love it when two of my net friends do something together! Nice to learn more about Control. And I definitely resonate with being sleep deprived M-F and making up for it when the kiddos do their own thing early morning on the weekend. Same thing here.