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Friday, August 14, 2009

Chick Chat: Cayla Kluver

Cayla Kluver is the author of Legacy, available Tuesday. For more information about Cayla and/or Legacy visit her website.

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What inspired you to write Legacy?
A lot of things – I’d had the idea for a couple of years before I decided to write it, so in part it was just the concept bursting to get out. I’d also recently discovered Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, who had her first book published at age 13, and I suddenly realized that I’d been waiting until I was an “adult” to even attempt my first book. I started writing that day, so she was definitely an inspiration to me. Bottom line though, I think it was the way my parents encouraged my sisters and I to use our imaginations (cliché as that sounds!). We spent summers with each other and our friends just playing make-believe in the backyard, and I think that really fostered a creative streak in me.

At 16 you’re already a published author, what’s next for you?
Hopefully remaining a published author! Writing is what I love, and I know I’ll keep doing it whether I’m getting published or not. (But having a livelihood would be nice.)

How do you balance writing with school and other activities?
I actually graduated high school in May 2008, so the only difficulty now is finding a balance between writing, publicity, etc., and seeing my friends – I’m always doing one or the other, and scrambling to keep up with both. I was planning to go to college this fall, but then the AmazonEncore opportunity was presented to me (no complaints here, but I’m definitely keeping college in mind for the future). But I was in high school when I was writing my first draft of Legacy, while I was also dealing with homework, involved in school plays, choir, and other activities. Fortunately, I was able to do an independent study with my English teacher, Mrs. White, so I had time right within the school day to write.3

Have you always wanted to be an author? Why or why not?
I’ve always been writing, and I’ve always loved it – that’s something I remember from way back in Kindergarten. The first time I recall actually saying, “I want to be a writer,” was in fourth grade, and it hasn’t wavered since then. (It helps that writing is about the only thing I’m good at!)

Is being an author what you expected?
I don’t know – I really have trouble thinking of myself in that capacity! To me, the term “author” applies to Stephen King and Philip Pullman, not me. But I guess when I started out on this journey, I wasn’t versed enough in the world to have realistic expectations about any career. I’ve really been learning along the way, and it’s been bumpy, and difficult, but ultimately life-shaping. I wouldn’t be who or where I am without the experiences this road has afforded me.

Why did you decide to re-release Legacy with Amazon Encore?
I was approached by AmazonEncore, and as my mom, my literary agent (Kevan Lyon) and I learned more about their goals and intentions with the program, we realized what a good thing it would be for the publishing, author, and reader communities. Amazon’s idea is to discover books in a different way, and thereby give more authors a chance at traditional publication, and readers more books to read. As part of the negotiations process, the three of us were flown out to Seattle and shown what Amazon planned to do with the book in terms of packaging and marketing, and their proposal was absolutely amazing. I signed the contract on that trip.

How do you feel being the first author to be published under Amazon Encore?
It’s a huge honor, and a huge boon to my confidence. One of my biggest hopes has always been that people will read Legacy and its sequels and judge them for what’s written on the page. I don’t want my age to color anything, whether that results in glowing reviews or flaming ones. I know that when Amazon read my book, amidst a vast number of others, and chose it as their launch book, they weren’t immediately aware that I was sixteen. That was so important to me, and just adds to my feeling of awe and good fortune at being where I am now.

Many teens dream of becoming authors. Being a teen author yourself, what advice can you give to them?
Keep writing and don’t listen to people who say you can’t do it or aren’t good enough. Who needs them? Concentrate on the positive influences in your life, and on doing what you love no matter what.

Would you rather see your book turned into a TV show or a movie?
A movie – I don’t know how much you could do with this plotline on the small screen. It doesn’t have much potential for a continuing arc of any real length, so I don’t think it would survive seasons! I have a different book idea though that would make a much better TV show than a movie. I’m far from an expert in either field, so who knows?

If you could cast anyone to play your characters what would your dream cast be?
My older sister is an actress (an actual actress, not like I just want to talk her up), and the main character is based off of her, so I’d love to have her play Alera. I love Garrett Hedlund, so having him as Steldor would be cool. Jeremy Irons as Cannan… I think those are the only three I have really strong feelings about. I definitely daydream about it though, so I have ideas for the rest of the cast!

Which one of your characters do you identify with the most?
The book is written from Alera’s point of view, so I have to identify with her on a pretty significant level, but that’s the boring answer. I guess I identify with London quite well. He’s really independent, does what he thinks is best, and gets a lot of metaphorical strange looks for it. (I’m what you’d call a “free spirit” so strange looks come with the territory.)

Besides writing and reading what else are you passionate about?
I love music. I can’t play any instruments, but I sing like crazy (not necessarily well, but like crazy), and nothing can get to me emotionally like a song can. My best friend and I will sometimes get together and go back and forth singing all day.

When can readers expect your next book, Allegiance, to be released?
I don’t have a definite release date for it yet, but I’d say anywhere from nine months to a year after Legacy’s release on August 18th (but don’t hold me to that!). Things are just very focused on Legacy’s launch right now and we haven’t gotten to those discussions yet.

Are you working on anything new? If so, what?
Right now, I’m working on the third book in the Legacy series, called Redemption. Once I finish that, I have a few other ideas I’m excited to put to paper – one has to do with time travel, I have one that’s very gothic, there’s one that takes place at a college where some sinister stuff is going on. I’m not sure what will get written first, but I’m looking forward to it!

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