Today YA author Kimberly King joins us!
Tell us about your work!
I write clean, funny YA fiction that’s appropriate for children 10 and older that’s also fun for adults to enjoy as well. My first two books, “The Trouble with Fairy Godmothers,” and its sequel, “The Trouble with Prince Charming,” are modern-day Cinderella stories with a hilarious, uptight fairy godmother who can’t get her spells right. These books delve into the humorous world of dating and relationships as well as self-discovery. My third book, “Evan the Horrible,” is a fun one involving a magic ring and a sorceress trapped in a mirror with even more humor than the books before. I fell in love with Evan’s hilarious snarkiness and wit, and hope my readers love him just as much as I do!
What was your favorite book when you were growing up?
I loved “The Chocolate Touch” and the magic that was woven so beautifully within the story, as well as the sweetness found in the book, “Mandy” by Julie Andrews Edwards.
What is your favorite book as an adult?
I love “Pride and Prejudice,” “The Truth Cookie” by Fiona Dunbar, “The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon” by Stephen King, and I always love a good sweet romance book!
I always reread my favorite books. Do you reread books and if so, which one(s) have you read over again?
I struggle rereading books I love, because I guess I’m afraid it’ll lose its magic, but the one book I have no problem reading over and over again is “Pride and Prejudice.” You just can’t go wrong with a classic!
Who are some of your favorite authors?
My taste varies so much! I don’t think I have a favorite author, because different stories bring in different elements and different characters that capture my heart. My library is a wide variety of wonderful books by many different authors.
A lot of creatives (artists, writers, musicians) have talked about how the pandemic has impacted their creativity. How has it been for you?
For a while, I lost my ambition to write because I was overwhelmed with taking care of my six children and trying to get them through their schooling. However, I picked it up again, and I’m so glad I did, because it gives me such a wonderful outlet!
What are you working on now?
I’m super close to publishing my very first YA romance, “Lucky in Love,” and I’m so, so excited for it! There is no magic in it like my other books, but it’s full of humor.
Find Kimberly here:
You can find me on Facebook:
Check out my blog! https://jotsthoughtsandtittles.blogspot.com/
Kat Ellison is sure she’s the only person on earth whose grandma still flirts with the pool boy. But she’s got bigger problems now that Sam Buxton, Senior Class President, keeps coming around. From the moment she laid eyes on him, she’s had nothing but bad luck, but there’s no getting rid of him. Gram has decided they’re a perfect match and is bound and determined to get the two together.
From her baking mishaps at home to mortifying moments in the halls of Honeyville High, Kat’s convinced Sam is a bad penny the way he keeps showing up. But she has a plan: win over recently single Hunter Hayes, convince Gram that he’s a better match, and get rid of her bad luck—and Sam—once and for all.
The trouble is her fate is written in the stars. How can she change it when everything keeps bringing her back to the one person she can’t stand?
This week we finished the book!
In chapter 24, Landry is at the competition and waiting to see if she is chosen as a finalist. How did you feel when the finalists were picked? And what did you think about what happened next with Kyra? Landry has very mixed feelings about her good fortune. How did you feel about the position was put in?
What happens next changes everything for Landry and she tells Carolyn that Kyra didn’t do anything wrong and may have been set up by Raine. She does this to clear Kyra’s name and give Kyra her spot back even though this means Landry will be sent home. Write about your feelings about Landry’s decision.
Landry feels she looks different than the other models and she’s still stinging from what other makeup artists and stylists have said about her. However, she gets some positive feedback from Joi about how she is unique. This scene was one of my favorites. How did that scene make you feel?
We see Landry win a title for being beautiful inside and out that was suggested by the other models she admires. She also gets the opportunity to talk to the well-known models, Jem and Talisa, and they share how they’ve been sabotaged by other models at shows and events. What are your thoughts on what they tell Landry? Have you ever gone through anything like that?
In chapter 35, the webisode airs and afterward a few friends contact Landry about it. Who texts her about the show and which of her friends do not?
Vladi comes over and they finally get to talk about everything that happened. Write about what you think of Vladi’s response to what happened on the webisode.
Behind the Scenes: I loved the idea of showing who supports Landry for the right reasons and is in her corner no matter what. I have to admit that at her age that I didn’t feel like I had the support system she did. In fact, I often felt lonely even when in a group. It wasn’t until later I felt like I found more of my tribe.
I wanted Landry to learn from the difficult “frenemy” friendships so she’d see what makes up a real friend and learn how to be a better friend as a result. I feel like my own experiences have led me down that same path and I’m lucky to have great relationships now. Sometimes we need to go through something to see what we need and appreciate what we have.
The webisode scenes were fun to write as that tension was built. I wanted to show Landry stayed true to her values even if it meant she was going to lose out on something she really wanted. And in the end, something amazing came out of it. Plus, Landry made a good friend and we’ll see Kyra again in the next book!
Next, you have an opportunity to ask my questions! We’ll follow up with book three: Landry in Like in the following week. You or your parent or guardian can message me your questions here: https://www.krystenlindsay.com/contact.html
I’ll pick a few to answer for the next session. It can be about the books or anything you’d like to know. Thanks for reading Best Friends…Forever with me.
Last time we read chapters 31-33. The previous sessions can be found here:
In chapter 31, Landry’s friends have different reactions to her getting to participate in the Wild Card webisode event. Write what you notice about their reactions. What do you think they are really feeling about Landry’s opportunity? Who seems happy for her?
In chapter 32, we see Landry getting anxious over the competition. Have you ever felt sick because you were so anxious over something that scared you? Was there anything that made you feel better? Maybe there’s a certain song or album that helps you feel calmer or someone who you can talk to. Make a list of things that help when you feel anxious. Keep this list handy for when you need you.
Landry gets her hair styled for the event, but the stylist doesn’t listen to her. Another stylist, Rylan, comes over to check on her. What does he do to help her? How is he different than the first stylist?
Landry goes to get her makeup done next and this scene is straight out of what models go through. Take a moment to reread this section and write about how it makes you feel hearing the makeup artists talk about her features.
In chapter 33, the other contestants bring up the fact the supermodel, Talisa, has broken out on her chin. What do you think about their comments?
There’s a lot about self-confidence and self-esteem when it comes to how you look in this section. Landry is definitely being impacted by this, but some of the adults handle how they talk about it better than others. Journal or talk about how that made you feel. Do you think it’s just people in the entertainment or fashion industry that feel this way or have you ever heard your friends or people you know talk this way?
Behind the scenes: I brought a lot of incidents I both witnessed and experienced when I was modeling into this series. People in the modeling industry do take apart people’s looks and go through looking for imperfections, etc. However, sometimes a model might have a unique look that works for them. Still, it can make anyone feel bad about themselves. I remember a girl making a comment about a well-known really beautiful model saying something about her skin was, “gross,” and I was in shock hearing someone get so negative about a tiny skin flaw. My first thought was, “She’ll think I’m gross too if that happens to me.”
I also witnessed a lot of girls “shrink” as comments were made about their appearance. Some of the most physically beautiful models would focus on their flaws because that’s what the professionals brought up to them all the time. It used to make me sad that they focused on what they were told was wrong with them instead of focusing on their uniqueness.
The hair cutting scene was something that happened to me when a stylist was told to give me a different look. I remember being in complete shock walking out of the place with this really short bob. She didn’t listen to me at all, but the Rylan character comes from an experience my sister had at a salon.
My sister was uncomfortable because the main stylist was ignoring what she wanted done with her hair. I should add that this was the day before her first day of high school so she was very nervous about how she looked starting a new school because someone else had turned her hair orange and she was desperate to get it fixed before she started school! This guy who worked there could see she was upset and he came over and offered to help. I always remembered how he jumped in and saved the day. It was a small thing, but just the fact that he noticed she was upset, listened to her, and respect her feelings changed that whole experience for her. Not to mention he turned her hair from orange to brown again. I wanted to put this situation in the story to remind people that even small actions can make a big difference.
Finish the book for next time!
Last time we read chapters 27-30. The previous sessions can be found here:
In chapter 27, we see Landry get a modeling audition, but it’s nowhere near as glamourous as she had hoped. What was your reaction to the children’s store she’d be modeling at?
In chapter 28, we see Landry having to deal with rejection for a job she didn’t even want in the first place. How did that make you feel?
Landry really wants to have this big life, but when the opportunity to do the makeover show comes on (which also gives her another shot at the bigger competition), she gets very nervous.
What are some of the things she’s worried about? Even though the idea of being on a makeover show makes her anxious, she says she’ll do it. Why do you think she’s willing to go and do this show even though she’s scared?
In chapter 29, Landry tells her mother she doesn’t want people to know she’s going to do this show.
"Because it'll be less embarrassing if I don't make it. If no one knows, then no one can laugh at me."
"Hon, don't ever let fear of failing hold you back, because if you do, then you won't try anything."
Seriously? Was this woman ever in the eighth grade?
Have you ever felt that way—that you’d rather not let people know you were trying out for something in case you failed? Or maybe you didn’t try out because you were afraid of someone laughing at you if you didn’t get chosen.
Landry tells her mom her fears about failing and how some of the kids at school are already acting differently around her because of the American Ingenue competition. Her mom then shares how she faced the same thing with her job. Mrs. Albright had friends and family telling her to play it safe and also down playing her accomplishments when she did achieve something. She tells Landry,
"Risk is never easy, but you can't learn anything or grow if you don't try."
"I know, I get what you're saying, but I'm still scared to fail."
"Don't look at it that way then," she said. "Didn't one of your favorite models once say, 'There is no failure — you either win or learn'?"
"Then there you go. If you want this, then don't let anyone stop you from getting experience. And if they're true friends, then they will support you."
Have you ever talked to a trusted adult and shared something you’re worried about and they shared their own experience with it? Write about how you felt afterward. If you haven’t had that experience, or you have something weighing heavy on your mind, seek out a parent or trusted adult to ask their advice and their experience with it.
In chapter 30, Landry has a moment of fear while looking over the paperwork for the competition. She thinks,
Did I even want another chance at the competition? Sure, if I got further in the show then I had a shot at getting my name out there, but it was an awful lot of stress to put myself through. Was it worth it? Why did I want it after all? I was about to say I wanted to pass on it and see if we could argue that clause in the original paperwork, when I stopped myself. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go on, I was scared, but there was something that I found even scarier, and that was wondering, "What if?" for the rest of my life.
There are three parts of this I want you to think about. First, she asks herself, “Is it worth it?” Then, “Why did I want it after all?” And then, the “wondering, ‘What if?’ for the rest of her life. Have you ever had to think about these things when making a decision?
Think about something you really want in life—maybe it’s what you want to be when you get older or something you want to try out for or do, but it’s overwhelming or scary. Make a list and write about if you think it’s worth pushing through the fear, etc. Is it worth all the bad parts (fear, stress, anxiety) that go along with it?
Then ask yourself why you want it. Is it because you think it will make people like you? Go through all the reason you want to do this and see if you’re pursuing/doing it for the right or good reasons.
Lastly, ask yourself how you will feel if you don’t do it. Will it be harder to live with not doing it and wondering what might have happened if you did do it or better thinking it might have worked out, but at least you didn’t fail. Write about your feelings on that.
Vladi shares some thoughts on his group of friends with Landry. Write or talk about what you think of his thoughts on those girls. Were you surprised that’s how he felt?
Behind the scenes: For the competition scenes, I basically took a bunch of experiences in my own life and mashed them together to create the feelings Landry goes through. I tried out for fashions shows, auditioned for TV stuff, competed in dance competitions/tryouts, and tried out for other things each time knowing I might fall on my face. Sometimes I was so nervous I was sick to my stomach and other times I was calmer. Now I look back and in some cases I wonder, how was I that brave to do that? And in others situations I think, why did I put myself through that? I didn’t even want to do that, but my mom/friends/family thought it would be impressive. Why did I do things just to impress people when I didn’t truly want that?
And sure, I didn't get everything I went out for and one time I even had someone make fun of me to my face (I was twelve) that I didn't get what I tried out for back then. But each time I tried something I did learn something about myself. Maybe it was that I needed to prepare better or that this wasn't my strong point or that maybe this thing wasn't right for me, but I'd try again. Sure that guy made fun of me, but you know what? I used that very experience in one of the Landry's True Colors Books, so in the end, I was okay.
Eventually I learned that some things are worth it to me and some aren’t. Even now I will have opportunities come up that might sound or look important, but they come with unwanted attention or make me anxious and I have to decide if it’s worth it to put myself through that or not.
Early on I would sign up for these writing events where you’d read your work in front of a crowd or maybe get critiqued by a big writer or author. I can’t tell you how nervous writers get over that, but I had to decide if I really wanted to pursue this career then I had to get used to speaking in front of a big crowd of people. It’s just part of being an author. And sometimes it can be fun and sometimes…not so much. There are events where the people in charge tell me I’ll be speaking to a group of teens and I prepare something to say only to walk in a find a packed room of adults instead and I have to change my whole talk to something that will interest them instead of what I worked so hard to prepare.
Another time I was nervous about talking to a group of readers only to find out the audience was full of men who wanted to be writers…and I write YA and middle grade books! So I had to change my talk on the spot. But in the end, writing is what I’m meant to do so it’s worth it to put myself through those experiences because they’re just part of the job. However, if you told me when I was 11 years old that one day I’d be talking to rooms full of people as part of my job, I’d tell you there was no way I’d ever do that without fainting! So next time you have to make a decision to do something scary that pushes you out of your comfort zone, go back to this list and ask yourself those three things above.
Read chapters 31-33 for next time!
This week we’re going to do a special friendship activity as school has been in session for a while and I’ve been hearing that there’s a lot of friendship drama going around—especially with some people having some friends in school and some doing online classes. I wanted to do this exercise in case you’re going through anything like this right now and maybe you can share it with a friend to talk about what you’re feeling right now.
If you did the True Colors reading guide sessions you might remember we made a list of some of the qualities that the girls Landry becomes friends with have. As you’ve watched Landry grow and change through the different situations she’s gone through, you see her stand up for herself a little more. She also begins to realize who her real friends are and who are the fake ones. More importantly, she’s seeing the qualities that make up a good friend that she should have as well. It’s not just about having a good friend, but it’s about being a good friend, too.
This week I want to do an activity based on that. Take a look at the list of the qualities of Landry’s friends from the past activity if you have it or you can make columns with each of the girls’ names and write down words that you think of when you think of each one. Here are some examples: thoughtful, caring, loyal, honest, gentle, kind, etc.
Now I want you to take a piece of notebook paper and make a list of what you think would make up the qualities of the perfect friend. Write down every little quality as this is just for fun and you’re not going to show this to anyone. Here’s some more ideas: same values/good values, likes the same books (or shows, movies, music) I like, I can talk to them about anything, she doesn’t judge me, doesn’t make me feel bad about myself, can always cheer me up, listens to me…and so on.
First, look and see if you have friends these qualities remind you of and jot their names down. Then think about if you have friends who don’t have those qualities. Are they just different from what your ideal friend is or have they become more toxic? In the book we see Landy has both the good encouraging friends (Peyton and Ashanti in particular), and the ones who have become a little more toxic like Ericka. There are also the friends she feels she has to walk on eggshells around (like India and Devon).
In True Colors we saw Landry going through changes and growing and that continues in Best Friends…Forever? She used to be so close to Tori and Ericka, but now those friendships don’t feel the same. Have you gone through something where you don’t have the same relationship with someone even though you’ve been friends with for a really long time? Write about how that makes you feel and why you think you grew apart.
It can be tricky dealing with friends that you feel like maybe you’ve outgrown. You don’t want to break off friendships just because you don’t have things in common anymore, so be mindful not to exclude someone just because you’ve found friends you have more in common with. At the same time, you also have to be careful not to stay close with friends who have become more toxic. What do I mean by that? Well, do you ever message or talk to a friend and then walk away feeling bad about yourself or just feel a little uneasy or even sick? Maybe you remember when we did an exercise talking about passive aggressive friends? Maybe after you walked away, you started to wonder if the comments they made that were mean about someone was actually about you.
Start paying attention to those uncomfortable feelings. Write them down when they come up for you and see if there’s a pattern of this friend doing that or if it’s just a one-time thing. I think we’ve all had moments where we’ve questioned someone’s intentions or meaning and instead of having a difficult conversation about whether or not they’re mad at you, instead you just…drift apart.
It’s so easy to misunderstand what a person is really saying and you could get your feelings hurt when they actually didn’t try to hurt you at all. It’s so hard to come out and talk these things over, but it’s also hard to lose a friendship over a comment that’s wasn’t meant to hurt you.
Behind the scenes: I have had plenty of moments where I was talking to a friend and walked away wondering if they were making fun of me or if they weren’t being real with me. It leaves you feeling lost and confused. At least it has left me feeling that way. I wanted to write about Landry having that experience, but
I also wanted both Peyton and Ashanti to have that experience because of a misunderstanding they both had with Landry. Because it really can go both ways—you can be the one feeling bad about something, but maybe you also said something that you didn’t even realize that hurt or upset someone else. It was important to me to show both sides of that, so Landry would know how to handle that as well.
One of my best friends said to me that we should have a pact so if one of us says something that hits the other person funny, that we should just take a minute to ask them what they meant by that and talk it out instead of cutting each other off or slowly keeping our distance. Maybe someone’s having a bad day and that harsh comment wasn’t isn’t even meant for you. This might be a good time to make that same pact with a friend that if one of you says or does something that makes the other one feel unsure or hurt that you can go to the other person without fear of getting into an argument and talk it out.
It’s much better to clear up something like that than to lose a friend. My dad once said it’s hard to find a good friend and it’s also important to have a good friend as well. In another book of mine called, Next Door to a Star, I have the character, Hadley, learn that if you want to have a good friend then you need to learn to be a good friend.
We’ll pick up our usual reading (chapters 27-30) for next week.
Author of the Landry's True Colors Series, the Cecily Taylor Series, the Star Series, and Dating the It Guy.