“This dream ended when I realized they expect you to have actual artistic talent in order to be an illustrator,” Kiersten told Cracking the Cover. “So picky! But books have always been my passion and I knew I wanted to be involved with their creation in one way or another.”
Fast forward a couple of years and Kiersten’s passion has turned into YA gold. She’s the author of the popular Paranormalcy trilogy — “Paranormalcy,” “Supernaturally” and “Endlessly” — about a paranormal butt-kicking teenager named Evie. This February “Mind Games,” a psychological thriller about two sisters (Fia and Annie) determined to protect each other — no matter the cost, was released.
Kiersten says she writes for young readers because the stories are more compelling and immediate than books for adults. “Those are the stories that I am the most interested in exploring — the ones that ask who am I? Who will I be? What do I want to do with the future that is very quickly opening up in front of me?”
“Mind Games” was a concept Kiersten had been toying with — in daydream and written form — for about 15 years. “I’ve always loved the femme fatale, and the idea of things that society sees as weaknesses being turned into strengths,” Kiersten said. “That’s where I got the idea for Fia’s unusual ability. We’re always being told to ignore our feelings, when I personally believe that our feelings and intuition can be very powerful things.”
One of the first things you’ll notice in “Mind Games” is Fia’s anger. It’s strong. It’s pronounced. And it works incredibly well. Kiersten wrote the book during a particularly difficult chapter in her life and says “after the rather relentlessly cheerful voice of Evie, it was a nice change of pace to be able to write someone who was truly, deeply angry and not afraid to express it. I do think the story always needed Annie to balance her out and ground the narrative, though. A book from Fia’s point of view alone would be very difficult to read.”
The balance Annie brings comes in the form of alternating narratives. Things happen from both Fia and Annie’s perspectives and at different points in history. It works really well, but seems complicated at first glance. But that really wasn’t the case for Kiersten. “I’d jot down what I knew needed to happen in the next few chapters, and take notes as I went along, but it wasn’t until the last sequence of chapters that I really mapped it out,” she explained. “For such an intricate book, the plotting was fairly effortless.”
Overall, Kiersten loved the shift from writing the Paranormalcy trilogy to writing “Mind Games.”
“It was actually really freeing and fun!” she said. “I’ve never understood how authors can write book after book after book in the same world. I guess I just have a short attention span! I really appreciate my publisher, HarperTeen, for trusting me to write outside of my genre.”
Kiersten has four more books out in the next two years — a sequel to “Mind Games,” mythology-based “The Chaos of Stars” two other books that are in wildly different genres, as well.
“I do try to always include a touch of humor (obviously some books are funnier than others…) and write strong female characters, so my books all have that in common, at least!”
*Read a complete transcript of Cracking the Cover’s interview with Kiersten White.
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