Interview with Kayla Olson (Author of The Sandcastle Empire)

Hello everyone! I’m so thrilled to have a wonderful guest on my blog today. Kayla Olson, author of The Sandcastle Empire, has agreed to do an interview and I’m SO excited about it. I won’t say anything else because I just want to get straight to the interview. Let’s get started!

1. Hey, Kayla! Before we begin the interview, can you briefly introduce yourself and The Sandcastle Empire?

Hi, Liv, and thanks so much for having me! The Sandcastle Empire is a near-future sci-fi thriller/survival story about four girls who set off for an island in hopes of finding freedom there—only to find it more dangerous than the war-torn world they’ve left behind. As for me, I love coffee and chocolate and the beach…but would not want to be stranded on one! (That said, if I ever were stranded on one, coffee and chocolate would help considerably with the whole survival aspect.)

2. When you were young, did you want to grow up to be an author? 

I’ve always been an avid reader, but when I was young, I never quite knew how to approach being an author as a viable career. I was more of a journaler back then—but I did get into that because I dreamed of having my words written in a real, actual, book with a bound spine and a hard cover! It wasn’t until after college that I started writing fiction. Fortunately, by then, the internet was full of amazing resources on how to pursue the path to publication.

3. What is your writing process like? Do you have any specific things you need to do before you can begin writing?

Ooh, great question—I always love talking about process, and hearing how other people work, too. For me, whenever I get an idea, I always open a brand new Scrivener file and do my best to get the first page written. I’m a big believer in finishing what you’re working on (and these days, I have contracts and deadlines, so I can’t really switch projects based on feeling alone), so it helps to get the first line and the voice down for any shiny new ideas that hit me while I’m knee deep in drafting/revising something else! Having the first line and the voice ready to go helps immensely when it comes time to focus on the shiny new idea—it makes it much easier for me to slip into the project, even months or years after that initial spark.

4. (Cliche Question) How did you come up with the idea behind The Sandcastle Empire? 

I was having a particularly strong longing for a beach vacation, which coincided with some particularly strong nostalgia for the TV show Lost—the island setting came first, but quickly morphed from ohhh, I wish I was at the beach to I *must* write this story about this mysterious beach/island I never, ever want to visit!

5. What about Young Adult made you decide to write for teens?

Being a teen is such a huge time for developing relationships, empathy, and worldview—I remember that time of my life so clearly, and naturally gravitated toward writing about those years when I decided to focus on writing books instead of music. I also simply loved reading YA, so it made sense to write in the category I knew and loved so much!

6. Do you have any other passions besides writing and books? Do your interests influence your writing in any way?

Music was my first passion, and in fact, I think everyone—family and friends alike—expected me to go that route. I’ve always been a big fan of lyrics (think Patty Griffin, Gillian Welch, Sandra McCracken) and wrote a good handful of my own songs back in college. My background of writing/loving poetry and lyrics definitely influenced the way I approach words on the page!

7. Do you have any projects you are currently working on (if you are allowed to talk about it)?

I do! As you suspected, though, I’m not able to share specifics quite yet—I will say that it’s another YA sci-fi/survival story, with another tight-knit cast, and a good bit of mystery/intrigue there, too. It’s very different from The Sandcastle Empire, but still very me. I can’t wait to share more details about it—it’s planned for Fall 2018, again with HarperTeen, so watch my Instagram (@authorkaylaolson) or Twitter (@olsonkayla) feeds for more!

Thanks again, Kayla, for allowing me to interview you. It was a pleasure!

Check Out The Sandcastle Empire



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Are you excited to read The Sandcastle Empire? Is it on your TBR or have you already pre-ordered it?



5 thoughts on “Interview with Kayla Olson (Author of The Sandcastle Empire)

  1. This was such a great interview. You asked awesome questions! I’ll have to add this book to my TBR list ASAP. Thanks for introducing it to me.

    I’m new to blogging and book reviewing, and I was wondering if you had any tips for newbie bloggers and book reviewers.

    If you have the time, please check out my blog @breenysbooks. I’d love any feedback. Have a wonderful day.


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