It is my sincere pleasure to introduce to you Kandi Steiner. She is a young, indie author who actually went to the same school and was in the same sorority as I was just a few years later. It is amazing who the literary world brings your way! Her interview is honest, fun and amazingly interesting!
Before we get started, here a little background on Kandi:
I’m in love with falling in love, plain and simple. I’ve been writing since I was in 4th grade and I can still remember the first poem I wrote for my biggest crush back then. It was called “The Boy Two Desks Over.” When I’m not writing, I’m either working at my full time job as a Social Media Specialist, teaching Zumba, dealing blackjack, reading until way too late or hanging out with my husband and my adorable (very vocal) cat. I love beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – but not necessarily in that order.
Do you write under any other names?
What are you currently working on?
I just released Tag Chaser and right now I’m working on the next book that’s tied with this series. I can’t give away too much right now because there’s going to be a big reveal on my page. Make sure to follow so you’re updated! 🙂
How many (if any) books do you have published and what are their titles?
One published – Tag Chaser.
What inspired you to write your first book?
It’s so weird, but I was in the shower. I do most of my deep thinking there and for some reason these characters and their story popped into my head. I was entirely too scared to write my own book at that time (who me? I can’t do that!) But they seriously wouldn’t leave me alone! They were in my dreams, in my thoughts throughout the day – hell I even had to pull over on the side of the road once to frantically type out a scene on my phone that kept playing in my head. So I decided if I was thinking about it that much, it was time to stop being scared and just put the pen to the paper and see what happens. Best decision of my life.
Do you have a specific writing style or one that you prefer?
I am definitely an easy-to-read, fun style. I’ve had so many readers tell me that I write like they think. I just enjoy tapping into the minds of young adults and writing exactly what I think we would think in that situation. So yes, there’s cursing. And yes, there’s awkwardness. But that’s the best part!
How did you come up with the title of your book(s)?
The title for me was a no-brainer because it’s what sets the whole story up and it’s the lurking secret that eventually comes out. Tag Chaser is a term that not many are familiar with (unless their a MILSO), and when my husband was in the Army I came face to face with Tag Chasers and all the problems they caused. It made me wonder if maybe there was more to them than the stereotype that they fit into, and then the gears in my head started turning.
Is there a message in your writing that you want readers to grasp?
Of course, I feel like every book written has a message. Is mine a super deep and overwhelming psychological message? No. But I would say when readers finish my book I hope they feel like it’s okay to have a past, but we can’t let negative things or fear of the future hold us down. And of course, always go for what you want most – before it’s too late.
How much of the book is realistic/true?
There’s a good part of it that’s real, and some of it that’s fictional. A lot of the story is based in actual places I’ve visited or lived at in Florida. There are some places that don’t exist anywhere but in this brain of mine and the story I managed to scribble out on paper. So 50/50.
Are the experiences in your writing based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Some of them, yes. Not the actual experiences, but the characters definitely have aspects that I drew from friends and family members in my life. I h
ave a best guy friend that Tanner really reminds me of, and Kenz is a lot like one of my best girl friends. But these are just little things. For the most part, these characters were completely drafted in my head and I had so much fun creating them and watching them grow as I wrote.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Wow, this is always the toughest question. Well, it was the Harry Potter books that got me hooked on reading and wanting to write. I read the first one in 4th grade and the rest was history. I think Catcher in the Rye is still my favorite book and that made me realize that I loved characters that are flawed. As far as my recent writing, all influence credit goes to that amazing self-published authors that made me fall in love with their stories – J Sterling, Jillian Dodd, Cora Carmack, and Nyrae Dawn just to name a few.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a “mentor”?
I would definitely say Jillian Dodd. I think the fan base she has created around her stories is absolutely incredible, and she’s still so down to earth and connected with her readers. She also helped me A LOT t
hroughout my writing process. She would answer my questions about copyright and the other little things that I never thought about when first writing. She’s just awesome, and I can’t wait to meet her in person.
What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading “Out of Line” by Jen McGlaughlin and it is the tits.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Do you see writing as a career or a hobby?Oh my God, my beta reader – Kellee. This girl is seriously amazeballs and without her, I don’t think TC would exist. She was there to support me when I felt like giving up and throwing in the towel, and she has been incredibly valuable in terms of marketing my book. I love her to pieces and could never thank her enough for all she’s done for me throughout this process.
I see it as a career in the sense that I don’t take it lightly. I would never put something out there that I wasn’t proud of, that wasn’t edited and reviewed and made to be the best I think it can be. Technically I have a day job that pays the bills, but maybe one day I can write full time. Who knows. 🙂
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I really don’t think I would change anything. There are a couple of times when I’ve read it over and been like “Hmm, I could have added this” or “I wonder if I should have done it this way.” But hearing the awesome reviews from readers, I think my gut instinct to hit that publish button with the way it is now was the right move to make.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I just remember having a writing assignment in the 4th grade and getting the best grade in the class. My teacher raved about it to the class and back then I was a little goodie goodie so I loved it. I kept at it, writing about literally anything and everything, and my love grew. By the time I hit college it was so bad that I had to have two majors – one for real practical life and then my other in Creative Writing. Can you guess which one was my favorite?
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here’s one of my favorite little teasers from Tag Chaser. This is when Paisley first meets Corbin, and I think it really sums up the affect he has on her:
“I guess you’re right – Paisley, was it?”
God, he even makes my name sound like a sex object.
“Mmm hmm, and that’s something else you owe me. Shouldn’t I know the name of the brave knight in shining armor who saved me tonight?”
At this, his grin turns to a full blown smile and I fumble with my d
rink a bit. Holy shit, he has the most gorgeous smile I’ve ever seen. His teeth are blazing white like his shirt against his skin and his dimple deepens, “I think I’m more of a dark knight than a knight in shining armor.”
He smirks at what I can only imagine is my jaw flopping to the floor again. “Corbin,” he finally says, extending his hand for mine. “Corbin Ray.”
When he says his last name I notice the touch of twang in his voice. He’s Southern, too? Dear God, help me. He takes my hand in his and squeezes lightly, sending a quick thrill through me. I focus on keeping the drool inside my mouth and squeeze in return. “Nice to meet you, Corbin.”
“Likewise, doll.” His eyes glow fierce again and the music in Diggs is lost to me. All I can hear is the thumping in my chest increasing. I’m suddenly extremely warm, though I’m not sure if it’s him or the alcohol.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I think the biggest challenge I face is confidence. For some reason, I feel insanely confident one day of the week and I can write three chapters. But then the next two weeks I feel like my story sucks and no one would ever want to read it. I’m kind of crazy lol. But, that’s why I have amazing friends and family members to keep me focused and remind me to keep going.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Ohhhh jeeze, I seriously can’t pick. I don’t have a favorite, because I think every author has their own unique style that makes me love them for a certain reason. I can say that right now in this very moment, I have a strong adoration for Nyrae Dawn and the way she writes from a guy’s perspective. I think she has a brilliant way of picking up the pain in a person’s life and letting that bleed onto paper.
I designed the cover for Tag Chaser. My amazing photographer (Austyn) who also did my weddi
ng took the photo and my sorority sister (Katie) with the amazing lips and teeth was the model. It was so fun doing the shoot, and once Austyn edited the pictures she sent them my way and I got to work on designing the cover.gned the covers of you books?
What was the hardest part of writing your any of your works?
As I said before, confidence. It was always difficult to remind myself that I can do this. I’d say the hardest part technically was formatting the book for all the different channels. Every outlet has a different way, so it was very time consuming and challenging.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
DON’T STOP, no matter who or what stands in you
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?r way. You’re going to have so many people tell you you can’t do it. I had some of my closest friends never even ask me about how my book was going until after it was published, and even then they didn’t really care. Some will be jealous, some will want you to fail, some will seriously just not give a shit – but keep writing anyway. There is someone out there who can’t wait to read your story, and several who will fall in love.
I freaking love you all so much. Thank you for reading Indie books and sharing your love on blogs and social media. You are what makes this such an enjoyable process, and just getting a Facebook post from someone saying “I loved your book!” makes my whole day. Thank you – you’re the tits.
the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your stories to to life?
I guess my biggest research challenge was trying to portray certain aspects that I had no idea about. For instance, looking up the NYU programs and making sure it fit with Tanner and his age. I have to say that the research wasn’t insanely heavy for Tag Chaser, but my next book will be a lot of work.
What character from your writing is your favorite and why?
Wow! I have to pick?! That’s like picking a favorite child! Lol but seriously, it’s so hard. I would have to say Paisley, just because I wrote this whole book from her perspective and I feel for her. I feel like sometimes I am Paisley and she is me. We’re kind of tied together, and I just love her to death. Plus she’s sassy – and I love sassy.
Additional Information you’d like to share:
I LOVE to connect with my readers, so please come find me on Facebook and Twitter and let’s chat! I also do random giveaways on my page so you don’t want to miss out on that.
Tag Chaser is just $2.99 for Kindle and Nook. I hope you’ll pick it up and read Corbin and Paisley’s story today!
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