VTB: It’s so nice to have you here today, Lydia! Please tell us about CONTROL, your YA dystopian that releases in just a few short weeks!
Lydia: When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn’t even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.
A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.
VTB: Very, very excited for this. What are three things that inspire you to write?
Lydia: Music and music lyrics; imagining that one moment in a relationship when you truly understand them for the first time; and first kisses. 🙂
VTB: LOVE that last one. Did you face any obstacles related to being Asian or a person of color on your road to publishing?
Lydia: Luckily, no. No one ever said, “Why aren’t you writing such-and-such book, since you’re Oriental?” If they did, I would have completely lost it!
Lydia: Write the book you need to write, but also be flexible and willing to explore your imagination. Remember that unless you’re Harper Lee, you probably have more than one book in you! CONTROL has people of color, but at the same time, I knew I wanted to write an Asian-based setting for a novel. I didn’t smash them all in one book. Each one had to organically evolve and be what it was. That need to write an Asian-based setting manifested in a novel I just finished, and I’m so glad I didn’t force that setting into CONTROL. It just didn’t belong anywhere but in this new story.
VTB: Tell us about your favorite Asian character from a book.
Lydia: My good friend, Sarah Fine, has a book coming out next year that I was lucky enough to beta read for her, titled OF METAL AND WISHES. I adore the main character, Wen. Also, the cover is fantastic! So great to see POC on actual covers! See it here.
VTB: I looked that up and it sounds very cool. (Speaking of POC on covers, check out Diversity in YA’s recent tumblr post about it here.) Now if you could be any character from any book and live in that book’s world for a day, who would you pick?
Lydia: I’d love to be Hermione in Harry Potter. She’s so sure of who she is, and lives in that amazing world. What a sweet injection of confidence that would be! Also—I’d get my own wand.
VTB: Last of all, which actor would play you in your biopic? Who would play your significant other?
Lydia: Hmm. Jamie Chung? She’s absolutely stunning (hey, I get to pick a stunning gal to play ho-hum me) and she’s also Korean American like I am. As a child, I’d be played by the actress that was in the first half of Scent of Green Papaya. People have told me several times that she looks like a child version of me. And she does. For my spouse? I’d pick Stanley Huang since they’re both Taiwanese American and they’re both tall!
VTB: Thank you for visiting with us, Lydia! Guys, CONTROL releases December 26, 2013. If you haven’t already done so, pre-order it NOW. To read an excerpt, go to Wattpad.
* * * * UPDATE: CONTROL is now out in the world! Order it or pick it up at your local library ASAP. You won’t regret it! * * * *
LYDIA KANG is an author of YA fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. She is an internal medicine physician and has a blog at lydiaykang.com, where writers can learn the most accurate way to maim their characters. She believes in science and knocking on wood, is an unapologetic salt addict and thinks Star Wars should have been ewokless.