I first met Kristen in a Facebook readers group and discovered we share two things in common. First, we spell our names the same way. If you’ve ever had someone misspell your name, you know how exciting it is to meet someone else who has the same spelling as you.
Also, we both write young adult dystopian fiction from a Christian worldview. I’m thrilled to share an interview with Kristen today where she talks about her new release, Apprentice, now available on Amazon.
Q: You’ve written several nonfiction books for teens. What prompted you to also branch into young adult fiction and the dystopian genre, in particular?
As a kid I was always reading, so fiction has been a life-long love for me. I have a bit of a soft spot for books like Brave New World, the Hunger Games and so on. I love a good story — one that keeps you on the edge of your seat reading to the end. It was fun to try and write one of those stories for myself.
Q: What do you hope readers will take away from this dystopian adventure?
First and foremost, I hope they’ll be entertained by the story. But I guess I hope people will also enjoy the themes it raises as it investigates the question of love: what is love, really? What does the word mean? How do we know love when we see it? The dystopian aspect of the story looks at the question of how love and power intersect. What happens when a political power takes a word we all care about and uses it for their own ends?
Q: You’ve lived in the UK, Sydney, and currently live in New South Wales. (That’s in Australia, for my American friends). Have any of the places you’ve lived or visited impacted the setting of this book?
Not for this one. There is another series I’m working on that was inspired by my local region. But this one was more inspired by sterile environments I’ve seen in images than by anywhere I’ve lived.
Q: When did you first start writing for teens, and why do you think reaching this age group through both fiction and nonfiction is important?
I started writing for teens when I was one (quite a long time ago!). For teens, I think they’re living through an age where life can be super threatening – where they are processing issues of identity and purpose and a general sense of “where do I fit in the world?” Fiction gives teens a safe space to explore those questions in a way that non-fiction doesn’t always manage as well. Fiction helps us to process issues that are often too threatening to deal with in real life. In fiction we get to see characters triumph over adversity. We watch the characters experiment with different actions and consequences, and make choices that we might not be brave enough to make. So through fiction, we learn to orient ourselves in the world even while we’re being entertained.
“Through fiction, we learn to orient ourselves in the world even while we’re being entertained.” ~ Kristen Young on @khogrefeparnellTweet
Q: As writers, we often don’t get to see how our writing influences others. However, sometimes readers do reach out and share with us. What has been the most encouraging feedback you’ve received?
I received feedback on one of my books from a non English-speaking reader a few years ago – they tracked me down through Facebook to say that they’d managed to get a copy in their country. It was a little mind-blowing to find that my work had travelled so far around the world. That was super encouraging!
Q: What has been the most challenging and/or most rewarding part of being a writer?
The most challenging part is the waiting. The concept of ‘overnight success’ is a complete furphy (as we say in Australia). That is, it’s non-existent. It took me several practice novels and a lot of writing before Apprentice was born. In between, there were long, painful periods of waiting to hear from publishers and other professionals.
Q: Can you hint when readers might expect to see the sequel to Apprentice?
2021 is going to be a good year. Is that enough of a hint? 🙂
Meet Author Kristen Young whose new Christian dystopian novel for young adults is the latest extension of her heart for teens.Tweet
About the Author
Kristen Young was born (and spent a memorable first few months of her life) in the UK, grew up in Sydney, but now lives in the Central West of NSW with her husband, three children, and slightly neurotic dog. She has been involved in church-based ministry for over 20 years, and loves helping people of any age to see how awesome Jesus is. Kristen has had a number of books published, beginning with The Survival Guide series of devotions for teens. What if? Dealing with Doubt is a book for anyone from high school age onward, and aims to help anyone struggling with doubts about God, Jesus, or faith. In more recent years she has been writing fiction, and Apprentice, the first book in the Collective Underground trilogy is being released through Enclave Escape in October, 2020.
The Love Collective is everywhere. It sees everything. Be not afraid.
Apprentice Flick remembers everything, except the first five years of her life. And for as long as she can remember, Flick has wanted to enter the Elite Academy – home to the best, brightest, and most loyal members of the Love Collective government.
Flick’s uncanny memory might get her there, too … even if it is the very thing that marks her as a freak. But frightening hallucinations start intruding into her days and threaten to bring down all she has worked so hard to accomplish. Why is she being hijacked by a stranger’s nightmare over and over again?
Moving to the Elite Academy could give Flick the future she’s always wanted. But her search for truth may lead to a danger she cannot escape.