Monday, September 14, 2015

Ken Baker - Author Interview

I rarely have author interviews posted on Kiss the Book, so here is a treat for you.  I had a chance to ask any questions I wanted to Ken Baker, author of Finding Forever, the first in the Deadline Diaries series.  I thought I would pick and choose which questions to post, but instead, I think you should have a chance to read them all for yourselves and enjoy them as much as I did! --Cindy

Ken Baker is a host on E! Entertainment News and has written a handful of other books, some of which we have reviewed here on Kiss the Book such as Fangirl and How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love.

How did you end up in your E! career? 
- Like most things in my life, it involved a healthy dose of dumb luck. I had been working at Us Weekly for many years as an editor and writer and my office just so happened to be in the same building as E! Since I was a warm body and close, I think they started using me as an expert on stories and that lead to me reporting and interviewing and eventually they hired me away from Us Weekly! That was eight years ago and it has been a great ride.

When did the writing bug bite you?
- I began keeping a journal at age 11. It was at first mostly about my hockey life. But then it expanded into more serious topics, like about my family, or about things that were frustrating me. It became an important outlet for me and remains to to this day something that I think helps keep me (kind of) sane.

Knowing about your job as a reporter for E! News, it makes some sense that Fangirl was about life in the music industry spotlight, How I got Skinny… was about reality TV.  So, how did your lead character in Finding Forever end up being a detective?
- Well, she is a blogger with the mind of a detective! I wanted to write a story where the journalist gets to be the hero. It doesnt have to always be the spy, or the FBI agent or undercover CIA officer or the cop. I still believe in the power of journalists to uncover truth and impact society. So the character Brooklyn Brant in the Deadline Diaries represents that passion and faith that I have! 

Where does Brooklyn's religious side come from?
- I was raised Roman Catholic. It shaped me in many profound ways: A clear concept of right from wrong, good and evil, power of prayer. I spent a lot of time talking to God as a kid. So I think there is a bit of me in Brooklyn in that sense. But as the series continues, Brooklyn will come to question her faith just as all of us do at some point.

Is there a question about yourself or your book that you wish people would ask, but they never do?  If so, what is the question and your answer.
- Yes: "Why does Brooklyn Brant have red hair?"
The answer: Because redheaded people are "different," they stand out, they can't blend into the crowd as easily. I think it makes them more interesting to write about in many ways. 

Is there anything that readers should know before they pick up Finding Forever?
- It is a blend of mystery, suspense, thriller and romance. I saw one review where the guy was like, 'Hey, this isn't a mystery because I found out all this stuff early on!' And, you know, he is right! But that's not a valid point of criticism because it is not technically a mystery because I refuse to write into that tired old formula. Brooklyn Brant is Nancy Drew but with a nonstop Instagram and Twitter feed and an obsession with Taylor Swift. She is a modern young woman with access to a lot of information.

Are we ever going to hear more about Josie and Peter’s romance from Fangirl?
- Aw, I love them. Maybe. There is a first draft of a screenplay so we shall see! 

All three of your novels have teenaged girls as the main character, and their voices are spot-on.   How are you able to channel that voice?
- We all have been teens at some point. If we pay attention to life, that part of us is always inside. As a writer, all I do is access it and apply it to these fictional characters in very modern situations. Growing up today is the same as it was in the 1980s: hard, exciting, fun, scary, adventurous and the ultimate mystery! 

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