Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A BOA With Medical Maven & Wondrous Writer Lydia Kang

My original intention for the series of interviews I do here was to focus on agents (BBCHAT) and successful authors (SAT). In the course of internet wanderings though, I’ve ran across a lot of really awesome people, and culled an enormous amount of information from blogs. As I raided my brain – yes, I picture myself on the prow of a Viking ship, approaching my own gray matter – for more people I’d like to interview, it repeatedly offered up names of bloggers. And so, the third series; Bloggers of Awesome. Yeah, it’s the BOA.

Today's guest is the multi-talented mom, wife, part-time doc, writer and blogger Lydia Kang. Her YA sci-fi novel, THE FOUNTAIN, will be published in 2013 by Dial/Penguin.

BBC:  So you run an excellent blog over at The Word Is My Oyster. What made you decide to take the approach you do on your blog?

LK: I started out just writing about writing. Grammar, plot devices, my own issues with novel writing, etc. Meanwhile, I had some trouble reconciling the two halves of my work life—writing and being a doctor. I felt like they were such drastically different aspects of my existence, and I was shy about talking about my doctor-half. Then I realized, this is stupid. I should embrace it, and moreover, I should share what I know. So Medical Mondays was born, where I welcome fictional medical questions writers come up with for their stories. You wouldn’t believe how many amnesia/head trauma/gun shot wound questions I deal with. And every single one is fun and fascinating to answer. I also answer a lot of Medical Mondays email that comes my way and much of it doesn’t end up on the blog.

BBC: Clever title, how’d you come up with it?

LK: I wanted something catchy and odd, and I wanted to use the word “word” because of how much words had changed my life. So I played on “The world is my oyster” and voila!  Unfortunately, for a while I got a lot of visitors who thought my blog was about the Bible. Sorry, no.

BBC: I know a lot of aspiring writers who are intimidated by the idea of blogging.  They want to, but they are worried it will cut into their (already precious) writing time.  You're a prolific blogger - how do you recommend one be both a successful blogger and writer?

LK: I struggle with the balance. There are some days of the week, like Wednesday nights, that I dedicate 100% of my evening to checking blogs and responding to comments. On dedicated writing days, I prioritize writing over checking blogs. And on Sundays, I write all three posts and get it out of the way. I also try to write brief posts (except for Medical Mondays, which often beg for detailed posts.)
There will be times when I will have writing deadlines, and so I do see a blogging hiatus or two in my future.

BBC: What other websites / resources can you recommend for writers?

LK: I got my start with the writing community and the agent hunt at Querytracker and their forums. Many of my crit partners and writing friends were found there. I still actively hang out there as MeddyK. Basically, any question you have about publication and agents and the craft can be asked and the members are kind and supportive. There are also countless blogs that discuss the craft of writing. I like to joke that the internet gave me my MFA in novel writing.

BBC: What is your genre, and what led you to it? Does your genre influence the style of your blog?

LK: I write YA. I’ve written historical, urban fantasy, and my book deal was for a near-future sci-fi. I’ve always loved YA and children’s literature but with the rising tide of new writers in the last ten years, I re-found that love and decided to try my hand writing it.
In person, I’m very jokey, playful and casual. My personality and voice is what you find on my blog. I have a pretty young-at-heart attitude (cripes, I sound old saying that, don’t I?) so it helps with writing YA too.

BBC: Do you think blogging is a helpful self-marketing tool?

LK: The answer is yes and no. It helps to be part of a great blogging community. I think other bloggers will help me get the word out about my book when the time comes, but I believe it will happen because we are friends, not because I’m being a salesperson.
If you use blogging solely for marketing, other bloggers can tell and they don’t like it. No one wants to be sold stuff 24/7. I know I don’t. They (I) want a two-way conversation. They (I) want to share a cup of virtual joe and chat. Marketing myself has become low priority for me at this point. You can probably tell from my Twitter feed. I think I have a 1:20 ratio of self-marketing to useless/fun/personal tweets. Call me financially stupid, but I’m so much happier this way.

BBC: Any words of inspiration for aspiring writers?

LK: When it comes to writing, find your support group that will weather the roller coaster of emotions that comes with being a writer. Find crit partners that will tell you the truth. Be humble, be ready to revise, and be ready to hear that sometimes, your writing sucks.
Write, write, write. Read, read, read. Whether you aim for a tradition path with agent and biggie publisher or decide to go indie with small presses or self-pubbing, set the bar very, very high for the quality of your work. And remember that every shelved novel you write and every rejection letter means you are one step closer to your goal.

36 comments:

Susan Fields said...

Fantastic interview! I absolutely love Medical Mondays - it's so generous of Lydia to share her medical knowledge with us!

DL Hammons said...

Medical Maven! I like that!! Lydia is an awesome blogger and friend! Great interview!!

Accidentalwriter said...

Many thanks Mindy for giving us the opportunity to hear more of Lydia's insights into writing and life in general. Lydia's blog was one of the first I followed when I joined the blogosphere and she has always been most gracious with her comments considering the time constraints she works within. The other great part about this whole process - is I've found yet another great blog to follow. Best wishes to you both.

Emily Rose said...

Wonderful interview! Lydia Kang writes one of my favorite blogs.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Lydia has summed it up so well. Write, write and write some more and then revise more. Great interview with Lydia.

Old Kitty said...

Hi Mindy, hi Lydia!! Thanks for a great interview! Lydia is truly amazing - especially her most fascinating Medical Mondays (when I am guaranteed to go ewwwwwwwwww!!! LOL!)

Now I know how she named her blog!! Yay!

I too think blogging is such a mix blessing - on the one hand it's a great way to connect to virtual and supportive communities world wide and yet it does take so much of one's time! LOL!

Take care
x

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lydia does an awesome job with her blog and she's right that those who make friends here are far more likely to succeed as authors.

K. Turley (Clutzattack) said...

So true about the shelved novel and rejection letter thing.

Always a pleasure reading Medical Monday's posts.

inluvwithwords said...

Great interview. Thanks for introducing me to Lydia and her blog.

Stephen Tremp said...

I love Medical Mondays and am one of the people with fictional medical questions. Thanks again Lydia for your help as left to my own I these sections would have lacked detail and accuracy.

Angela Brown said...

Great interview. I love visiting Lydia's blog. I learn so much checking out all the fascinating information shared.

Emy Shin said...

Lovely interview, Mindy and Lydia!

I really enjoyed Medical Mondays, and believe that it really makes your blog stands out. And I've learned SO MUCH from it. :)

Saumya said...

Lydia is one of my favorite bloggers and even though we've never met, a role model. I love how honest and humble she is about balancing all of the parts of her life. Her Medical Mondays are always informative and I can't wait for her book!

Mary Gray said...

I LOVE Lydia's blog title, The Word is my Oyster. I tend to click on it just because I love the name.

I will have to remember your Medical Monday's! I don't think there are too many YA writers with such medical expertise, so this is good to know!

I shall have to keep an eye open for The Fountain in 2013. :)

Krispy said...

I don't even remember how I got to Lydia's blog, but I'm so glad I did. Love her useful info and her personality. :) Thanks for this interview!

February Grace said...

Great interview! Lydia is a class act in every possible way and I can't wait until The Fountain comes out!

Thank you for this interview (and love the name of your blog)

~bru

Sarah said...

Yay! Lydia's a great blogger and I'm excited for her book to come out. :)

Jaye Robin Brown said...

Great interview. It's so cool to have resources like Lydia's blog and now one she inspired, LisaAnn Chickos' Wildlife Wednesday where authors can ask wildlife fiction questions. Sharing the wealth is a great thing!

Susan Oloier said...

Awesome interview. Lydia is so great!

Carol Kilgore said...

Wonderful interview. Lydia, I agree totally about not blogging to market yourself. For me it's about making friends and building relationships.

Mindy, nice to meet you.

Bee said...

Lydia's such a fantastic blogger and its awesome to read about how medical mondays evolved. Fun interview!

Carrie Butler said...

I love Lydia and her blog. She is the real deal, through and through. :) Great interview!

Lydia Kang said...

Thanks for having me Mindy! This was a fun interview. Also loved the company of all your black cats here--thankfully they don't make me sneeze, ha ha.
:)

April Tucholke said...

Great interview, Lydia. I'm going to start following Medical Mondays. I have this notion that I might like to switch from YA to Mystery one day...

Sarah said...

Wonderful interview. I totally agree that those of us who shout about the fabulosity of FOUNTAIN will do so because it's an awesome tale, and because Lydia is a fantastic person and friend, not because she's self-promoted.

Kelly Polark said...

What a great interview!
I have trouble balancing everything, too. And Lydia does seem like she'd be so fun to hang with in real life!

A.M.Supinger said...

She is very open and honest, and it makes for a great read. I love your questions, btw.

Thanks for sharing, BBC!

Scarlett said...

Great interview! The Word Is My Oyster is my go to, even when I'm not looking for medical advice currently.

And it's always nice hearing another writer's perspective on how they do it all ~ blogging consistently and prioritizing their writing!

So glad I stopped in!

Jen Chandler said...

Wonderful interview, Lydia!! I enjoy Medical Mondays; it's such a refreshing twist on writing blogs plus if I ever need to write up a trauma scene or a disease for a character, I know exactly where to go!

Mindy, happy to have found your blog :D

Cheers,
Jen

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I love Lydia's blog and this is a fabulous interview. Blogging really is more fun when it's about building friendships and sharing the ride.

Lynda R Young said...

I love this interview. Great words on writing and blogging. Writing and reading a lot really are essential.

Coleen Patrick said...

Great interview! I am a big fan of Lydia's Medical Mondays! :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Great interview ladies! I love Lydia's blog - she's a sweetie! Can't wait for the book to come out :)

Mindy McGinnis said...

Thanks *everyone* for stopping by and commenting! I agree - Lydia's blog is fantastic, and she obviously knows at thing or two about time management. Thanks again to Lydia for dropping by - Go Lucky13s!!

Karen Lange said...

Great interview! It's nice to learn more about Lydia. I like her take on a blog being a two way conversation - I heartily agree. Thanks for sharing this, Mindy! :)

nutschell said...

fabulous interview! Medical Mondays is one of my favorites!
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com