An Interview with Kea Alwang

Hey all, We’ve got another week of great author interviews with Grace Lightbourne, the quirky Angel in Training character from my new novel Winging It!

Today we have Kea Alwang, but before I turn her over to Grace, here’s a little about her YA novel Treehugger.

 For fourteen-year-old Chloe, planet hopping is a gift. Righting the wrongs of the multiverse on behalf of a mysterious life form is a privilege. Leading a double life has its perks. Being Earth-born, however, simply bites.

Chloe knows she will never fit in when high school starts; that’s a given. It’s not like she can reveal her true self and her unusual abilities on Earth anyway. She used to be okay with that, as long as her two best friends were part of her extraterrestrial life, understanding her the way nobody else could.

That was before those friends vanished. That was before some jerk displayed her underwear on his head.

Now two-thirds short of feeling whole, Chloe becomes an enemy to herself just as a terrifying nemesis threatens to resurface. Can she fight through weakened skills, fearsome flashbacks, and evolving relationships to meet her future head on? Does it really matter what world you’re on when trying to find yourself?

Okay Grace, you’re on.

Hi Kea, Thanks for stopping by.  I love that the character from your book inhabits two worlds, because that’s a bit like me, so your Muse must be doing a great job inspiring you. What’s the next project they’re helping you out on? 

My muse is cooperating these days as I work on Book Two of my Based on a Dream YA fantasy series, title TBA. She/he/it used to mess with my head from time to time while writing and editing Treehugger, but I think we’ve ironed all out of that nonsense for the next installment. (Apparently, most muses don’t like it if you threaten to dip their wings in cake frosting. Of course, I’d never do that to an angel!)

If I had my wings, I’d let you put frosting on them.  Alas…

Still, I’m glad that your relationship with your Muse has improved. Are you like her? Or one of your other characters?

 I think I split-siphoned myself off into the three main characters, then added extra stuff to each one. Chloe (Star) has my sarcasm and highly values true friendship, but her courage and strength does not come from me. CK has my sense of loyalty, but again … his courage is his own. Leada has my love of nature and deep desire for justice and peace. As to her diplomatic talents? Well, I have no idea where they came from. Actually, if you combined those three characters into one person … that’s the sort of person I would like to be!

Aww…that’s really nice and anything is possible!

A lot of the authors don’t like this next question, but I have to ask it anyway. What’s your favorite book of all time?

Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver. It really pulls at me with its many themes: loneliness, longing for a sense of home, love, friendship, loss. I just love the way the author takes me from one emotion to the next. Her characters always seem to do the best they can with the lot they are dealt.

Oh, I’m so glad that was not a tough question for you.  Here’s another that pretty easy too.  In your opinion what makes a guy character swoony-worthy?

Empathy, sincerity, and the courage to reveal both attributes. He’ll stand up for his beliefs to the point of letting them lead him down the wrong path. But most of all, he has to have some sort of tortured soul, out of which the above mentioned qualities are demonstrated, proving he can rise about it all. Telling me he has a nice strong jaw and good build can’t hurt, but they are not absolute requirements. (And they say we women ask too much! Pshaw!”) 

I like your swoony-guy.  You had me with sincerity…or maybe empathy.  Anyway…if this sincere, good-build, swoony-guy took you to a rock concert in Heaven, who would you go see? (*hint* you have to pick someone who is dead)

Jim Morrison, who I only developed an appreciation for recently.

Yeah, Jim broke on through to the other side.  

I imagine you’ve seen some good concerts in the hereafter? What do you recommend?

You know what? Angels don’t get to go over to paradise very often because we’re so busy working, but I hear George Harrison and John Lennon put on a divine show! 😀

Okay…Kea. Confession time. What’s your biggest writing sin?

I don’t use a real outline. I’ve tried and they just tick me off by confining my imagination. My muse doesn’t like them either (she used to hide them on me.) That always made me feel like a poor excuse for a writer until I read an interview with Anne McCaffrey. She never outlined. She said something like, “{paraphrasing} Why do I want to know how the story ends before I get there? I’d be bored.” Since I’ve learned that not every writer uses an outline, I’ve felt better about it.

It’s good that you’ve forgiven yourself.  Besides, plunging isn’t really a sin, you know?  It’s just bending the rules.  So, are you more of a rule follower or a rebel?

I’m not sure I should be admitting this to an angel, but I think I’m in the middle of a transformation from one to the other.


I’ve always followed the rules, but these days I allow myself to rebel against rules that hold me back–unless my rebellion could hurt someone else. I mean, I’m not going to go feeding the animals at the zoo, robbing banks, or ending sentences with commas. But the next time someone tells me I can’t jump a line after six other folks have done so, someone’s going to hear about it. There’s law-abiding, and then there’s doormat.

Amen.  Guardian Angels are kinda like doormats in Heaven. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to skip training and go straight to Earth.

Now, what other than rebellion (just kidding) inspires you?

Ellen DeGeneres. I can’t say she inspired me to write, but she did inspire me to publish. See, it’s not easy to put yourself out there in the form of fiction. Will your parents be horrified that you wrote that romance scene? Will strangers think you’re half-baked based on your characters? Will a friend back away because they think you’ve based an unflattering character on them? One day, while debating whether to publish Treehugger or just keep the story for myself, I happened to watch Ellen’s antics on Ellen. It hit me: Now there’s a person that takes a chance every time she gets on that stage. One minute she’s risking a corny joke. Next she’s talking about strong beliefs without being shy about it. Then she ventures into a silly stunt. And through it all, she’s genuine. She puts her unique self on display, come what may. Now I’m sure not everybody likes her, but there certainly are a lot of viewers who love her! So what did I really have to lose?

Yep!  Being yourself is pretty darn important and though I hadn’t really thought about Ellen as an inspiration for that, it completely makes sense. People love her because she is herself. So is that your theme or Treehugger?  And if not, what do you want readers to take from that book?

I want readers to take away an appreciation for the idea that status quo should not define status … that there is nothing wrong with not standing with the crowd. I witness so many kids getting caught in a desperate attempt to be like everyone else just to avoid the pain of not fitting in. I want Treehugger to highlight the importance and thrill of becoming who you are meant to be and finding others who will accept you for who you are. 

Cool! So that is your theme!  Okay, last question. Is there anything you’d like me to mention to your Guardian Angel? ‘Cause I totally have contacts.

Oh yes! My friend Michael’s cat snuck out of the house yesterday, and he can’t find the little guy. Mike lives alone and “Basil” is like his kid. So if you can get a little scavenger hunt going, I’d really appreciate it! Mike is like my brother and I kind of feel like my nephew has gone missing.

Mentioned and I hope this worked out already! Thanks for stopping by, Kea! 🙂

Hey everyone, Kea’s book Treehugger is available here:



And you can find her all over the web:




Twitter: @kea_alwang

Thanks Grace and the interviews tomorrow you should come back to talk with Aliya Anjum.


April 30, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . author interviews.

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