Interview with Kat Zhang, author of WHAT’S LEFT OF ME

And the Wild Worlds week continues!! Today I have Kat Zhang stopping by to chat about her upcoming title WHAT’S LEFT OF ME.

Synopsis from GoodReadsEva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…
For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable–hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

Kat was nice enough to take a few minutes to talk with me about WHAT’S LEFT OF ME and give us a little more insight behind the book! 


Wow, this sounds like an incredible story! Can you tell us a little bit about it?
KZ: WHAT’S LEFT OF ME is a young adult novel about a fifteen-year-old girl, Eva, fighting to survive in an alternate version of our world–one where each baby is born with two souls but one usually disappears by age five or six. Eva is the recessive soul, the one who should have faded away, but she never did. Instead, she lost all control of her own body, existing as only a voice in Addie’s–her twin soul–head.
Both girls must keep Eva’s existence secret; society fears and hates hybrids like them. If they were discovered, they’d be locked away. But when another secret hybrid reveals that Eva might be able to learn how to control her body again, Eva can’t help but risk everything for the chance to move and speak aloud.

Eva and Addie – Kind of sounds like Adam & Eve. Was that intentional?
KZ: Haha, no it wasn’t! I hadn’t even realized it myself until relatively recently.

So in What’s Left of Me, people are born with two souls, a dominant and recessive – It reminds me of my biology classes. Did you have to do a lot of research and studying up on science for the book? 
KZ: Well,I’ve always been interested in psychology, and since I took a lot of pre-med courses at school, I had a vague background in science just by virtue of that. I did take a neurobiology class, as well. Other than that, I did some research on neurology and asked my parents (both in the medical field!) some questions. However, WHAT’S LEFT OF ME was never meant to be “hard” sci-fi, so the concept of two souls and how that might work is handled more on a emotional and societal level than on a scientific one.

What’s Left of Me is a little bit dystopia, a little bit fantasy… Everything I love! Have you always been interested in these aspects of the science fiction genre? 
KZ: Yes, I’ve always loved dystopia and fantasy! I also have a great love for magical realism though, and for worlds that are like ours except for one or two oddities 🙂

I read in your bio that you completed your first novel at the age of 17. Was YA a natural choice for your writing? 
KZ: I think it was. I never really sat down and decided that I was going to write YA, but I’ve always read a lot in the genre. Even when I first started writing stories and (incomplete) novels at age 11 or so, my characters tended to be 14-16.

So you’ve really been writing for a long time! Since a lot of the members of the book blogging community are aspiring writers, do you have any suggestions as far as writing techniques? 
KZ: Hmm. It’s hard to give advice as far as writing *techniques* go because there are so many different ways to write and what works for one person might not work at all for someone else. There isn’t really a “best way,” I think, only a “best way for me,” which is sometimes difficult to find. You really have to try a lot of different ways of doing things. Do I write better as an outliner? As a “panster” (my autocorrect just changed that to “panther,” which amuses me greatly :P)? Do I like to write with music or not? Do I write better in crowded places or alone in the corner of the library? Am I the sort of writer who can draft a 70,000 word novel in two weeks, or do I need five months? Try different ways until one clicks for you.

And now a little less serious, and a little more fun – Quick Bookish Q&A!

Where is your favorite place to read/write? 
KZ: I can read anywhere, but my favorite place to write is probably my bed, haha.

Are there any authors you’re dying to meet? 
KZ: Tons! Anytime I read a book I really enjoy, I want to meet the author 😀

What’s the best book you’ve ever read? 
KZ: Ahhhhh, you can’t ask me that! 😛 My childhood favorites were THE GOLDEN COMPASS, ENDER’S GAME, and SABRIEL. I also really loved GREEN ANGEL. In high school, I fell in love with THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS. I’m also a big fan of EMMA. As you can see, I’m terrible at picking just one favorite book!

Who’s your biggest literary crush?
KZ: Oh, man, I dunno, I dunno. So many to choose from 😉

Who’s your favorite literary villain?
KZ: Peter from ENDER’S GAME. As a kid, I never quite knew what to make of him, but I knew I hated him! I’m also kinda fascinated by Jaime from A Song of Ice and Fire? I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t read the series, though, so I can’t really go into specifics.

Romance or Sci-fi? 
KZ: Sci-fi!

KZ: Paperback! Hardcovers are so pretty, but I spent the majority of my childhood reading paperbacks, so I’m accustomed to them. Plus, they’re a bit easier to tote around 🙂

Thanks for having me, Brittany!

Thanks so much for coming by, Kat!! I really appreciate it and had so much fun with your answers! 🙂

About the author: 
Kat Zhang spent most of her childhood tramping through a world weaved from her favorite stories and games. When she and her best  friend weren’t riding magic horses or talking to trees, they were  writing adaptations of plays for their stuffed animals (what would  The Wizard of Ozhave been like if the Cowardly Lion were  replaced by a Loquacious Lamb?). This may or may not explain many  of Kat’s quirks today.

By the age of twelve, Kat had started her first novel and begun plans for her life as a Real Live Author (she was rather more confident at twelve than she is even now).  Said plans didn’t come into fruition until seven years later, when her agent sold her trilogy, The Hybrid Chronicles, to HarperCollins. The first book, What’s Left of Me–about a girl with two souls–will be released September 18, 2012.

Kat is represented by Emmanuelle Morgen of Stonesong. She also performs as a Spoken Word poet and contributes to Pub(lishing) Crawl, a site for aspiring writers to talk about books, storytelling craft, and the publishing process. Kat has also had the pleasure of remote interning for a literary agent, specializing in Young Adult fiction.

When she is not exploring the world of her characters, she is exploring her own. To date, she’s had the pleasure of visiting five countries, including more than half of the United States. She hopes to always keep writing and traveling.

Want to learn more about the book and show a little support for Kat Zhang? Check out some of the links below!

Pre-order the book! Coming out on Sept 18th, 2012

Kat is offering us a little bit of swag: some signed book cards featuring info for What’s Left of Me (See picture below for a visual — sorry, guys, ARC NOT INCLUDED)! Click the link below to enter to get your swag from Kat Zhang!


Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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7 thoughts on “Interview with Kat Zhang, author of WHAT’S LEFT OF ME

  1. Tales Untangled

    Hi Brittany,
    You are having such a great turn out of authors and good lists that are so different than mine. How would you feel about making a link to each others’ sites available from the main page so our readers can easily access more information?

  2. Vyki

    I want to read this book so so bad! It sounds so interesting and just wow. Great interview! Kat Zhang sounds like a really cool person.


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