Monday, August 22, 2016

#NAAugust Interview: Kendra L. Saunders

Today, I’m excited to have a NA August interview with the author of DATING AN ALIEN POP STAR, Kendra L. Saunders. 

Welcome, Kendra. Could you tell us a bit about DATING AN ALIEN POP STAR and what you think puts it in the NA category?
Thank you so much for having me! Dating an Alien Pop Star features a protagonist in her late 20s who is trying to restart her life in the direction she has always hoped for (moving to New York City, getting closer to the big music scene there). Her struggles with trying to figure out who she is are what make it NA, in my opinion, even if Daisy is a little older than early 20s.

Why did you choose to write an NA book? What is it about the age range that appealed to you? 
I've been passionate for a long time about helping fill fiction with more women of all ages. In recent years, we've seen the YA genre expand and expand-- something that I feel started out as an amazing chance for books that tackled difficult subjects for people in an age group that really craves a lot of guidance and heroines to look up to. But somewhere along the way, YA changed from a genre meant to help tackle difficult subjects to a bit more of a genre for people of all ages who wanted fun, easy to read plots about fantastical, beautiful people. We've started realizing there's a marked lack of diversity in that genre, with the main focus seeming to be on slender, beautiful, white teenage girls.

There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but the trend began closing doors for people writing outside the YA genre. I can't even tell you the amount of reviewers who read my book, which was absolutely never touted as YA, and then commented that they were confused why it wasn't about teenagers! Some even gave it less stars because they thought it would be YA and then were disappointed that the characters weren't teenagers. I can't help feeling there is some assumption now that all fun, easy-to-read books, especially ones written by women, are YA.

I want to write fun, easy-to-read books that feature women of all ages, of different sizes, colors, social classes, and financial situations. Daisy is a bossy, music loving young woman who identifies as demisexual, doesn't have her career together, and has recently made a risky move to a big city. I want to write women like Daisy, because there are millions of amazing women in the world that are over the age of 17, and absolutely deserve to have their stories told.

Do you think NA books require certain elements—such as sex? Do you think there are stereotypes that are not necessarily true for all NA books? 
I think NA has grown much the way YA has... the books are considered fun and easy-to-read, and because many of them contain a lot more sex than YA allows, they're about character who are “legal,” but just barely. I would love to see the NA genre grow from there, though, and diversify. I have to admit, I miss the days when Chick Lit was a huge category! I think it was so great for women to have books about women of all ages, going on adventures, solving crimes, falling in love, making friends, or getting into trouble. Just like women-driven movies, I think we need more books that are women-driven, and not just erotic novels! Erotic novels are awesome, but they leave out all of the women out there who are more interested in adventure or friendship.

Do you think there is enough diversity in the genre, particularly compared to other age groups?
I think NA is better about some diversity issues, definitely. I think you see more people of color, more body diversity, and I think you see a lot more women with close female friends in NA, compared to YA. But we can always do better!

What can we do to encourage the growth of NA SFF?
Write the books you want to read! I've loved science fiction and fantasy since I saw Star Wars as a very young child. Princess Leia was my ultimate hero! If we want to see more amazing women like Princess Leia, or Arwen, or even real life fantastical women like Stevie Nicks, we have to write them. And we need to have more fun books in the genre, more comedy, more eccentricity. Guys still have a huge advantage over us when it comes to the comedy genre, including in the SFF comedy genre, and I would love to see that even out a bit more!

Tell us about your latest/upcoming books! Heck with it, you’ve written a lot of books, can you give us an overview?
I just finished Book 2 in the Alien Pop Star series, and still have a third one to write in that. I have an upcoming NA fantastical comedy called the Unlove Spell; it's about a witch who tries to put a spell on her ex-boyfriend so he can't fall in love with anyone else, but she accidentally puts it on herself instead. I've written two poetry collections, and am still really proud of my first novel, Inanimate Objects. It's a magic realism novel with very little romance and a lot more art, murder, muses, and magic. It's gotten excellent reviews, and I still love it dearly, even five years after it first came out.

Kendra L. Saunders is a time-and-space traveling fashionista author who writes books about magical, dark-haired men, interviews famous people, and suggests way too many bands to you via whatever social media platform she can get her hands on. She writes with good humor because humor is the best weapon for a girl who can't learn karate (or ballroom dancing). She is the author of DATING AN ALIEN POP STAR, upcoming fantastical comedy THE UNLOVE SPELL, the magic realism novel INANIMATE OBJECTS, the dark comedy DEATH AND MR. RIGHT and the poetry collection GEMINIS AND PAST LIVES. 

Social Media links:
twitter : @kendrybird
instagram : @kendralsaunders
Kendra blogs about well-being + fashion & interviews designers from Project Runway at

Blurb (s)

Daisy Kirkwood has only just escaped her small-town life and run away to New York City, the land of last-minute secret gigs at famous musical venues, when she's kidnapped by aliens. Unfortunately, no one ever writes about how to handle alien abduction in those fancy NYC guidebooks.

Griffin and Dev are supermassively sexy aliens from a politically and environmentally troubled planet who arrive on Earth with very little knowledge about human ways other than what they learned from a wayward E! News signal. Their mission is to pretend to be the most influential people on the planet―English pop stars, of course!―and gain the help of a powerful secret society. Upon arriving, they abduct Daisy Kirkwood, a nerdy young woman who loves music but could seriously use a bit of help in the love-life department. Though Griffin and Daisy initially squabble, neither can deny the intergalactic sparks whenever they're too close to each other. Together, they must face murderous aliens, cultural misunderstandings, bad backup musicians, and the dark side of fame and the media, all set against a tight deadline…

Part High Fidelity, part Bridget Jones' Diary, part Doctor Who, Dating an Alien Pop Star is a sexy romantic comedy.
Buy links: 


  1. Hello Pat! Just last week, I published a blog on my website, It's Not All Gumdrops & Unicorns. I explained what I recently learned about Young and New Adult and gave my thoughts about both labels.

    In addition, I shared links to articles that explain more about New Adult.

    If it is not too much trouble, I would really appreciate your input! Thanks! :)

  2. Hi Anna, thank you for stopping by and commenting. I agree with you that the categories of fiction can be confusing, but it sounds like you're on the right track. If you check out this link you'll find the main page for #NAAugust with a list of all the posts this month about New Adult fiction (there are tons of them). An interview about my thoughts on NA will be posted there late this month--I think on the 30th. You can also follow along on Twitter by checking the #NAAugust hashtag.

    1. If that link doesn't want to work, just google Books are My Fandom and you'll find it :)

  3. Oh really? This sounds beneficial. It's nice to know that you have other resources about New Adult Fiction. Very few people including some other authors/writers know about this emerging category. Good luck with your interview about New Adult Fiction!

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