KING OF BAD by Kai Strand
A young adult fantasy
Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA.
He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?
Meeting the crush:
“Source, who is she?”
Source followed Jeff’s line of vision. “Oh, that’s Oceanus. Don’t even think it, kid. She’s already found a match.”
“What do you mean?”
“See the guy next to her?”
“The skinny red head?” Jeff hoped.
“No, the other one.”
“Oh, the Adonis?” Jeff’s heart fell. He’d no hope to thwart the god-like S.V. seated next to Oceanus.
“Not far off. People call him Set. The God of chaos, storm, wind. He’s a great guy.” Sarcasm wrapped around Source’s words. “Descended from a long line of super villains Known he’s an S.V. his whole life so came to the school ready to rule from what I hear. Real nasty character, even for an S.V. You don’t want to piss him off.”
“Oh, I won’t piss him off. I don’t go looking for trouble.” Jeff considered his life before the academy and realized that looking for trouble was the only thing he used to do. He amended his statement, saying, “Much.”
His stomach knotted. Had the academy turned him into a coward?
Source chuckled. “Don’t worry. You’ll get a name and things will settle into some sort of normal. Once we figure out what your root ability is, I’ll help you develop it. Though, after your hulk impersonation, I doubt anyone will dare taunt you.”
Jeff felt the anxiety lift. Source was okay for a bad guy.
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AN INTERVIEW WITH KAI
-What book and/or experience made you want to be a writer?
I’ve always toyed with writing and received positive feedback from teachers throughout school. I’d even started a couple novels, but never considered being a writer as a profession until after reading the first four Harry Potter books. It was still months until the fifth book was scheduled for release and I thought, “Why not create a world of my own in the mean time?” Though it was six years before I saw my first novel published, I did sell short stories almost immediately.
-What genre(s) do you write?
Fiction. Mostly fantasy, some speculative (like King of Bad), some contemporary.
For aspiring writers, any tips?
Read every book – good and bad – you can get your hands on, written for your target audience. Only after you’ve steeped yourself in other people’s work can you determine what kind of writer you want to be. You’ll find it much simpler to find your own voice when you know for certain what you like and don’t like.
-What’s your favorite book/genre to read?
Though I read almost all fictional genres, I think I like dystopian best. I’ve always loved disaster films; Towering Inferno, Poseidon Adventure, Perfect Storm, and I think that transfers well to books. Open Minds, The 5th Wave, Ashfall, just to name a few.
-What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?
From King of Bad, it would be the scene that defines Mystic’s role. There is a lot of confusion about if she is truly a villain or actually an undercover hero. The scene when Jeff finds out where Mystic stands makes me laugh every time I read it.
When the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died, the end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for younger children Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Visit Kai’s website, to browse her books, download companion materials or to find all her online haunts.
I’m that weird person who cheers for the villain (not always, but sometimes), so this sounds really neat. Not sure if I’d want to be stuck in a building with villains in training, though.
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