Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Minder Review and Author Interview with Kate Kaynak!

Hey everyone! Today is the most exciting day ever at my blog. After winning the "Minder Launch Party" and a signed copy of the book, I am thrilled to share my review and author interview with the amazing Kate Kaynak! If you have not picked up a copy yet, you have got to get one. Click Here. Also visit to watch her intriguing book trailer.
Minder is a quick read for some, but I took my time. I wanted to savor the book and wasn't ready to let go of the main characters, Maddie and Trevor, until most of the summer had passed. Fortunately, the sequel Adversary will be out August 20th . I will try not to spoil the story here. Minder shares a story about Maddie, a girl who discovers that she has the ability to hear what people are thinking, project thoughts into peoples minds, as well as overload their brains with energy if she feels threatened. After an horrific attack on her by neighborhood boys causes her to fry their minds, the authorities at the Ganzfield facility discover her ability and whisk her away, making her one of their students. She meets other students with a variety of abilities, some like her - many fear her, but none connect with her like Trevor. He also has unique abilities, and they are drawn to each other like superpowered magnets. I would not want to stand in their way! Trevor's character is written in a way that you immediately fall in love with him too. Even with Maddie's ability to read his thoughts, he remains unashamed of his humanness and humble in every way.

When I finished the book, I saw this image in my mind of a brightly colored quilt made of tiny, wildly-patterned squares with burn marks, tears and mended scars and zig-zagging top threads that travel outside their boundaries. Each square represented to me a student sharpening their ability and they were all sewn together making one huge, messy blanket of safety for the rest of us. The story interwove their abilities and personalities, and then put them all to the test when one of their students is put in grave danger. The story characters are witty, charming, deep, strong and committed to each other and acting with integrity for the greater good.
 Kate Kaynak writes in a way that makes you feel like you are part of their conversations. Her imagery is very strong and memorable. There are a few villans that are just as creepy and evil as any can get. The story starts out with one character, builds friendships between some of the main and supporting characters - both peers and authority figures, develops a unique and emotionally transparent romance, adds some seriously thrilling and exciting adventure as well as some drama, making my chest tighten with fear for the character's life.

I will not only give this book 5 stars ***** I will be giving it an extra star* for "I could read this again right this minute" Without further ado, let's get to the interview questions and answers.

L: Your bio says you went to Yale and taught psychology around the world. Can you share what inspired you to become a writer? (I'm so glad you did!)

K: Thanks! I've been writing since I was in high school, but I never wrote longer stories until I became a stay-at-home mom. Even though I actually have LESS time, I NEED the intellectual stimulation to keep my sanity!

L: With three very young children underfoot, how to you find quality time to write?

K: I write after the kids go to bed at night, and, if I'm lucky, I also get an hour or so before they wake up in the mornings. I find that I don't have time for TV anymore, although I do make time for some good books--I LOVED Linger, and I can't wait for Mockingjay!

L: Please describe your favorite writing place:

K: My grandparents sold us their house a few years ago. My grandmother's old study has become mine--it has three walls of floor-to-ceiling bookcases, a comfy chaise lounge, and a resident cat. It's the perfect place to settle in with my laptop.

L: Your favorite author?

K: I have too many to pick just one--Orson Scott Card, Jane Austen, J.K. Rowling, Maggie Stiefvater, Gail Carriger, Scott Westerfield, Connie Willis, Kim Stanley Robinson, and on and on.

L: Who do you identify with more, the plucky Maddie or the sensitive Trevor? Or are they really two parts of a whole person? Is that why they are a perfect match?

K: I'm very much like Maddie, and Trevor's partially based on my husband. They're actually a perfect match because I used Elias Porter's Motivational Values System as part of my character development, and they are polar opposites on the personality chart, which means they really do complete each other.

L: If you could give your husband, someone that you vowed to spend the rest of your life with, a superpower from your book or one you thought up, what would it be (G-rated;)?

K: LOL on the G-rated warning! I think he'd do really well as an RV (remote viewer), since he's always asking if I've seen where he's left his keys and stuff.

L: When you wrote Minder, did you plan for there to be a romantic theme along with the special powers or did it just develop?

K: The two themes evolved together. I'd read both the Twilight saga and the Sookie Stackhouse books, and it struck me that most books with a telepathic character (Edward, Sookie, etc.) give that person a love interest whose thoughts CAN'T be read. I started thinking about whom a telepath COULD fall in love with. Who'd be comfortable in a romantic relationship with someone who knew their every thought and emotion? I also realized that telepathic romances would develop very quickly, since there'd be no ambiguity or misunderstandings between the two people.

L: There were so many "zingers" in the book - What's your favorite quote from Minder?
K: I have a few, like:

"Where is that? Hell?"

"I snorted. "Close?New Jersey."

"Bad Maddie. Mean. No biscuit."

"Ah, caffeine?the other drug that enhanced my mental powers."

L: Will we be reading more about Maddie and Trevor in the next four books or will you be moving us on to other Ganzfield students?

K: I've completed the first three books, and I'm finishing the revisions on the fourth. These are all from Maddie's perspective. I think I'll finish the major plot arcs in the sixth book, and I'm considering writing the seventh from Seth's POV. I may do more from Maddie's viewpoint later on, though--I love writing from inside her head!

L: Will Maddie meet Seth in Adversary?

K: He's too sensitive to her thoughts--it'll hurt him if she gets that close.
(Notice that's not a "no.") :)
L: One last question. This book was so in-tune to what I love to read and how I think. Do YOU know what I'm thinking?

K: LOL, Leah! Actually, I wrote Minder because it's the kind of book *I* like to read. I think it means we're kindred spirits.

Thank you so much, Kate, for taking the time to answer my interview questions. This has been so enlightening. It's amazing learning what it took to write Minder. I'm counting down to August 20 for Adversary. I better let you get back to your fabulous writing in your cozy den, surrounded by endless bookshelves!


  1. Thank you for joining Mama's Little Nestwork! You have to add the Mama's Little Nestwork button to your mainpage though. I am following you now! Make sure to visit throughout the week and comment on the featured bloggers. I will choose my featured bloggers each week from the people who comment the most and show support to the fabulous bloggers in the network! Have a great day!

    Mama Hen

  2. Great interview, Leah! Loved your informed questions. You make me want to read this series. Also, congrats on being mentioned in DB! You celebrity, you!

  3. Kate--AWW-- you have Trevor for a hubby?? So sweet :D

    Great interview and book series.

    Leah-I am a new follower-- I am also a mom of a little girl, and love to read.

    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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