Kristina Forest is the author of Zyla & Kai. Zyla and Kai is a novel that features Zyla Matthews and Kai Johnson. It alternates between the past and present, and we see the love story unfold from Zyla’s and Kai’s perspectives. The book is Romantic, heart-stirring, and a little mysterious. YEM was able to speak with Kristina about what she loves most about writing romances, if her characters Zyla and Kai were inspired by anyone in her real life, and her favorite part of the writing process.
Young Entertainment Mag: When did you first realize you wanted to become an author?
Kristina Forest: I always loved writing, but during my senior year of high school I took a creative writing class and my teacher brought in her father to speak to our class, and her father was a young adult author. That’s when I realized I could turn my love of writing into a career.
YEM: Your book Zyla & Kai was just released. What can you tell us about it?
Kristina: ZYLA & KAI is a story about a boy and a girl who fall in love one summer, break up and run away together. At least that’s what everyone thinks.
YEM: What is one word you would use to describe your book?
YEM: What do you love most about writing romances?
Kristina: What I love contemporary romance is that for the most part, the stories are character driven. While writing, you really get to know your characters and their qualities and why their qualities would make them a good prospective partner for someone else. I love bringing people together on the page.
YEM: Were your characters Zyla and Kai inspired by anyone in your real life?
Kristina: I sometimes take qualities and traits from people I know, but Zyla and Kai aren’t completely based on people from my real life.
YEM: What does your writing process look like?
Kristina: I brainstorm for a long time, then outline pretty heavily, then I draft on a strict schedule, then I revise. It’s pretty basic!
YEM: What is your favorite part of the writing process?
YEM: What was something that you learned about yourself through the writing process?
Kristina: I wrote majority of ZYLA & KAI in 2020 so I learned that I can write anywhere at any time if necessary. It doesn’t have to be a perfect set up at a coffee shop.
YEM: Who is an author that inspires you?
Kristina: Beth O’Leary
YEM: What do you hope that your readers can learn from reading Zyla & Kai?
Kristina: I hope readers finish Z&K and feel a little more hopeful about life in general and embracing love in all its forms.
YEM: Is there any advice you have for someone who wants to become an author?
Kristina: Read often, come up with a writing schedule and try your best to stick to it.
YEM: Do you have a phrase or part in the book that is your favorite?
Kristina: There are lots of lines that I love, but the one I’ll choose today is the first line in the book because I still think it’s pretty funny: “Girls. They were going to be the death of Kai.”