Interview with Lydia Kang (author of CONTROL)

Debut Authors Bash at

Hey, guys! Guess what? Today on the blog we have another interview for you (did I tell you I was coming back with a bang or what?)! This time I am thrilled to have Lydia Kang, author of the upcoming (and likely-to-be-awesome) Control, stop by for an interview as part of YA Reads' 2013 Debut Authors Bash. I hope you enjoy my interview with Lydia below, and be sure to check out the other posts by bloggers and debut authors participating in this event, as well! 

Lydia Kang
Series: Control, #1
Released: December 26th, 2013
Publisher: Dial BFYR
Genre: Science fiction/dystopian

Add to Goodreads

An unputdownable thriller for fans of Uglies.

When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn't even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.

A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.

Hi Lydia! Welcome to the blog.

Hi Blythe! Thanks for having me. 

To start off the interview, introduce yourself to our blog readers in five words or less.

Professional Day Dreamer and Doctor.

Now let's introduce your book to our blog readers: how would you describe your upcoming YA novel, Control, in five words or less?

Girl + Mutants = Love + Complications (Okay, I kind of cheated since I used math. Does that count?)

Why is it that you chose to set Control so far into the future, in the year 2150? Is there a specific reason you chose the year to be 2150?

I wanted the politics, ethics, and technology of the world to be traceable to today's moral and political issues. I wanted my readers to look and the world and think, "Yeah, I could see how this could be." So too far into the future, you make leaps that are so huge (stuff like quantum physics gets involved, and I don't like physics, haha).  But I also wanted more than enough time to go by so some things were unrecognizable, too.

You're a doctor; did you put much of your occupation to your advantage when writing Control, having the novel centered around genetics and the human body?

I did. There's an illness that plays a big part of Control, and it came about from studying for my board exam. Also, every mutation that shows up I researched in one way or another. The great thing about being in medicine is knowing how and where to look for answers to my biogenetics questions.

Drugs and drug use could both easily be tricky subjects to cover in YA literature, particularly when not in a dystopian setting, and not contemporary. Did the futuristic setting of Control, where the recreational drugs are completely different from those familiar to us now, give you some leeway to write on the topic more freely?

It did--as far as drug delivery in the club itself. Trying not to be spoilery here. ;) But to be honest, if someone right now had the money, the lab, and a confident evasive strategy to flummox DEA, the illicit drugs in Control could be real. Let's just hope that person doesn't actually exist right now!

Which method do you use when writing--plotting, or pantsing?

I plot the entire book down to what happens in each chapter, but I pants the scenes.

In Control, the main character Zelia is protective of her sister, Dyl. Do you have a sister whom you're close to or protective of that helped make writing Zel and Dyl's relationship easier and more authentic?

I do. I once saw my sister wearing an oxygen mask while she was in the hospital, and that little piece of plastic made me go crazy. I just cried, seeing her in that vulnerable position. This weird animal instinct comes out in you that's so frighteningly strong. The whole protective grizzly bear thing isn't just for moms (and I'm a mom--I know!).

Of all the characters in Control, which one would you say you relate the most to, and why?

Zelia, the MC. The one thing we have (had) in common is that crushing insecurity over looks, as a teen. I'm over that now, but man. I remember writing in a diary once as a teen, asking the universe why the hell I was so damn ugly. I gave that to my main character. Sorry Zelia!

What is your favorite non-spoilery scene from Control?

There is a rock climbing scene that I based on my one and only rock climbing experience. And there's hot and heavy kissing going on (okay, that did NOT happen when I went climbing, LOL) but it was so fun to write!

What was your favorite part of writing Control?

Knowing that it was something special. I guess every book you write when you're a novice writer, you hope it will be the one that will get published. But with Control, I just knew. It was weird. I guess it was a combination of better writing skills, more objectivity about what I could create, and better understanding of the publishing world.

Thanks so much for stopping by for an interview, Lydia!

Thanks Blythe, for having me! I'm excited to get Control into the hands of readers. Come December 26th, it's all yours!

You can also find Lydia on her website, her blog, and on Twitter


  1. This interview once again lets me know what a terrific author Lydia is and how great this book will be to read!

  2. I'm always looking for a great Sci-Fi and Control sounds perfect! Thanks for the giveaway and the interview!

  3. Obviously your rock climbing experience went well!
    I'm grizzly protective of my wife, so I can relate to that.
    Great interview, ladies!

  4. This is a great interview. This book sounds really cool. I like how she put thought into how far in the future it would be set so that things still seemed realistic.

  5. Great interview, ladies! It's nice to see went into the creation of CONTROL. Now I'm just more excited to read it. :)

  6. Awesome cover! I love a good thriller.

  7. What a great cover, and the story sounds awesome!

  8. I love scfi books this one looks like it will be great, I can't wait to read Lydia Kang's debut book.

  9. Lydia, I know we haven't yet met in person, but I feel like I know you and you are so beautiful, talented, capable and amazing! I can't believe you wrote that in your journal! And every picture of you online is adorable. Just sayin'! But great interview, Control is going to be HUGE!!!

  10. ahhh. I just got this book, and I AM SO EXCITED TO READ IT! So excited, in fact, that I spelled that wrong and had to go back and fix it. Thanks so much for hosting this!

  11. I have been SO excited about Control for so long now. I actually didn't know that Lydia was an author, but that's pretty awesome because I am sure that the medical info about the illness in the book is actually accurate and probably really interesting. I came soooo close to winning a copy once, but I missed it. I was super bummed, but I have all of my fingers (and toes) crossed for this time!

  12. I am desperate to read this book. Thank you for the interview and hosting the giveaway. I don't want to read too much before I read the book so I go in surprised but I'll be reading the interview in detail later on :-)

    My Friends Are Fiction

  13. I have been SO excited about Control for so long now. I actually didn't know that Lydia was an author, but that's pretty awesome because I am sure that the medical info about the illness in the book is actually accurate and probably really interesting. I came soooo close to winning a copy once, but I missed it. I was super bummed, but I have all of my fingers (and toes) crossed for this time!

  14. I've barely heard about this book and I'm already excited! I love reading Dystopia's because I start thinking about what it would be like if our world was in that same time period as well. I can't wait to read this one! ^_^

  15. Awesome interview, ladies! I cannot wait for this one to be released.

  16. Love how she was able to apply her knowledge as a doctor! Definitely will make scenes feel more realistic. Can't wait for this one to come out!

  17. So, could Lydia be anymore awesome? I think no! *waves at Lydia* I'm thrilled for her. I loved the premise of her book from the moment I read a while back. Yay!

  18. hurray for Lydia! So glad I hopped over and read her interview. I loved learning more about her and her book. So excited for Control!

  19. I'm certain Control will be as wonderful and entertaining as the writer herself! Best of luck to Lydia!

  20. This book sounds really good, hadn't heard about it until now, but will be adding it to my TBR list!

  21. !!! How did you find out about the Debut Author Bash? I love that you're promoting debut authors :). They're probably my favorites, sometimes, just because it's a whole new experience. Will this author become the next on the to-buy list? Will this book become a new favorite? Sometimes it seems like there's only so much improvement that an author can have across the books they publish.

    "Professional Day Dreamer and Doctor." <-- Nice. I hope to be both one day too.

    "Girl + Mutants = Love + Complications (Okay, I kind of cheated since I used math. Does that count?)" <-- Hahah, nice. Interesting that the comparison title is Uglies, because with this math equation, I'm not sure that would have been the first title I'd think of.

    I recently read a sci fi/dystopia title set around 2050 so that the politics, etc. were similar to today's but there were also unrecognizable elements. It's interesting to note how we might interpret different amounts of time for traceable changes etc.

    Oooh, a doctor! A doctor writing fiction. I love it, and I love that the book reflects that. I wonder which illness plays a role in the plot. I have been looking for good YA sci-fi and it's always refreshing to know that there are some authors who will go the extra mile for the research...

    Very true about the DEA. Honestly, I think that's what you could do with almost any administration in the US. Same with the FDA.

    Ooh. I'm not a huge fan of the overprotective sister type in YA novels because they seem really rampant now in YA after THG, and sometimes the other character, the sister who "needs" protecting, falls too flat for me to actually care about that stuff. But the story about her sister in the hospital is very touching; it sounds like the experience in the book should come across as feeling very realistic and emotionally resonant if the author was using her own experience.

    Awww, crushing insecurity. I definitely had that as a teen too, but I'd really love to see more MCs who are confident. Even if that's not the way we were.

    Wonderful interview :D. If I had a copy of this book, I could review it in November-ish but other than that, I've planned my blog schedule through March o.O so probably won't get around to this title -- though I'm definitely intrigued -- for a long time.

  22. I haven't heard of this book before now but the premise sounds like something I'd quite enjoy.

    A fabulous interview! Thanks for sharing.

  23. Oh my goodness, I want to read this book so bad! It looks really good and a lot of bloggers who reviewed an ARC really enjoyed it! I can't wait until it finally comes out!

  24. This one was one of my WOW picks from way back when I still did WOW and I still can't wait for it. I am hoping that I can get into it because I have really been in a contemporary-only funk lately but I love hearing so much behind the scenes stuff about it. Very promising that Kang and is a doctor, I like the way that sounds for small details being realistic!


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