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Archive for 'YA Romance'

Krysten Lindsay Hager: Soap Operas, Pop Stars, Inspiration, and YA Books (Excerpt & Series FREE in KU!)
Friday, May 12th, 2023

Growing up there were 3 things I was obsessed with: watching soap operas with my mom, reading young adult books, and listening to music—particularly playing my favorite pop stars all day long. So, it’s no wonder I would write Cecily in the City, a YA book that has a teen girl who is dating her favorite pop singer/songwriter and gets a job on the soap opera her great-grandmother used to watch with her.

I liked creating storylines for my Barbie dolls when I was growing up, and my mom used to let me watch soap operas with her. One of my favorite things to do was finish off cliffhangers on those shows with my dolls. If I didn’t like the way the writers handled the storyline, I’d change it and play it out how I wanted it to end. That’s why two of my characters in the Landry’s True Colors Series, Landry and Ashanti, are obsessed with soap operas, too. They decorate their bedroom doors with pics of soap actors, and I might have done that as well. I even named the magazine they read, Soap Opera Hotties.

In my YA series called the Star Series, I also have my characters Hadley, Charlotte, and their grandfathers watching a soap opera in the books. The soap they watch is called Charmed Lives and I decided to do a crossover with that series and the Cecily Taylor Series, and I have Cecily auditioning for and getting a role on the very show the characters in the Star Series are obsessed with! It’s a fun little Easter Egg for fans of the Star Series as I bring characters and actors they know from that book into Cecily in the City as Cecily is now working with them. And yes, Cecily had a crush on the very actor Charlotte was in love with, too!

If you’re a fan of books that have the heroine getting to live out her dreams (and see the realistic side of what it’s like to date a pop star and also have people comment on your personal life on social media), then check out my Cecily Taylor Series. It’s free on Kindle Unlimited.

Here’s an excerpt from the book, Cecily in the City:

In this scene, Cecily’s best friend, Lila, asks her what it was like to film a scene in a music video with pop star Andrew Holiday. Andrew was Cecily’s music crush and favorite singer who she met on the set of the video and is now dating.

“Weird question, but did doing that scene with Andrew in the music video where you exchange that long romantic glance—did it feel uber romantic or was it just like, a job?”

I smiled as I thought back on the day that I got to be in his music video. I was just an extra and we had only met briefly when I went to the audition, but we had connected when we started talking in his trailer during the shoot. Initially, I had been afraid to meet him and find out he wasn’t like I had imagined him all this time. But I had nothing to worry about because once we started talking it was like an instant connection as we bonded over music, books, and our overall views on life. He was exactly the same guy who wrote the lyrics that spoke to my heart. It was wild to think that the same person whose music got me through the toughest times in my life was now the person I turned to for comfort.

I started to fill Lila in on how it went on the set. “At first, I got all starry eyed because he’s been my favorite singer for a long time. I don’t know how it’d be for an actress who just booked the job and wasn’t familiar with his music. Although, I think it’d be hard to separate fact from fantasy when you’re doing some dreamy scene.”

She nodded. “How do actors gaze into each other’s eyes all day and say all those romantic things and then go about their business when the director yells, ‘cut?’ I mean, a guy held the door open for me at church three weeks ago and I’m still thinking about it.”

We giggled. “Maybe that guy is somewhere right now planning what to say if he sees you at church again.”

She shook her head saying he hadn’t been back to the ten a.m. service and she had given up on him. I bit my lip.

“Well, now you have me thinking about the next time Andrew does a video with another girl and she gets all swoony. I don’t want to be the jealous type, but how do people turn off feelings during stuff like that?”

She nodded. “I wouldn’t be able to handle watching my boyfriend do those scenes either, but we better change the subject before you start overthinking things and get all weird the next time he messages you.”

Too late.

Find my books here in Kindle Unlimited:

About the Author

Krysten Lindsay Hager is a bestselling author of young adult, middle grade, and contemporary romance. Krysten writes because she loves bringing people swoony moments & hope-filled happily ever afters. Her books are known for making you laugh, cry, & swoon.

Along with relationships, her novels deal with self-doubt, finding where you belong, true friendship, & soulmates.


Krysten Lindsay Hager: New YA Contemporary Book — Cecily in the City!
Wednesday, April 12th, 2023

Do you like young adult contemporary books with pop stars, celebrities, staying true to yourself, funny friends, swoony moments, soul mates, moving from a small town to the big city, and living your dreams? My YA contemporary book, Cecily in the City, has just released. It’s the third book in the Cecily Taylor Series, but it can be read as a standalone. It hit number one on Amazon’s hot new release charts,

What is the story about?

Cecily Taylor thinks her life can’t get any better when she moves to the city after getting a job on a soap opera. She’s excited to act and be in the same city as her pop star boyfriend, Andrew Holiday. Then she stars in another pop star’s music video, but there’s more drama behind the scenes than what’s in the script.

Pretty soon there are media posts about Cecily and the new singer and her relationship with Andrew is threatened. She just wants to act, be with Andrew, and help the causes close to her heart, but life sure is different in the glare of the spotlight.

Can Cecily hang onto her dream life while in the big city?

Find the book here: 
Amazon US (Free in Kindle Unlimited):
Amazon AUS:
Amazon UK:
Barnes & Noble:

About the Author 

Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. Her work includes YA contemporary novels and middle school fiction. She received her BA in English and master’s degree in liberal studies from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc View, Dayton Daily News and on Living Dayton.


Krysten Lindsay Hager: What I Wish I Had Known as a Teen (Excerpt)
Friday, March 10th, 2023

Looking back on your teen years isn’t always the most fun thing, but as a young adult author (who also has a tween series), I often find myself doing that. When I do events or book clubs, the readers always end up asking me about my own experiences back in those days, and sometimes I cringe thinking about those times. I actually have a chunk of time from early high school that I blocked out, but the later years and middle school years are still with me. Sometimes, life can feel like we never left high school or middle school as I still encounter mean girls and drama. But seeing as readers ask me for advice, I thought I’d share today a few things I wish I had known back then.

  • In my books, one of the big themes is embracing what makes you unique or special. We often focus on trying to fit in, but I find life opens up when we embrace what makes us different. It took me years to realize that things that made me different were the things that made me a writer such as looking at the world in a different way and sitting back and observing others.
  • Not all friendships are meant to last forever. No one likes hearing that or even thinking about it, but I think we often stay in friendships because of a shared history or because we’ve had a lot of time together. I still have friends from those years, but I’ve also had friendships that have run their course and that’s okay. People change—we’re supposed to—and what was once a close bond doesn’t always last. Values change, interests, and other things change and it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up. Wish the other person well and root for them from afar.
  • It’s okay if not everyone likes you. You’re not supposed to be for everyone. Even your favorite singer/writer/actress has haters. In fact, when you feel down, go read reviews of your favorite celebrity and you’ll see no one is universally loved. Just cherish the people who do get you.


Here’s an excerpt from my pop star romance Cecily Taylor Series:

“Must be nice to have a hot pop star text you. Do you think he will contact you again?” Lila asked.

If he doesn’t, then I’ll die and probably never leave my room again. “I hope he does. I’d be seriously bummed if I—” Get dumped, get blocked online, see he’s dating someone else. “—don’t hear from him again,” I said.

“Does anyone else know he was the reason Zach got so mad at you when he walked in on Andrew trying to kiss you at the video premiere?”

“No, Zach didn’t tell anyone. I feel like it’d be weird if I told people that’s what happened. Like they wouldn’t believe me and think I was making it up to get attention,” I said.

“Yeah, I already heard a few people saying stuff.”

My stomach dropped. “Like what?”

“Huh? Oh…nothing major.” She gripped the steering wheel. “It’s impossible to find a spot on the street on a weekend.” I pressed her again, and she shrugged. “There’s a couple comments on his social media pages.”

Pulling out my phone, I went to the video’s link online and the first comment that came up was:

NoOneAndrewFan: Why did they pick HER out of all the girls in the world?

CaliGirlTwo: They couldn’t find any better than that chick?

Holidate008: She’s like if the word “plain,” was a person.

 MusicIsLife: I think the point is that she’s not supposed to be hot, you guys Holidate008: I think she’s supposed to be the opposite of that other girl in the video.

CaliGirlTwo: Obviously Andrew has a jealous girlfriend and told him to find blah girls to be in his video.

SleepAllDayz: I bet Andrew’s managers don’t want his fans to be jealous of any of the girls they cast in his videos. Mission accomplished.

Meghynn: Seriously, I’ve seen cuter girls walking down my street and I live out in the sticks.

KellyKellz: I bet the other actress said they couldn’t cast another hot girl.

Meghynn: Andrew obviously didn’t do the casting for this one.

Holidateforever: Wow! Seems like no one has anything nice to say, all you guys want to do is trash people. if you don’t like what Andrew’s doing in his video… then bye!

TeenaRoger: Guys, Andrew would hate all these negative vibes! If you don’t have anything good to say about his work then don’t follow his page, don’t listen to his music, and DON’T bother commenting.

 Holidateforever: I think she’s pretty. Jealousy isn’t cute, you guys.

“Oh crap. I didn’t even think to look at the comments before now. I guess it was so surreal to think I was actually in a music video that it didn’t even occur to me to go on and see what people were saying,” I said as my face burned with embarrassment. “Has everyone at school seen these?”

“Don’t worry about it. People suck and if it makes you feel any better, a lot of people at school aren’t even talking about it because they don’t want you to get all stuck up,” she said.

That was supposed to make me feel better?

“I was barely in the video. Why is everyone attacking me for a five second spot?” I asked trying to keep myself from crying.

“It sucks. I wish Andrew was here and he could just wrap you in a blanket and make you a cup of tea,” Lila said.

I laughed despite the fact I was trying not to throw up on myself. “Yup, like the perfect boyfriend.”

Find my books here in Kindle Unlimited:

About the Author

Krysten Lindsay Hager is a bestselling author of young adult, middle grade, and contemporary romance. Krysten writes because she loves bringing people swoony moments & hope-filled happily ever afters. Her books are known for making you laugh, cry, & swoon.

Along with relationships, her novels deal with self-doubt, finding where you belong, true friendship, & soulmates.


Krysten Lindsay Hager: Music and My Pop Star Romance Series Inspiration
Thursday, December 8th, 2022

When I created my young adult Cecily Taylor Series, I knew I wanted to give a teenage girl all the things she’s ever dreamed about like her dream career (acting) and a chance to date her favorite singer/songwriter, Andrew Holiday. I thought it would be interesting to see how Cecily would react to getting the life she thought she wanted and how she would actually handle it. Honestly, who hasn’t thought about what it’d be like to date their celebrity crush?

When writing the books, I imagined a realistic way where Cecily could not only meet Andrew (at an audition) but develop a relationship with him while on the music video set. Writing those early scenes where Cecily is falling for her pop star crush, while still trying to act normal was a lot of fun. She’s gushing and freaking out on the inside but trying to appear calm and cool on the outside. On a date, she slips and reveals she recognizes a watch that she’s seen on social media that is his grandfather’s, and then she feels like a complete stalker when she realizes she’s outed herself as a mega fan. I kept imagining how a date with my favorite singer would go and I realized it would be awkward knowing so much personal history about him. Where is that line for Andrew between a fan and a person he could see himself really dating?

As a kid I was obsessed with George Michael, and you can definitely feel George’s influence in Andrew Holiday. However, recently my mom reminded me of a crush I had when I was a toddler! Yes, you read that right, I said toddler. I was laughing as she told me I would sit in my toddler car seat bopping along to Andy Gibb. It’s not important who else I had a poster of on my wall next to the Holly Hobbie pictures…ahem. I went on YouTube and looked up some old interviews of Andy, and you can definitely see his influence as well. Readers always tell me they see Shawn Mendes in Andrew and while he wasn’t on my radar when I first started the series, I can see what they mean. As I’m working on book three in the series, (Cecily in the City will be out in March), I have been listening to Shawn and reading his interviews.

While writing the books, I always make a playlist that goes along with the story. Some are songs I listened to while writing or editing, while others are ones that came out after the books released and they work so well with the storyline. Some of the artists on the playlist include: Ed Sheeran, George Michael, Mac Miller, Matt Pokora (his music inspired some scenes in the upcoming book), Shawn Mendes, Kasey Musgraves, Jon Connor, Marina, Clark Manson, Kylie Minogue, Lauren Alaina, and Johnny Gill among others.

George Michael’s song, “Waiting for that Day,” is just one of the George songs I imagine Andrew singing that Cecily relates to. In fact, the box set of Andrew that has all heartbreak songs on it about exes which Cecily refers to as paying “Fifty bucks to hurt my own feelings,” is based on an album of his that I got as a kid! “One More Try” is another of his songs that inspired me while writing. Clark Manson’s “Track 9” is another song that’s perfect on the playlist for the book. Marina’s song, “Flesh and Bone,” inspired a scene in In Over Her Head: Lights, Camera, Action and well as scenes in the upcoming book where you see Andrew and Cecily both dealing with being in the public eye.

Kasey Musgraves’s Star-Crossed album has been in the background while I’m working on book three and it was also the soundtrack as I worked on the updated version of my other book, Dating the It Guy. Jon Connor’s “Every Other Word” is one I have on repeat while working on book three, too. Lauren Alaina’s “Painting Pillows” is also in rotation as I work on book three, so stayed tuned.

Here’s a link to the playlist on Spotify. Let me know what you think!

Find the bestselling series here:

About the Author


Krysten Lindsay Hager is a bestselling author of YA and contemporary romance. Krysten writes romance because she loves bringing people swoony moments & hope-filled happily ever afters. Her books are known for making you laugh, cry, & swoon. Along with romance, her novels deal with self-doubt, finding where you belong, true friendship, & soulmates.

Amazon page:

Krysten Lindsay Hager: JFK Jr., Book Inspiration, and Me
Wednesday, May 25th, 2022

Years ago, I was in high school reading an article about John F. Kennedy Jr. and started wondering what it’d be like to deal with that level of scrutiny. As it was, I felt very judged in my hometown, so it threw me into imaging what he must have felt in his everyday life. Later in college, I wrote a short story imagining a teenage girl who was dating a guy who was basically a high school version of JFK Jr. I kept thinking about all the focus that had been on his wife, Carolyn, and I decided to turn that short story into a novel. I read (and watched) a lot of biographies on John and Carolyn and got a feel for what their lives were like behind closed doors. I read about insecurities they had, the opportunities he couldn’t take because of his family name, and what it was like living in a fishbowl with strangers watching you grow up and having an opinion on everything you did.

I really got into what it would be like to grow up where every move you made was watched, so then I imagined this teenage girl, Emme, who already has insecurity issues after being in a bad first relationship. I had Emme find a soulmate connection with this popular guy named Brendon who is also a well-known senator’s son. Brendon is trying so hard to live up to the family name and be the perfect son and student, but he is overwhelmed by the pressures on him. In my short story, I had given him a love interest that was his opposite, so I made Emme much more carefree and laidback. I pictured Brendon being on all these school committees and clubs and worried about grades and getting into his dad’s former college, while Emme is busy just being a normal high school student and trying to get on the school newspaper staff.

Then I thought about how important family ties were to JFK Jr. as I felt that connection with him as John passed shortly after I lost my grandpa. I wanted to include what my family had gone through with my grandfather’s dementia, and I thought I could have both Emme and Brendon dealing with grandparents with health issues which winds up cementing their bond even more. Brendon and Emme became more real to me as I was writing, and I almost felt bad giving this couple so many relationship obstacles on their path to true love. Notice I say, “almost.”

I re-released the updated book, Dating the It Guy, this April and since so many readers had asked if I’d do a sequel, I thought instead I would write an epilogue of what happens to Emme and Brendon couple years later after they graduate from college. In one way I was giving the readers a look into the future, but it was also a way for me to give my characters a happily ever after since it’s always been so sad that John and Carolyn’s lives were cut short. I learned a lot about John and Carolyn in my research and came to admire them both.

You can find the book here:

Clip of me reading an excerpt of the book on Book Notes:

About Me

I write novels about friendships, crushes, hope, dealing with self-doubt, finding where you belong as well as your soulmate. My sister says my books are an airing of my grievances, but I like to think I’m just working through issues via my characters to help my readers work through theirs. Either way, the bumps along the road gave me a lot of material.

I’ve been writing since I was a kid, but my mom made me show her I was serious about it my senior year when she signed me up for writing conferences to see if I’d sink or swim. Who knew I’d finally feel like I fit in somewhere…well, fit in-ish. I love reading, TV shows, watching strangers’ IG stories, and lipstick.