Interview with KE Strand, Author of Drama Kings Don’t Date Goth Girls

31 Mar 2023

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Drama Kings Don’t Date Goth Girls?

Because this book is romance, it’s all about the tropes! Though each book in my Oak Grove High series is a standalone, they are all set in the fictional small town of Oak Grove. When it came to this book, I wanted to stir up the town of Oak Grove by introducing a new girl. She needed to feel radically different than the long-time occupants of the conservative small town, which is why she’s goth.

A fake relationship story was really calling to me, so that helped to dictate how opposite Tess and Kellen would be. Where she’s dark and deadpan, he’s bright and gregarious. But as is the way with life, there is so much more going on behind their surface personalities and that’s where the story becomes fun, layered, and interesting.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Drama Kings Don’t Date Goth Girls, what would they be?

Tess’s song represents the beginning of her journey. She’s still a work in progress, so I could probably compose a whole playlist for her, but I’d say what really kicks it off for her is Lose You to Love Me by Selena Gomez. It symbolizes how she had to leave her parents to find her true self. Kellen’s vibe is: Can’t Stop That Feeling by Justin Timberlake. I can totally imagine him dancing around his room listening to that song. Or trying to get Tess to sing along with him.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

I love to read and write YA romance. I’m not particular about it being contemporary or fantasy or time travel…I just love the discovery and build of a new relationship. I get lost in those heart pounding, cheeks warming, breathless moments.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

On my Kindle, I’m reading When It’s Real by Erin Watt. I’m listening to Cinder by Marissa Meyer. And in print I’m reading the High School Debut manga series by Kazune Kawahara.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

My favorite scene is the one just after the scene where Tess really opens up to Kellen and explains why she moved to Oak Grove and who she used to be. Though the soul baring scene is a good one, it’s the scene that immediately follows that ended up being my favorite because there is such a shift in dynamics between Kellen and Tess. She still has no clue why tensions are so high in his seemingly perfect family, but the extra comfort she feels with Kellen, and the ripple effect her admission has, makes for a very sweet scene between them. My second favorite is when they are learning to dance. They are just so cute together.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

I think I might be the world’s most quirkless person. Boring, I know, but I am who I am.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

My favorite word in the English language is integrity. Honesty is important to me as is strong moral character. Life is so much better when you live it honestly and without regret.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

Be kind. Be supportive. Be nice. Just because someone doesn’t like the same things you do or looks different, they’re still just a human trying to make it through this crazy life. You probably have more in common than you initially thought.


KE Strand is the author of the new book Drama Kings Don’t Date Goth Girls

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