I wanted to call my friends and tell them about being on the talk show, but Mom said we had to be at the TV station super early — even before school started. She said I could text them, but I had to turn off my phone and go to bed.
“I’m waking you up at four a.m.,” she said. “You have to be there at five-thirty.”
“Can I just call Peyton and Ashanti? Please?”
“Fine, but you have five minutes and then that phone is mine and you’re in bed.”
I dialed Peyton, but her mom said she was in the shower. I told her mom about the show tomorrow and said my mom wouldn’t let me stay up any later to call Peyton back.
“How exciting! I will make sure Peyton knows, and I will be watching you tomorrow. Good luck, honey,” Mrs. Urich said.
I called Ashanti next and told her.
“Get out. Get. Out. No way. This is so exciting!”
“I’m so nervous. My stomach is already doing cartwheels. I can’t do one, but my stomach can. Seems unfair. What if I throw up before I go on? I did that right before I went on at the statewide Ingénue competition in Detroit, and my mom had to give me a cough drop to cover up the smell.”
“I’m sure you’ll be fine, but… just in case, take a cough drop with you,” Ashanti said. “Good luck. You’ll be great and I’ll go set the DVR now.”
I hung up and sent a text to Vladi, India, Devon, Thalia, Tori, and Ericka, so no one would be mad and feel left out. Then I shut off my phone. Mom poked her head in the door to make sure I was in bed.
“Night, hon. Try to get some rest,” she said.
Easier said than done. I stared at my ceiling while thinking about all the things that could possibly go wrong tomorrow. Seeing as the show was on in the morning, I never got to watch it, so I had no idea what the set was like — did it have super high chairs and I’d struggle to get into them? And what if it had those higher stools that were kind of tippy and my rear overshot the seat and I fell off? Or what if the prep questions got lost and the interviewer asked me random things like my feelings on nuclear war or asked me about some foreign political leader who I had never heard of before, and I appeared stupid? Why did I say I’d do this? I tried to get comfortable and it felt like I had just dozed off when I felt my mom shaking my shoulder.
“Rise and shine, TV star,” she said.
“This is going to be so much fun!” Devon said as she opened the door. We all walked in and instantly my head felt weird and I tripped. My eyes had to adjust to the light as it was way darker inside, and everything was outlined in neon and lights. It was like a huge warehouse, and it was noisy and crowded. I wanted to turn around and call Mr. Allen to save me from this big, scary mob. But the other girls were all smiling. Even Peyton. Great, I was the only one wetting my pants in fear. Liv saw some guys she knew so we walked over to watch them play pool. Almost immediately a group of boys came over and bought sodas for Kendall, Liv, Valine, India, and Devon. I went to say something to Peyton when I noticed she had a soda in her hand, too.
Just then one of the guys bumped into me. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t see you there,” he said.
“No worries,” I said. I’m just the invisible soda-less one. Don’t mind me, I wasn’t thirsty anyway.
Kendall glanced at her phone. “My brother texted me that he and Vladi are here already. Do you want to go find them?” I nodded.
“Does he know I’m here?”
She shook her head. “No, I wasn’t sure if you were coming or not when I talked to him, so I just told him you might be coming. They usually hang out over at the air hockey table.”
I tried texting Ashanti again, but no response. Was it too loud in here for her to hear her phone, or was she too busy having fun to care? Liv and Peyton came with us to go look for Steve and Vladi. Liv spotted them over by some couches. Vladi was sitting on the edge of an ottoman and a red-haired girl was leaning over and whispering in his ear. He was nodding and looking around. She put her hand on his arm and leaned forward.
“Oh man, that does not look good,” Liv said.
“He doesn’t seem interested in her,” Kendall said. “He’s looking everyplace but at her. I’ve known him for years, and if he likes a girl then he has razor focus. Trust me.”
I felt a little queasy when she said that. How many girls had she seen him be interested in?
Peyton put her hand on my arm. “It does seem like she’s more into him.” We watched as Vladi pulled out his phone and started texting.
“See? You don’t text when you’re with someone you like,” Kendall said, folding her arms. “That would just be rude.”
The redhead moved closer and now had both her hands on his upper arm. My eyes stung with tears.
“Clingy, much?” Liv said. “She’s, like, a stalker.”
“Do you want me to go over there?” Kendall asked. I shook my head, willing myself not to throw up on the floor.
Facts about Landry in Like
The scene where Landry and Peyton are too intimidated to go into the restroom at the teen dance club happened to me, but when I was older and in college. My friend and I were at a club in downtown Flint called The Metro. She opened the bathroom door and all these older girls gave us the once over. She shut the door and we scurried back to our table.
I have a lot of bookish readers, so the bookstore scene where Landry goes wild checking out the new classic covers and all the books and accessories was in honor of them.
I wrote the scene where Landry’s backstage at the modeling shoot getting maced with hair spray and stabbed with hair pins because I really hated going through that for modeling photo shoots. I did get maced in the face before and was freaking out I would go blind from hairspray. I still hate hairspray and the smell of it due to that.
The Skylar Halston computer games the girls are obsessed with are like the Nancy Drew games I used to play—who am I kidding? I still play them. I imagine Skylar as being as sort of a CIA agent type who solves mysteries. Landry and her friends have grown up with this series and are still obsessed with it like I was with book series like: Sweet Valley High, Nancy Drew, etc.
The sleepy puppy pants are based on my sister’s sleepy sheep pants that had little cartoon sheep in sleep caps drinking tea. I called them her “sheepy” pants. She wore them in her college dorm and everyone stared at her and she was so embarrassed she never wore them again…which is how I inherited them. Landry’s embarrassment over them is based on my sister’s.
Landry’s grandma is slightly based on my own. My grandma and I had the same mannerisms and it wasn’t until someone pointed it out that I realized how much alike we were right down to the way we stand. Landry’s middle name is Lilyanne, which is a mix of my grandmother’s and mother’s names.
People always ask if I ever ran into a Yasmin McCarty type in my life. Yup, there were a few times when I was in high school where I had mean girls who would talk about me and cause trouble for me with guys. I knew how uncomfortable Landry felt when having to be around Yasmin in school when writing those scenes.
I wrote about Landry going on talk shows because I did some shows last year. The line where Ashanti tells her to take a cough drop just in case Landry throws up from nerves, came from a friend who joked about Landry’s nervous stomach getting the better of her in book one and she told me to take cough drops. I did and posted a pic of the cough drops on Instagram.
Landry’s hair gets messed up right before she goes on live TV and the same thing happened to me. We both rounded a corner and hit wind tunnel-like winds. It was not cute.
I’ve had people say you can hear my mom and me talking in the scenes where Landry and her mom have conversations. I think there’s also a lot of influence from professors I’ve had in the Mrs. Albright character. You can also hear my dad in the Mr. Albright scenes.
I cried when I wrote the scene where Landry’s grandma makes Ashanti’s grandmother’s macaroni and cheese. When Ashanti cries—oh that got me every single time I read it during the editing process.
Top 10 Favorite Things by Krysten Lindsay Hager
1) My Kindle: I love being able to take over a hundred books with me at once. If I’m being honest, the best part about having a Kindle is that if you check out a library book with it, you don’t have to worry about the same things as you would if you borrowed a physical book—such as if the person who read it before you liked to read while sitting on the toilet.
2) Journals: I can never have enough cute notebooks and journals to write it. Sometimes I decide to devote a journal to one thing, then I rationalize that nothing else but that story can be written in it, therefore I must go buy another new one.
3) American Dad: This show has gotten me through so much. I watch it to escape the bad times and to laugh when I need time off. I catch several episodes of it during the week on Cartoon Network and on TBS. Roger the Alien is my spirit animal. I quote the show more than anything else.
4) Pepsi. It is my headache reliever, my comforter, my soother. I drink the real sugar kind and freak out when the store doesn’t have any in stock.
5) Detroit Lions football: yes, they break my heart every single season and yes, I should have learned from the fact my father and grandfather before him also suffered watching season after thankless season. I have to take some responsibility because it’s me who keeps going back. When I was sad watching the first game that was played after my dad passed my mom said, “Well, we have to imagine heaven is better than a Lions game and if it’s not then we’ve all been seriously oversold.”
6) Pacifica soy candles in Lotus Garden: I’m not sure how many I’ve gone through of these, but this is my favorite scent. I also like pairing it with Sandalwood. I imagine the Sandalwood candle is what Ronaldo would smell like…not that I’ve thought about that sort of thing.
7) Terra Sweet Potato Chips: I can’t have regular potato chips, but I can eat sweet potatoes, so finding these was like finding the holy grail of snacking.
8) Nail polish: In Landry in Like,I say that Ashanti is on the never ending quest to find the perfect opaque lavender nail polish. This is my own personal mission in life. I came close once years ago and then they discontinued that shade. One day…one day…
9) My phone: I’m always on my phone checking Instagram, my messages, playing music, and even reading if I’m traveling. But I hate voicemail. Don’t leave me voicemails. Also, don’t read me addresses or spell things to me over the phone. I can’t stand that. I think that comes from having to do that so much in my journalist days. Just text me, email me the info, or hire a sky writer, but don’t say, “Do you have a pen nearby? Can you write this down?”
10) Diana’s Bananas: I am addicted to these frozen chocolate dipped bananas on a stick. I call them choccie bananas and I cannot live without them.