In this first interview with the authors of The Irregulars, Kaylee Kosakowski discusses her character, the intrepid Thia George, her powers of the mind, Kaylee’s own writing style and thoughts about the kids and their plight.
You can find Kaylee on Facebook, as well as on Twitter and Instagram at
Kaylee Kosakowski hails from the land of inconsistent weather known as Buffalo, New York. She has always found writing to be her favorite outlet and is always working to improve her skills as a storyteller. She is published in five collaborative novels with the Collaborative Writing Challenge and one Halloween anthology; The Irregulars will mark her sixth collaboration. When Kaylee is not getting lost in the world of Young Adult Fiction, you can most likely find her consuming copious amounts of chai and watching YouTube like a true millennial.
Kaylee is currently in her third year of college at St. John’s University in Queens, New York, studying Television and Film Production.
The Irregulars Author Interviews – Kaylee Kosakowski
- What is your experience as a writer?
My experience as a writer dates back to the ever-so-memorable middle school years, though my first experience being published was much more recent, beginning with the Collaborative Writing Challenge. I was contacted and asked if I would like to participate in the pilot project, The Concierge (2015), and continued with each one up to the fifth project, The Map. On the side, I wrote a short story for Festive Frights (2015).
Prior to CWC, I had always worked on my own projects with only myself as the judge, but working in a collaborative environment taught me things that would never have learned had I stayed inside of my comfort zone. There have been lost of ups and downs—moments of intense inspiration and moments destitute of imagination; it’s unbelievably frustrating, but when I finally mange to sort my jumbled words into coherent, captivating sentences, I remember why I love writing. I’m currently working on one of my own projects—though, admittedly, I’ve been slacking—and when I get the chance, I dabble in short stories.
- What—if any—experience do you have as a writer working with other authors in collaborations?
Most of my writing experience is actually a result of collaborations. As I mentioned earlier, the Collaborative Writing Challenge is a huge part of who I am as a writer. The Collaborative Writing Challenge (CWC) brings together a network of writers with the goal of publishing a collaborative novel. I have worked on five projects with CWC, each a different genre; it’s definitely tough. Each person writes differently and there is no way of knowing which storyline a writer will choose to follow and develop. There have been times when I have completely understood the story and the next move was obvious to me, but there have also been times when I was awake at two in the morning just staring at my laptop screen, wiling the plot to come my way. No matter how many times I do it, it is always a strange experience, writing with people whom I may not have ever even met in mind, but hey, that’s the beauty of it.
- Who was your character in The Irregulars? Tell us a bit about them.
My character was Thia George! She is thirteen years old and a telepath with telekinesis, so essentially she can read minds and move stuff with her thoughts. I don’t want to give you her whole biography, but like the other characters, she had a rough childhood. Thia is also an amputee and is confined to a wheelchair, but do not let that fool you, she is much tougher than she looks.
She is wise for her years, a result of both being able to read minds and being on the run from people who want to experiment on her and her group, but my favorite thing about Thia is that she’s honest with herself. She knows how she feels, and even if she does not always vocalize it, she accepts it. Because she can read minds, she knows the consequences of keeping things bottled up better than anyone.
- What was the most challenging part about writing your character?
I was not originally part of the project, so I did not get the chance to see or understand Thia’s conceptualization. With all collaborative projects, it’s tough adjusting to a character whose personality has been hinted at or even established by other writers, but that did not even compare to the nervousness I felt when I saw Thia’s age.
Of all the writers who were part of The Irregulars, I am definitely the one who is closest in age with her (or, rather, any) character, yet writing for a girl who was seven years younger than me stumped me. I had no idea what words young teenage girls use and my biggest fear was writing and making it sound unrealistic—like what thirteen year-old girl would say that? I can remember what seventeen year-old me would say, but sixteen year-old let alone thirteen year-old? Nope.
- How did you most relate to your character?
As Thia is a telepath, she spends the majority of the story in her head. Every time she’s in a new environment or just dealing with whatever situation is at hand, she is thinking everything through and always vaguely aware of what the others think. Plus, at least in my head, Thia does not mind being lost in her head. Sure, there are some memories she has repressed and feelings she tries to stay away from, but her mind is her home.
I’m the same way. When I have to solve problems or am around people I don’t know, I retract into my thoughts. I’m a listener rather than a speaker, especially around people I am not familiar with, and I’m happy being so. It sounds strange, but I could contently sit on bed and stare at the ceiling, lost in my thoughts. Also, though this may speak to my college mentality of wanting people to like me, I am sensitive to others, meaning that I always try and gauge how someone is feeling based on body language. It’s not the same as reading minds, but it’s kind of similar.
- Tell us about your take of the world of The Irregulars. What is happening? What would interest readers about it most?
In the world of The Irregulars, eight gifted children are on the run from an entity that wants nothing more than to put collars on them. The Irregulars is not only the story of their endeavor to safety, but also the story of learning to trust people they have just met and people they have known almost their whole lives. The story is set in what I can only describe as an alternate universe, as it is neither dystopian nor set in a place of fantasies.
I think that what would interest readers the most is the fact that the story is written in eight different perspectives. There are plenty of stories out there that have a couple different point-of-views, but the diversity of the characters and the fact that there are eight sets The Irregulars apart. Each character thinks differently, and as obvious as that sounds, it’s truly thrilling to read. While the characters may experience similar emotions, they all handle them differently, but just when you think it’s crazy that these eight kids can live together because they have so many issues, you’re reminded of why they just work.
- How long do you take to write a book independently of a collaborative? How long would this compare to writing with other authors?
I don’t really have anything to compare the collaborative experience to, as I have not completed my own personal projects. However, I finished the extremely-coarse-sandpaper-rough-draft in around the same amount of time as the CWC Projects take. I paced myself with a chapter a week, which is coincidentally the same schedule that CWC follows. The rewriting process, on the other hand, is taking me forever.
- How do you incorporate the noise around you into the story you are writing at the moment?
I generally prefer to write in silence because I get distracted easily, but I do keep my window open and let the weather outside influence either the weather in the chapter or the overall mood of it. If it’s raining outside, it may be raining in the chapter or it may be a more melancholy moment in the plot.
- Do you prefer being intoxicated to write? Or would you rather write sober? Do you do anything to alter your mental state when you write?
Unfortunately, as I answer this interview, I’m underage here in the States. I’ve heard that writing after a drink or two helps. Maybe that’s why I’ve been hitting writer’s block…
- What is that dream goal you want to achieve before you die?
I really want to publish a book the traditional way. I know that sounds corny, but it’s definitely a dream of mine. I would love for young adults—or adults—to read my book and feel like it changed them or lead them to their new favorite couple or even just helped them find a fictional friend. Books change lives and no one can convince me otherwise.
- Do you think translating books into languages other than their origin forces the intended essence away?
I think that there is absolutely no way that things to not get lost in translation, however, I don’t think that the entire essence of a book is lost if the translation is done with care. There are some words and phrases that do not have an English equivalent, but just because that phrase or word cannot be perfectly translated does not mean the entire thing has lost credibility. In cases like this, contextual clues are really important, or even footnotes. If the person translating truly loves literature and languages and is willing to take the time required, they will find a way to make sure the intended essence remains, even if not in exactly the same words.
- Do you blog? If so, what do you blog about and where can other people find it?
At the moment, I do not, but I’ve actually been thinking about it lately! The issue is that I’m not sure what I would blog about. There is so much content out there that I get overwhelmed with this self-imposed pressure to stand out, so I have been working through that. Part of me thinks that I should make a blog about that—all the anxiety-filled thoughts that come to my mind. We’ll see.
- How active are you on social media? And how do you think it affects the way you write? Please share the platforms you’re active on and how people can find you there.
I’m not too active on social media, though I do use it often. By that I mean I check my accounts daily and for far too long than I should, but I don’t post much. If anything, my social media just leads me to videos of foods I’ll never eat and make up I’m too clumsy to do properly. The only exception I can think of is Instagram. I follow a lot of celebrities, and sometimes when I see the lives they live and how happy they are, I feel inspired to pursue my own happiness and write.
I don’t have any official writer pages, but I can be found at:
Facebook: Kaylee Kosakowski
- Do you enjoy theatre? Would you ever like one of your stories to be turned into a play? Would you prefer to see The Irregulars as a movie, a play, neither or both?
I do enjoy theatre! In fact, I was part of my high school’s stage crew for our musicals. We did Les Miserables my senior year and it was epic.
If I ever wrote a story that would do theatre justice, I would love to see that happen. As far as The Irregulars goes, I think it would best fit a movie if I had to pick between the two. Special effects are a really important aspect of the story, but the more that I think about it, it would be difficult to create a film with eight different main characters. Even when there are stories with multiple characters in screenplays, there is always one main one. The director would have his work cut out for him!
- If you had to pick one other author to write your biography, who would it be?
Cassandra Clare! She’s the author of The Mortal Instruments Series and The Infernal Devices Trilogy.
Her stories feature a really diverse cast of characters, and when I look back at my life thus far, I’m painfully aware of how much my personality has changed. There are some days when I feel like Simon and some days when I feel like Will. She develops all of her characters with such grace, especially in moments of adversity. Cassandra Clare had me invested in every single character. She’s witty and clever—two things I like to consider myself—and there is no one whom I would rather have write my biography than her.