The Inspiration Behind Kai Strand's New Book, I Am Me

I’m often asked, “How long did it take you to write this book?” I don’t usually know the answer to that, and I guess I still don’t, but I know that I started I Am Me on September 11, 2014. I immortalized the shiny new document on my Facebook page. (I should always do that!) I published it on March 11, 2018. Three and a half years to the day. This book has been through the ringer of critiques and submissions. Three and a half years is a lot of time to invest in a project. Keep that in mind when you feel grumpy that an author won’t give you their book for free. I’ve invested a lot of myself and my time into the production of this story. And I’m thrilled that it has found it’s way into the world so readers can enjoy it.

The inspiration:

Listen to these lyrics:

So, what if you had everything? Then what? That’s the question I wanted to explore. Let’s say a teen girl grows up knowing she has everything. She’s compelled to share her fortune with the community and becomes a volunteer junkie. She feels really good about it too, until she loses what she had. As she is exposed to others’ circumstances, she realizes what she had & lost wasn’t all important in the first place. I Am Me has some exploration of class division – a growing problem in our country, imho – but mostly this is a coming of age story. A story of discovery. And hopefully Lola’s enlightenment will make you stop and think. Or maybe her volunteer addiction will inspire you to donate a couple hours a month to a local cause.

I hope you’ll pick up a copy of I Am Me for yourself and/or a friend.

Despite—or perhaps because of—her fancy car, private school education, and life of privilege, Lola Renaldi has become a volunteer junkie. Feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, visiting the elderly—if it’s a good cause, she’s done it.

Lola’s favorite stint, building affordable houses, puts her directly in the path of Rodney. He refuses to discuss why he’s doing community service, but it’s clear he’s hiding something dark about his past. As their friendship grows, Lola begins to question the true reasons for her obsessive volunteerism and her view of those she has pledged to help.

She is only beginning to understand how lucky she truly is when her life falls apart. After losing friends, her boyfriend, even Rodney, Lola finally recognizes which parts of her life she wants to hang on to and what specifically she wants to go after. But with all she’s been through, will she be able to hang onto who she wants to be? Or will she lose all that defines her?


  1. Congratulations, Kai. I'm so excited for you. Will be reading it soon. The premise is so touching and true, I think. Ready to meet Lola.

  2. So excited this book is out in the world, Kai!

  3. I listened to the song and especially like painting the white house yellow. I'm loving your book. Not quite finished. I am a slow reader, but get there eventually. Wishing the best for you with Lola's story. Have a super day and weekend.


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