Pen Friends ~ Come meet Indie YA author & super awesome writing-blogger, Hannah Heath!
SP: Hi Hannah! Thanks for being with us. Can you start out by telling us a bit of who you are and when you started writing?
Hello! First off, thank you for inviting me on to your awesome website! I’m an author of YA Christian speculative fiction, a bookworm, chai-tea-lover, and all-around nerd. While I write mostly fantasy, I read everything from classic literature to comic books. I started writing a couple of years before I knew how to spell correctly, inspired by authors who brought beautiful worlds, new ideas, and courageous thoughts into my mind.
SP: So, let’s talk about Skies of Dripping Gold. How did this idea come about? How was your journey self-publishing it?
I have Lyme Disease. It is physically painful and has brought on a lot of spiritual suffering. I’ve struggled to come to terms with how God fits into all of the pain and, through this, I discovered Gabriel and his fight with these same questions. Self-publishing this story was insane: I’d never done it before and didn’t have any friend who had experience in the area. Thus, the formatting was a nightmare (seriously un-fun) and the marketing aspect was a complete unknown. But I learned a lot and was especially touched by all of the amazing people who took the time to review Skies of Dripping Gold, recommend it to others, and take a few moments to message me personally about the story. It has been (and continues to be) an incredible journey.
SP: We’d love to pick your brain about your blog. It’s witty, enjoyable and totally packed with great writing tips. How do you decide on topics and where did you learn all of these guru like tips? How do you balance your writing time versus social media/blogging time?
As much as I’d like to tell you that I have a super intelligent, organized system for my blog, I really can’t. I keep a running list of topics on a whiteboard as I get questions from followers or come across interesting techniques in my various readings. I choose a topic the day before the post is due based off of what I find most interesting during that specific moment. My tips largely come from writing stories and reading other people’s books. I take note of things I like, things I would improve, things that make my eyes bleed, and then go from there. Because it’s such an interconnected system, sometimes my blogging platform time and personal writing time try to blend together, so I set up specific times each week dedicated to these separate activities.
SP: You were a host for this year’s WriteOnCon Conference. How did that happen? What is one (or more) things you learned from hosting it and the conference itself?
Out of the vast expanses of the web, the WriteOnCon team noticed me and knew that I was the best person for the job. Just kidding. One of their team members got sick about two weeks before the event. Alyssa Hollingsworth, one of the lovely creators of this conference who I’d made friends with through twitter and blogging, messaged me and asked if I could fill in. I sent back a (somewhat) professional acceptance response as soon as I saw her request, then proceeded to dance around my room. I learned two things from this event: 1) Pulling these types of events off is a lot more difficult that you’d imagine and requires a lot of teamwork and persistence. 2) We’re all in the same boat: Every writer struggles with similar insecurities and has similar questions about the writing world, so it’s important to be brave, encourage each other, and keep writing.
SP: You started young. How did your parents view your writing? Were they supportive?
I’m blessed to have incredibly supportive parents. My mom is a former English teacher who not only cheered me on, but reads and gives feedback on all of my rough drafts. My dad enjoys reading about as much as Obi Wan enjoys flying, yet he voluntarily read Skies of Dripping Gold and keeps up on all of my blog posts. I cannot express how much their support means to me.
SP: What is your biggest distraction while writing and how do you combat it?
I’m a perfectionist, so letting my rough drafts be…well, rough, is really difficult for me. I need every sentence to read well, which is an extremely good way to go insane. I’ve had to learn to be okay with writing down something crummy and coming back later to edit it.
SP: Favorite snack or drink while writing? And one more fact about yourself that we wouldn’t know by looking at you?
None, actually, though I do love listening to music and lighting some good-smelling incense. And don’t let the brightly-colored hair fool you: I love black-and-white rom-coms. I could watch Bringing Up Baby for weeks on end.
SP: Ultimate life-time writing goal?
Well, after my recent trip to London, my current goal is to write several best-selling Christian sci-fi and fantasy novels and buy a house in the Cotswolds. However, I’ll settle for writing books that encourage and inspire my readers to dream big, trust in Jesus, and push on through their fears.
SP: Ok, which authors/books inspired you growing up and which books are on your TBR list this summer? *SP is doing a summer reading list challenge
As cliche as this will sound: C.S. Lewis has been a massive inspiration to me. I love his honesty and creativity. Aside from Lewis, Douglas Adams showed me the many glorious possibilities of sarcasm and J.K. Rowling taught me how to spin amazing character arcs. My TBR list this summer is bizarre, so don’t run away: I’m reading Dostoevsky (specifically The Idiot and Demons), catching up on Marvel comics, and delving into some classic Japanese authors (Edogawa Rampo, Doppo Kunikida, and Osamu Dazai, among others).
SP: Lol. Not running anywhere. Enjoy! Now, where can we learn more about you and your books?
Oooo. A question that I know the answer for without having to sit back and think! You guys can visit my website to learn more about my books: http://hannahheathwriter.com. You can also check out my blog for weekly writing tips, along with links to various social media accounts. I’d love to chat with you, so feel free to leave comments or get in touch with me via my website/social medias!
SP: Thanks Hannah!!!
Thank you so much for the fun opportunity!
Nova, signing off.