SP: Hey Hannah! So glad to have you here on the Spinning Pen.
H: Thank you so much for having me! I’m so excited to be able to share with you guys a little bit about me and my writing.
SP: We hear that your book is out on today Congrats!!! So exciting! Tell us all the deets. What’s the book about?
H: Yes! I can’t believe the time is actually here to send my book baby off into the world! A KNIGHT FOR A QUEEN is a young adult fantasy novel based loosely on a gender-swapped Cinderella. So it follows “Prince Charming” who is now one of our main characters, Princess Chara (pronounced Kar-ah) and a servant boy named Elliot.
SP: What was your favorite part about writing this book? Least favorite?
H: My absolute favorite part of this novel was drafting it, like the very first draft. It felt like when you are reading a good book and you just can’t wait to find out what happens. It was the first time I’ve really experienced that. My least favorite part was the querying and the rounds and rounds of edits, especially those after developmental edits were complete.
SP: Let’s back track a little…where did this all start for you? What has your writing journey been like?
H: So writing started for me in my youth, middle school actually, and I went to college for Creative Writing. But this particular novel started a little over five years ago when retellings were all the rage and I had this thought of like “Why isn’t Cinderella ever a dude?”. It started kind of spinning in my head from there about what that says about our culture that it is easy for us to consider an underdog, caring, sympathetic Cinderella as a cyborg, but never as a guy. So it started there, but really took off, especially in the editing phases.
Writing for me has been a constant juggle, especially since my kids entered the picture. Sometimes I make a big push and sometimes I spend months with very little progress. But I’ve kept taking the necessary baby steps and kept learning about craft and querying and publishing. My writing journey definitely hasn’t been the miraculous “fairytale” that you picture when you decide to write a novel, but it’s been a labor of love.
SP: Where do you get inspiration for your books?
H: Everywhere! Books, a lot, but also from life experiences—from quirky to painful—and a lot of it doesn’t come to me until I’m sitting down putting words on a page.
SP: Sadly, we’re running out of time here. Last question before the lightening round. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
H: I know it’s been said before, but the best thing you can do for your writing is write. And read. Don’t just talk about how you want to be a writer, put words on a page. Read books in your genre. Read craft books. And definitely expect it to take a very long time. Writing (well, publishing) is a marathon, not a sprint. If you are serious about wanting to publish, realize that you are on a life-long journey. I have a sign above my desk that says, “A professional is an amateur that doesn’t quit.” Keep writing! Keep reading! Keep going!
SP: I love that quote! Ok, lightening round. Early bird or night owl?
HB: If I had to choose, definitely a night owl. I don’t do mornings. But I also don’t function well into the night. But I can rock 2 PM like nobody’s business!
SP: Most obscure hobby?
H: I’m not sure if I have any truly “obscure” hobbies, but I love to bake!
SP: Word you can never spell? This may be a trick question.
H: Surprise. I just can never remember that first R.
SP: Worst job?
H: Retail! I won’t name any names though.
SP: Alright, time’s up! We’re so sad to see you go. Womp. Womp. Where can we go to read more from you?
H: Visit bigsmalltownbooks.com/ or you can find A KNIGHT FOR A QUEEN on amazon or barnesandnoble.com. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @HannahBOlsen.
SP: Alright, thanks for your time!