Pen Friends ~ Please welcome YA Author Haylie Hanson talking about her upcoming novel, WORLD DIVER, writing dreams, nerdom and so much more! I’m so excited to have Haylie here with us today. She’s a GEM! Haylie welcomes readers not only into adventure but a fun, free space to be themselves.
SP: Hi Haylie! Thanks for joining us. Before we get into book stuff, we’d LOVE to know a bit about you and your writing journey!
Hi, Pen Friends! I’m so stoked to be here! I have been writing and creating since I was a teenager, mostly speculative fiction novels and some poetry/songwriting. Writing and reading have always been a passion of mine–I love getting to know all kinds of unique and fascinating characters and worlds, and making new literary friends (and book crushes, let’s be real). I started writing for publication in 2018, and after a few (okay, MANY) bumps in the road, I landed my first book deal for the Luminaut Trilogy! Aside from writing, I am a California girl, mom to two littles, a major foodie, geek-culture aficionado, and a former special education teacher. I’ve also had the opportunity to live and travel all kinds of different places because of my husband’s line of work. My favorite destinations are Kyoto, Bali, Seoul, and Tokyo!
SP: WORLD DIVER will come out April 2021 by Uncommon Universe Press. Please add on Goodreads while waiting! Here’s the blurb for WORLD DIVER:
All sixteen-year-old Callie James wanted was to surf waves and learn robotics. Then her hands started glowing and her robot came alive (and ate her homework).
Now Callie must learn how to be a Luminaut (aka: a light wizard) in order to reunite the shattered multiverse. Plus deal with Nate, a way-too-hot guy who’s technically dead–and who insists uniting the multiverse will destroy everything.
Confusing much? And then there’s the murderous interdimensional phantoms after her. At least Callie gets to repair a fifty-foot tall robot.
A sassy YA science fantasy with adventure, STEM, a bit of romance, and an adorable robot.
SP: How long did it take you to write WORLD DIVER and how did this story come about? Where do you get your ideas?
World Diver is inspired by all favorite sci-fi/fantasy films about droids and mechs, kids with superpowers, and the multiverse and portal realm concepts from some of my most-loved childhood books: A Wrinkle In Time and Alice in Wonderland. I also wanted to tell a story set in California, my home state, as I initially brainstormed World Diver during a time when I was homesick and living far away. I started writing Callie’s journey in 2011, but I never thought I’d publish it. Once I made the decision to write professionally, I prepped World Diver as the initial story concept I would pitch. It took 6-12 months to rewrite the entire manuscript, which is fast for me. Typically, a novel will take me 12-24 months between conceptualization, drafting, and revisions.
SP: Can you tell us about your next project?
I’ve got two YA historical fantasies in the works, and I’m really excited about them! The first is a superhero adventure story about a jewel heist gone wrong set during the American Civil War era, the second is a Regency era tale about a girl with a magical curse that causes her to replicate herself whenever she makes a wish. I’m hoping to begin querying both of those at some point later this year, or in 2022.
SP: How do you balance writing life with being a mom?
Balance, what’s that? Joking–sort of. I end up writing a lot at night after my kids go to bed, when they’re in preschool during the morning, or the days my husband works from home and can help tag-team.
SP: Are there any characters that surprised you along the way?
Yes, the character of Nate jumped out at me pretty late into the writing process–I was already halfway through the first draft of Book Two before I figured out who he was and the story he wanted to tell. I can’t give away spoilers, but let’s just say he started out extremely vague, lacked motivation, and didn’t have a lot to do. I was actually writing from the POV of an entirely different character when I realized the story I’d been telling about Nate wasn’t his story after all, and it was that cliche “lightbulb clicking over my brain” moment. It required a lot of last-minute rewrites, but he’s gone from being one of my least favorite characters to my absolute favorite (aside from my baby robot, Nemo).
SP: What part of the writing process do you most enjoy? The first draft? The development in revision? The final touches?
The brainstorming and first draft phase. It’s at that point in the process I’m really getting to know who the characters are. I give myself permission to not make everything perfect, but to just let the words flow before I go back and clean everything up later.
SP: Any writing tip you’d like to share?
Sometimes I see writers stressing about writing a draft just perfectly. They convince themselves their story “isn’t good enough,” because, “I can’t write like so-and-so.” Take it from somebody who’s struggled with perfectionism: it’s not worth it. Don’t compare somebody else’s story to your beautiful dumpster fire, because odds are that story you love was once a blazing, glorious dumpster fire draft that took countless revisions and author-rage-tears. Don’t compare your writing style to somebody else’s, take time to learn and grow in writing craft and embrace your specific strengths. Comparison is the thief of joy, which sounds like a motivation poster, because it is–but it’s also true.
SP: A few fun questions. Is Haylie a…
Plotter/pantster? –Plantser, haha! I plot via outline, but I always leave room for the characters to surprise me.
Last book you read? –Skyward by Brandon Sanderson. Excellent, I highly recommend it.
Current dream vacation spot?--I’d love to go to Australia.
Current favorite K-Drama? –I don’t watch much K-Drama, but my workout playlist is almost all K-Pop. Well, really, Blackpink.
Would you rather be a professional: Marine Biologist? Spy? Opera Singer? Brain Surgeon? OR? –Marine biologist all the way! All of my MC’s have been STEM girls. I actually wanted to become a marine biologist in middle school.