Author Interview: Hannah Heath

Pen Friends ~ Come meet Indie YA author & super awesome writing-blogger, Hannah Heath!

images-43SP: 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? 

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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!

author-nova-mcbee

Nova, signing off.

Expect the Unexpected*

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Today’s post is inspired by real life events: driving home from Dallas, I was half a block away from my house when the car in front of me at a green light did not go.

I honked politely. I honked longer. I laid on the horn. Absolutely nothing. The light turned red, and I shook my head in disbelief.

As I had a full light cycle to consider my next course of action, I decided at the next green light, if they did not move, I would go around them. That’s exactly what happened, but as I passed the vehicle, I looked inside, and saw the driver was passed out. Yikes! Not what I was expecting.

Does this ever happen in your stories? You think you have a plan for your story – all the main plot points, the path to the climatic event, the catharsis of a happy ending – and then it all gets derailed when a character does something totally unexpected, or the plot suddenly turns on you, like the family dog gone feral. Continue reading

Laws of Attraction: A Guest Post by Irish Author Evie Gaughan

Pen Friends, we are so honored to have Irish Author Evie Gaughan, as our guest today to share some writing insight with us! 

c6f27b3e0cc8c692c21a892fcd6bda06--irishLaws Of Attraction

When writers are asked, ‘Where do you get your inspiration from?’, the perception is that there is one big idea from which the book just flows. While this is partially true, I have found as a writer that my books are more likely to be made up of several ideas, all drawn together in a seemingly random yet perfectly designed patchwork to form the storyline. What begins as a small, fragile idea, lodged in my subconscious, begins to attract other ideas that just magically seem to connect. It is during this ‘germinating’ phase that serendipity peeps out from behind corners, magazine articles, overheard conversations; drawing all manner of flotsam to the shores of your mind, creating a map of the story.

This makes it all sound terribly easy, which of course, it isn’t! Sometimes, patience and observation are the most difficult skills to master. Take my novel, The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris. I had the initial idea and rushed at it, like an over-excited puppy. I was watching a TV show about an Irish chef living in France and she visited a renowned bakery in Paris that was shrouded in secrecy, as no-one knew who the baker was. No-one was ever seen entering or leaving and the patrons were very discreet. It’s all so long ago that I’m not sure where the TV show ended and my imagination began. Excited to get the story down, I rushed at my first draft, in which I hit the mother of all dead ends. My original plan for the story just didn’t work. I hadn’t given the idea enough time simmer, to see what other ingredients it might need. And one day, my main character Edith appeared in my head and took over the story, breathing new life into my draft.

Plotting a new book can be a very fraught time for a writer. Continue reading

Author Interview: Carlie Sorosiak

Pen Friends ~ We should be just a tad (read super-mega) excited because today we have the lovely YA Author Carlie Sorosiak with us!! Her YA book, If Birds Fly Back, is fast becoming the next bestselling, swoony, STEM-y (that means: nerdy smart stuff), read of the summer!

 

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SP: Hi Carlie! Thanks for being with us. Can you start out by telling us a bit of who you are and when you started writing?

Thank you so much for having me! So, my first novel just published in the US and UK—it’s called If Birds Fly Back, and it’s about family and first love and disappearances. I’ve been writing for a long time. I went to a Montessori elementary school, where we had journal time every day. Besides recess and the hours reading in a beanbag chair, it was my favorite activity. I wrote my first full-length novel between the ages of nine and thirteen, and although I took a little detour into biology and defense studies during university, I’ve ended up exactly where I want to be.

SP: As one who splits her time between two continents, where do you feel most at home? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? You mentioned wanting to achieve an accent like Madonna’s… have you? Continue reading

Book Review: In 27 Days

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Title: In 27 Days

Author: Allison Gervais

Blurb:

Hadley Jamison is shocked when she hears that her classmate, Archer Morales, has committed suicide. She didn’t know the quiet, reserved guy very well, but that doesn’t stop her from feeling there was something she could have done to help him. Hoping to find some sense of closure, Hadley attends Archer’s funeral. There, Hadley is approached by a man who calls himself Death and offers her a deal. If Hadley accepts, she will be sent back 27 days in time to prevent Archer from killing himself. But when Hadley agrees to Death’s terms and goes back to right the past, she quickly learns her mission is harder than she ever could have known.

Hadley soon discovers Archer’s reasons for being alone, and Archer realizes that having someone to confide in isn’t as bad as he’d always thought. But when a series of dangerous accidents starts pushing them apart, Hadley must decide whether she is ready to risk everything—including her life—to keep Archer safe.

From award-winning Wattpad author Alison Gervais (HonorInTheRain) comes In 27 Days, a story of redemption, first love, and the strength it takes to change the future.

Review: Continue reading

Prompt: In Hiding

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As I descend a crude manmade trail through the ruins of the city, pungent scents of smoke and mildew sting my nose. Graffiti filled walls guide me to the once safe haven to find… 

 

Hey Pen Friends,

It’s Prompt time again! Finish this prompt in 500 words or less –then send it into the Spinning Pen @ thespinningpen@gmail.com. We may select yours to publish on our blog along with our in-house prompt writer, Noah Dingman’s prompt!

Enjoy practicing your craft!

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Nova, signing off

 

 

 

Book Review: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow

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Title: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow

Author: Mary Weber

Blurb: Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi’s dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth’s corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth’s Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi’s the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she’s convinced he’s been taken to the ice-planet. Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.

For Miguel, Earth’s charming young playboy, the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight’s bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he’s a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.

Review: Continue reading

Book Review: Carve the Mark

Unknown-2Title: Carve the Mark

Author: Veronica Roth

Blurb:

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?  Continue reading

Book Review: Rebel Sands

24934065Title: Rebel Sands

Author: Alwyn Hamiltion

Book blurb:

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him… or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.  Continue reading