Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Interview with Kristin Hannah and book giveaway
**Giveaway is now closed**
Kristin Hannah grew up in Southern California, but moved to Washington state during her youth and has lived there ever since, placing most of her stories there, as well. She went to law school but then later decided she was meant to be a writer. She became a professional writer in 1990 and has never lost her love of, or enthusiasm for, telling stories (most of which are tearjerkers for all her loyal readers).
Kristin dropped by Chick Lit Central on the day of publication for her latest novel, "Night Road" (reviewed here) to answer our questions about "Night Road" and talk about her writing experiences, which we hope you'll find as interesting as we did! Wiley Saichek from AuthorsOnTheWeb has three copies of this long-awaited novel to give away to some lucky readers in the US or Canada!
If you like what you've read here, check out Kristin's blog and become a fan on Facebook.
MP: How do you like to spend your time when you aren't writing?
KH: Well, to be honest, writing is actually one of my favorite activites. I simply love to world build and write down what I see. But like all jobs, there are times when I need to be away from it, need to decompress a little and enjoy some of the other things I love. My favorite place to be in the world is on a beautiful beach, watching the surf roll toward me, reading a book. I love to ski and surf and run. And traveling--that's my new big thing. Since my son moved away from home, my husband and I have finally found the time to do a little traveling and we love it. In the past few years, we've visited Africa, Mexico, and Italy. Next up: Ireland.
MP: What was the journey to publishing like for you?
KH: I have loved everything about writing, including the haul it took to get published. I can say with certainty that I'm glad my first novel wasn't published. And so is anyone who reads my work. :) It takes a long time to really get your feet wet with writing and to begin to know what you're doing. That's one of the job's great joys--you're always learning something new, always growing, always striving to be better. Specifically, for me, the start of the career came about because of two key facts. One was that I found my writing soul mate, my critique partner, author Megan Chance. We have really been there for each other every step of the way for twenty years. We learned how to write together and we continue to push each other to be better with every book. Secondly, I entered my newbie novel in two prestigious writing contests and won them--that paved the way to getting "the call" from an editor and got me started.
MP: What was the biggest challenge you faced while writing "Night Road"?
KH: In many ways, Night Road was slightly less of a challenge for me than the book I wrote before it, Winter Garden. Night Road came so completely from my own life that I found it a joy to write. That being said, it was about some extremely difficult topics, and in many ways, creating the emotional arc of the book was hard for me. Put simply, in this book I had to face many of my own fears and put them down on paper. But as with all things, once you face that which scares you, you gain strength and perspective. Through the writing of the book, I really looked at my own parenting style--it's easier to do a thing like that when your nest is suddenly empty--and it was a great gift. I really hope that the women who read this book will feel it on a deeply emotional level. I hope it will spark conversations between parents and children, and husbands and wives. The book has a truly important and powerful message. Of course, hopefully it's just a great read, too. :)
MP: How did you celebrate when your first book was published?
KH: Hmmm...that's a great question. The truth is I'm not quite sure. I probably called my girlfriends and my husband and my family and screamed a bit with all of them and then made dinner. :) I'm not a huge event celebrater. I try to celebrate the smaller joys in my life, and never to take anything for granted. I try to remember that as much as I love writing, it's a job, and what matters--good news or bad news--is the journey of it all. That means that if I don't take the great news too seriously, I don't have to take the bad news too seriously, either, and that outlook keeps me on an even keel.
MA: Which of your books do you feel you've put the most of yourself into?
KH: Definitely Firefly Lane and Night Road.
MA: What was your inspiration for "Night Road?"
KH: My inspiration for Night Road was my son's senior year of high school. In the middle of it, I was honestly as stressed out as I've ever been, and I'm not an overly stressed out gal, and my son was a great kid. But that year was a constant battle of wills between us. I was doing everything I could to keep him safe and steady, and he was doing everything he could to test his wings and find his independent self. It made for a crazy, wonderful, stressful, terrifying year. And any parent who has been there (and any kid who has lived through it) knows that once the partying and staying out late and "I'm eighteen, I'm an adult, you can't tell me what to do" starts flying, you are kind of at a loss. I also saw with my son how keenly important that year was to him. He and his friends became so emotional and melodramatic and connected to one another. I loved hearing how much they meant to each other, and how afraid they were that these lifelong friendships would fall apart when they went their separate directions. I wanted to explore all those powerful emotions. I also wanted to look back on all of it, with the perspective of time, and see if there were things I could have done differently.
MA: Are you working on any more novels for the next year or so?
KH: I am just putting the finishing touches on the first draft of the novel for 2012. Of course, it's not really a first draft. By the time I get to the end of a novel, I've written it dozens of times, but I call it a first draft because I haven't sent it to my editor yet. She will definitely want changes. She always does. :)
MA: Who was your favorite author when you were growing up?
KH: Let's see. Flat out favorite? Stephen King. But before him, there's a list that tracks the course of my youth: Frank Baum, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Roald Dahl, JRR Tolkien, Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, and S.E. Hinton.
MA: You do call-ins and visits to book clubs: What was the most challenging question you were ever asked by someone in a book club?
KH: The hardest question for me to answer is always "where do you get your ideas?" I try to come up with something that sounds good, but the truth is that I don't really know. I go in search of them and somehow they find me. I go through a lot of wrong ideas before I find one I'm willing to commit a year of my life to.
MP: You recently took a trip to Italy to celebrate your birthday, what is the most memorable part of the trip?
KH: So much of it was memorable. I flat out fell in love with Italy. But I would have to say that the most memorable city was Florence. Sunrise on the Arno river was an absolutely magical experience.
Special thanks to Kristin for answering our questions with so much detail and to Wiley from AuthorsOnTheWeb for giving away the books.
How to win "Night Road":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page if you can receive messages there.)
1. Please tell us: Who was your favorite author when you were growing up?
2. Please tell us: What is your favorite Kristin Hannah novel? (If you haven't read her novels yet, which one would interest you the most to check out? Visit her website to see titles and descriptions.)
3. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
4. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
5. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
US/Canada only. Giveaway ends Sunday, March 27th at midnight EST