One of my favorite parts of being an indie author is the amazing community of fellow writers I have gotten to know throughout this journey so far. It is amazing how supportive and encouraging the writing community is and I am so grateful to be a part of it. As a small way of paying it forward, I have decided to start incorporating author interviews into my blog.
I'm excited to kick off this Author Interview series with indie author Hannah Joy Hall. Hannah is a senior at the University of Oklahoma studying professional writing and entrepreneurship. In addition to classwork and involvement in several organizations/activities, she wrote a novel and a novella during her time at OU. When she is not writing, she loves to spend time with her my fiancé and puppy. Hannah is getting married in November and graduating undergrad in December. She cannot wait for this new phase of life and all of the great stories that will come with it.
What do you write?
I write novels and novellas, mostly in the suspense, thriller, and mystery genres.
How many books have you written? What are they called? Where can they be purchased?
I have written three books, and two of them are published. My published books are called Awake and Sleep Tight. Both can be purchased in paperback or ebook on Amazon.com. Awake is also available in select bookstores in Oklahoma.
What genre do you write? What drew you to that genre? Would you ever write in a different genre (if so, what?)
I normally write thrillers and mysteries, but I dabbled in science-fiction for Awake. I’m drawn to these genres because I love suspense. I love to write stories that excite people and keep them on the edges of their seats. Shock value is one of my favorite things to create! I don’t see myself veering from these genres.
Why do you write/what inspires you to write?
You know, I get asked this a lot, and the answer is simple, yet complex. I write because I can’t stand not to write. I love it. I’m extremely passionate about stories and their ability to take people on adventures and into new worlds. I’m inspired by that unique ability, and I will keep pursuing writing because it’s the thing that keeps me going and gives me purpose.
What does your writing routine look like?
Since I’m a student, my routine is a little nuts. I normally work on school all day and write every night. If I’m really into what I’m writing, I can be up all night, or wake up really early the next morning to keep it going. I’m excited to form a new routine in graduate school.
Did you self-publish, go the traditional route, or use a hybrid publisher? Why did you choose the method you did?
For both of my first two books, I self-published. This seemed like the best option for me while still in school and only writing part-time. I have been able to control every aspect of the book from cover art, to the book’s dimensions, to where it is sold, and I enjoy having that kind of control over it. However, I am not opposed to publishing the traditional route and plan to pursue that in the future.
Do you read the same genre you write?
Do you have a favorite author and/or book?
Stephen King is my favorite author, and my favorite book is The Long Walk by King.
Where can readers connect with you?
Readers can connect with me on social media. My Instagram is @__hannahhall__ and my Twitter is @HannahJoyHalll. Readers can also send submissions and comments to me through my website hall0018.wixsite.com/mysite.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Just. Keep. Writing! If you’re passionate about it, then it’s worth it. If it's a story you’re dying to tell, then tell it. Your words are important. Even though writing is difficult at times, and the publishing industry is even more difficult, keep going. Tell your story because your story matters. And you never know how important it can end up being to someone else.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on two projects. I’m going through the editing process on my new novella, and it is really coming along. I’m also writing a new gothic, mystery novel and could not be more excited about its progress.
What have you found to be the most challenging and rewarding aspects of being a writer?
The most challenging aspect of being a writer, for me, is publishing. Writing a book is easy, but keeping up with the business world is hard. Particularly with self-publishing, I have to be the creator, and the seller, and the promoter, and the marketer. But the most rewarding thing is when I do publish, and then I get to see the physical copy of what I’ve created. It’s also rewarding to hear what other people think about the books when they read them. My readers are so awesome and encouraging.
What have you learned, about yourself, the writing/publishing process, etc, over the course of your writing journey so far?
I have learned a ton about myself. I’ve learned that I’m willing to put in an insane amount of hours and give up a lot of sleep and free time for this career. But, I’ve also learned that it’s extremely hard work, and it’s not going to pay off every single time. Some books sell better than others. Some people will love my books, and some people won’t. I’ve learned to thicken my skin and keep writing no matter what. The good definitely outweighs the bad in this career. I’ve learned that the journey is hard and takes everything I’ve got, but I am committed to this career and this process. In the end, it’s all worth it.
How do you beat writer’s block?
In my experience, the best way to beat writer’s block is to let it happen. I don’t force myself to write if it’s just not coming together because if I do, it won’t be any good. I’ll end up rewriting it later, anyway. For me, writer’s block is my brain’s way of telling me it needs a break, so I give it one. Sometimes that’s a day, and sometimes it’s weeks. Either way, when I get back to it after a break the writing comes much smoother.
What is your favorite writing-related quote?
My favorite quote about writing is actually from Robin Williams’s character in Dead Poet’s Society. He says, “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
Review of Awake by Hannah Joy Hall:
Thriller is not my traditional genre, but I enjoyed this one. It was a nice introduction for me into the genre. I loved Hall's creative use of multiple viewpoints and suspense to keep me engaged. Just when I thought I knew what was happening, she would throw in a curve ball I didn't expect. Overall enjoyable read.