Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Interrogating Jennifer Hanning

And back to "normal" indies with Jennifer Hanning (I'm sure she'd love the success of John Locke, as would anyone of my interogatees)

How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?

I write what I want to write otherwise my work wouldn't have as much depth and passion. However, I'm fortunate enough to be able to think and imagine in various genres. So when I saw that sales for my mystery/suspense novel, "What Happened to Polly", far exceeded my historical/supernatural book, I decided to go with the more popular genre for my next project. 

What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.

My supernatural book, "Moongolly", was born of an incessant curiosity of the unknown to which I applied my own theories, reasonings, and answers.  Losing myself in an historical saga is one of my favourite ways of relaxing and I hope I bring as my value to my readers in that genre.  I also love writing mysteries; it's so much fun to intrigue readers while building suspense.  Bringing a diverse range of characters to life is very important to me in any genre. 

Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them?

Writing my first book, I'd be cruising along and then come to a screeching halt while I tried to decide the name of a new character. So I began to mix and match names from the obituary columns for my characters! These days, I jot down random names from rolling credits and keep a list of names near my computer. I also carry a little dictaphone in my wallet for when ideas pop into my head, usually when I'm driving. 

How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with ?

People say one's first book tends to be a bit autobiographical even if it's not intended to be. For me, this happened more with my second book, “What Happened to Polly”.  Once my partner saw that I was in it, I deliberately implemented his nature and talents into the main male character.  It worked well, however, in future I plan on my characters being purely fictional – with bits and pieces of people I have loved and loathed over the years, of course  :-) 

Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?

Thankfully, my partner is even more of a workaholic than I am. And, wonderful person that he is, he takes time out from his own projects whenever I need him to read a draft or to talk me through a block or something I've written but I'm not happy with.  He is very inspiring and motivating and will probably always feature in the Acknowledgments of all my books.

What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?

Very short lengths – if only I were better at blowing my own trumpet!  When Moongolly came out in paperback, many of my friends and associates bought it probably to be supportive since it took some of them over a year to finally pick it up and read it.  And the comments I got then -- "awesome", "so different from what I would have expected", "best book I've read in ages" ... and many other heart-warming responses.  There are still others who own it but haven't read it yet and I can't bring myself to convince them that they'll enjoy it.

How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?

Relieved, pleased and grateful. I want my books to be as perfectly presented as possible so I have three people proofread the final draft – and that's after I've convinced myself that all errors have been corrected.  Sometimes, we see what we expect to see rather than what's really there.

What do you like most about visiting KUF?

The interaction with friendly and helpful people. I like that we are permitted to promote our books but in a moderated way so people don't have to trawl through a million and a half promos before they find something or someone interesting. Not that the blurbs on books aren't interesting, but in some forums that's all there seems to be these days. The sub-forums in KUF are well presented so readers and writers can easily find what interests them. 

What is on your near horizon?

Sometimes I despair that I will never find the time to write another book. I am also a yoga and meditation teacher and can't say no when people request more classes and/or courses. Soon, I will cut back and begin to transfer my next mystery suspense from my head to the page.

Where can we find you for more information?

1 comment:

  1. Ah, I wondered who the face behind Moongolly was! Great interview, as always.