Recently, a writer friend of mine, Miss Hannah Stewart, released her debut novel, Bold. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to read it! And I’m extremely honored to be a part of the release party! So, here we go! Interviews, and giveaways, and books, oh my!
First, my interview with the authoress:
How long have you been writing? I’m not really sure. It’s hard to remember a time when I didn’t write. But I’ve only been “serious” about writing for about five years now. It’s always been a passion of mine, but I never planned on doing anything with it – not until the good Lord slammed a couple doors in my face and pushed my sore nose through a few (more than a few) open windows.
What was the biggest obstacle to getting published for the first time, and how did you overcome it? For me, it was the nerves. My writing has always been highly personal and emotional, and just the thought of sharing it with my parents and very few of my closest friends was panic inducing. I can’t really say I’ve “overcome” it quite yet – I’ve just deepened in my faith and trust the God has a plan for me, whether it aligns with my own plan or not. The support group around me, friends, family, teachers, pastors – they’re the reason I’ve come this far, and they continue to hold me up every day.
What is Bold about? Target age range? Bold is about a lot of things. It’s about a dystopian future. It’s about a rebellion. It’s about a brother and a sister holding desperately to one another in a world that constantly tries to drive them apart. It’s about finding love in unlikely places. It’s about standing for what’s right, even when everyone else mocks you for it, or else goes with the flow. But mostly, it’s about hope – the kind of hope that you can be bold for, because it will never put you to shame.
As for target age range, there isn’t one per say, as age doesn’t always equal maturity. It’s definitely not for younger audiences, and I suppose high school and up would be the most appropriate range to put on it, but really Bold is for anyone looking for hope in darkness, like I was when I wrote it. Due to the warlike setting, I wouldn’t recommend it for children or people that can’t handle the Hunger Games series – it’s a bit more graphic in detail then that trilogy was.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? I definitely started as a pantser. When I started Bold, it was actually just supposed to be a single scene, a short story… but Jesse had other ideas. For the entire first draft, I had no idea what was going on. However, my style changes a little for each of my works. Some I plot incessantly, others I don’t plot at all – it’s up to the characters, really. But no matter what I do, I end up spending hours upon hours fleshing my characters out. The characters are what make my stories come alive, whether I know what the story will be or not.
What is your goal in writing and publishing this book? I guess there are two. The first is to follow what I’ve felt has been God’s call for me in pushing through my fears and getting it out there. The second is what I suppose every author wants. I want to inspire my readers, and with Bold, I want to inspire them to hope. If even one reader is able to read Bold and come out of it with a more hopeful bearing on their own life, I’ll be happy.
Is there anything that you learned during the process of writing and publishing? Oh yes. So very, very much, about myself, my God, my characters, and life in general. More superficially, I learned how to run on nothing but caffeine and prayer, how to open myself up to others, and I gained an all new respect for writers in all fields.
Are you planning any other books? Definitely. Bold is the first of four books in the Breaking Shadows series, the second of which is about 1/2 finished at the moment. Outside of Breaking Shadows, I have a stand alone fantasy titled Outspoken in the works, which is the longest thing I’ve written to date at over 120,000 words and growing. I have nearly completed my new novella Summer Heat, and next year I will be starting a coauthored two book series tentatively titled The Tarnished Chronicles with my dear friend, Caitlin Fishman. Those are the main works I’m looking at right now, but I’m sure there will be more that crop up along the way… the ideas just. don’t. stop.
What do you do when you’re not writing? Quite a bit. I’m a full time college student, so there’s always something I should be reading or writing or analyzing to within an inch of its life. I also work part time for my parents at our ice cream and BBQ shop, baking, cooking, serving customers, etc. In my downtime, I do a lot of pleasure reading, I’ve recently taken up acting on campus, and I have an exracehorse that I’m retraining who can be quite jealous of my time as well.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled? This might be the hardest question I’ve been asked since this tour started. There have definitely been some crazy ones, but the first ones that come to mind are “How long would it take for a small wooden structure to collapse while burning in a snow storm” and “obscure forms of medieval torture.” However, I’m sure their were far weirder ones that I can’t remember from the 3 week period I was researching what life would have been like in the middle ages for someone that had lost their tongue as punishment. (I actually ended up getting in contact with a professor and interviewing them on the topic to get what I needed.)
Do you have any advice for other writers? Read. Then write. Then read some more. Always read, always write. And don’t let anyone stop you – especially yourself.
Where can readers stalk you? Readers can stalk me at the Breaking Shadows blog (http://breakingshadowsproject.wordpress.com/), my personal writing blog (http://crosscountrygal.wordpress.com/), on my Facebook page (http://facebook.com/dragonkissedfiend/), and on Twitter as @crosscountrygal.
Holy Apple Crisps! Giveaway
Prizes: Two winners will receive a copy of Breaking Shadows: Bold for 70% off.
To Enter: All you have to do is post about the Bold release on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #HolyAppleCrisps. There is no limit to the number of entries per person, so share away! All entries must be in by midnight, December 29th to be counted.
Winners: The winners will be drawn at random on December 30th and announced here on The Breaking Shadows Project.
You And Your BOLD Self Contest
Prize: One winner will receive a signed copy of Breaking Shadows: Bold free of charge.
To Enter: Read this popular scene from Chapter 2 of Breaking Shadows: Bold, and create your own artistic interpretation. Drawings, videos, audio recordings, written responses – whatever your form of art is, let’s see it! Entries must be sent to email@example.com by midnight, December 29th to be counted. Once again, there is no limit to the number of entries per person, so get creative!
Winners: My top ten entries will be posted here on The Breaking Shadows Project on the final day of the release party tour, December 30th, for voting. The entry with the most votes the following week, January 6th, will be announced winner.