What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Hannah L. Clark. I was born in central Utah, and still live in Utah
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be? I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer.
When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
Well, that’s a tough one. I’ve always considered myself a writer, but I didn’t consider myself an author until December of last year when my first novel, Cobbogoth came out.
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
I am a full-time mommy. Writing is what I do on the side.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My latest and only novel right now is called Cobbogoth. It is the first book in a 7 book series. Cobbogoth is about a seventeen year old girl named Norah Lukens who, in her search for her famous uncle’s murderer, discovers an ancient, underground city in Iceland and learns more about her past than she ever dreamed possible.
Who is your publisher? or do you self-publish?
My publisher is a Boutique publishing house called KinStone Publishing. My husband and I own it.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Well, I only have experience with this first book, but this one took me 6 years from start to publication. I REALLY hope the next one doesn’t take me that long.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
Probably the same genre, at least until I finish the Cobbogoth series.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
What genre would you place your books into?
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I’m not really sure, because I don’t generally read fantasy. I think that my imagination just needs the freedom to create its own world with all of its own rules.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? and why are they your favorite?
I really liked my mentor character, Lylend. He’s just one of those characters that you wish was real, and had the same relationship with you as the he has with the main character. I’m always looking for a good mentor in my life.
If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
I would be my main character, Norah. When I write, I see the world through her eyes, and to be able to actually experience her world as her, would be pretty cool.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing since I could write, and before that, I would record my stories on audio cassette tapes. I don’t know that anything ever really inspired me to write initially, it was just always kind of my thing.
Where do you get your book plot ideas from? What/Who is your inspiration? My book ideas come from all over the place, and sometimes they come from very unexpected places. I watch a lot of movies, read a lot, listen to music, study people, use my own life experience, mythology, unexplainable science really inspires me, etc.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I usually write my best stuff at night. I sit at the same desk, but that’s not because I have to in order to write well. I always have three or four bottles of water at my desk with me. I cannot listen to music and write at the same time—too distracting. And, I always have a space heater on under my desk to keep my feet warm. It doesn’t even matter if it’s 100 degrees outside, my feet are always cold, and I can’t write or sleep when my feet are cold.
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them? ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
Yes. I don’t believe my book could be anywhere close to as good as it is without all of the people who gave me feedback. Some of the most valuable feedback I’ve received came from my husband and my sisters—like myself, they are my best critics, but tend to know me and get me well enough to help me create the story I want to create.
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
So far, yes.
What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
I got a three star review from a lady who is, what I call a “literary reader,” meaning, her tastes in books is rather sophisticated. She started out as though she was going to give me a bad review, but then it turned out to be one of the best I’ve ever gotten. She was honest and said exactly what she thought, and in surprising ways, my book exceeded her expectations. My intended audience isn’t “literary readers,” so I was pretty happy with that one.
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
No way! What’s the point of having them read it if you don’t want their honest opinion. Sometimes feedback is excruciating, but you can’t become a better writer/storyteller if you don’t take the good with the bad. I actually get bugged if I feel like the reviewer has been too nice. I want honesty, dang it! Otherwise I can’t really enjoy a great review when I get one.
Now . . . should I tell you how I really feel?
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?
The title of my book came from a short story I wrote in high school. I always liked the title, and so when I finally decided to try my hand at my novel, I already knew what my title would be. It was a bit long though, and so my husband suggested I shorten it and change the spelling. He was right. As for my cover, my sister, Bekah Shakespear of Pink Lime Studio of Design and I have always wanted to work together, and amazingly enough, she decided to major in graphic design before she even knew I was writing a book. As soon as my husband and I decided to start our company, we knew we wanted her to do the cover, and we haven’t regretted it for a second. She also did the interior layout and design of the book, as well as the incredible illustrations.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
With this series, I know all of the titles for each book, but I can’t remember if they came before or after I’d outlined them.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books? With the Cobbogoth series, I’ve tried to stay with words and names that sound like they belong in the same language.
Are character names and place names decided after they’re creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
I think I do this differently with each situation. Sometimes a place/name comes to me first, and sometimes, I end up going with something just to have a name and then I change it when I have a better idea of what/who I’m working with.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
No. Sometimes characters just write themselves as I go. Other times, like with Norah, I have to really, really work with them until they finally just click. With Norah, I had to get the way she looked right in my head, before she started sounding like a real person.
Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I started out by “letting the writing flow,” but found after about five different versions of Cobbogoth that it was way too confusing, and way more work than I had to put in. Once I tried outlining before I started in on the actual writing, then everything started to flow. This doesn’t work for everyone, I know, but I actually find I can create and write much better when I already know where I’m going with my plot.
How do you market/promote your books?
Well, right now, I’m doing it mostly online with social networks and blog tours. I’ve also been to a few schools/book groups to speak, and will be doing that a lot more come September.
What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller?
A few things: characters have to be compelling; world building has to be rich, unique, and believable; plot has to be engaging and surprising; there must be a killer love story; and then there’s the writing. The writing doesn’t have to be incredible, as we’ve seen in the past, but it must be good enough to not drive the reader crazy.
Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
No. I don’t believe in it. I think you can work your way through any lack of motivation by simply sitting down and diving in.
What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
I am a singer and a runner. I do both of those things to distress. I also love movies and books, though both of those have become more like research for me since I started writing. More than anything, I just love hanging out with my husband and son.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
No. Never on purpose, anyway. On the other hand, I think it’s impossible not to put your own experiences into your writing in one way or another. My book is a fantasy, but if I take a step back, I can see a reflection of myself in it all.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Not necessarily. There is a distinct line between good and evil and I suppose there is the moral of facing your fears and the importance of belonging and family, but those are themes, not morals.
Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
There are hundreds.
Which format of book do you prefer, e-book, hardback, or paperback?
I love the feel of a solid book in my hand and the look of it on a shelf, but I also love my iPad. I tend to finish books much faster when I read the e-book rather than the hard copy. I have no idea why that is, aside from the page # being hidden from view.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once? My favorite book?
Well, I think my all-time favorite would have to be Jane Eyre. I don’t know if I’ve been that affected by any other novel. But since I’m a young adult writer, I’ll also tell you my favorite YA book, and that is Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitte. So lovely.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
I think if the director and the author are on the same page, then yes. My favorite adaption to date is The Hunger Games. My least favorite would have to be Stardust, only it’s flip-flopped; I loved the movie WAY more than the book.
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it? (ebook, hardback or paperback)
I just finished Spirited by Nancy Holder. It’s Beauty and the Beast meets Last of the Mohicans. (I know, I would’ve never thought to put those two together either.) But I liked it. I love Native American customs and mythology—my great-grandfather was Native American—so that part was pretty cool, but I did feel like the romance aspect of the book was lacking. It was a paperback.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
I hope not, but they sure do make it easier to take your library with you, which I am often prone to do.
Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
I don’t really know. I’m an English major, so I’ve been reading to my son since he could hold up his head. I think his love of books and reading came from me. As far as the writing, no! I never had enough opportunities to do imaginative writing in school. But then, I really liked to write, so of course I couldn’t get enough of it.
Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
This is a tricky question. I’m actually dyslexic, so when I was going to school, I didn’t really start reading for enjoyment until I was in about 6th grade, and even to this day, picking up a book gives me a bit of anxiety. As far as writing, I’ve always done it, even when I couldn’t spell very well. My imagination was just always overflowing with stories I needed to write down, whether anyone besides myself would be able to read them or not.
Did you have a favorite author as a child?
Yep. Louisa May Alcott. I have seven sisters, so I really got Little Women.
Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it? I have two. My dad and mom gave me a nice copy of both Little Women and Jane Eyre when I graduated from high school. You couldn’t pay me enough to get rid of them.
Do you have a favorite genre of book?
Funny enough, I love the British Lit from the late 1700s and Victorian period (Jane Austen, the Brontes, Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell) and American Renaissance (Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, etc.) Those literary periods had some major social and philosophical shifts happening, and I’ve always felt like that made for great art and literature.
Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
I don’t know if I’ll never try and read it again, but I picked up Great Expectations when I was a senior in high school and got three quarters of the way through it, but I just couldn’t finish it. Despite how much I love Dickens, I haven’t felt the desire to pick it up since. As far as a book I know I’ll never read, Wuthering Heights and Tess of the d'Urbervilles—way too depressing premises for me.
Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
There are a few typos and some rough transitions I would like to fix, but other than that, I’m done with it.
What do you think about book trailers?
I love them. You can view mine on my website @ www.hannahlclark.com.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer? Never, ever, ever, EVER give up. The only person who can stand between you and success is you.
If you could invite three favorite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
J.K. Rowling, Madeline L’Engle, and Jane Austen. I think I’d like to ask each of them if they knew they were revolutionizing the literary world for women when they were writing.
Where can readers follow you?
Your blog details? www.hannieclark.blogspot.com
Your web site? www.hannahlclark.com
Your facebook page? http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Cobbogoth/201603626565950
Your Goodreads author page? http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5139659.Hannah_L_Clark
Your Twitter details? https://twitter.com/#!/hannieclark