Author Interview

I recently did an interview with SmashWords, my e-book distributor, discussing everything from my childhood to what I’m currently working on, to what gets me up in the morning (hint: it has an obnoxious beeping sound!).

See the interview questions below:

Interview with Hannah Stahlhut

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a rural area outside of Indianapolis, Indiana. My parents owned around ten acres of land in farm country, and we had all sorts of animals. Sheep, goats, horses, chickens, the occasional calf. I even owned a snake for a few years.
Living in the country with wide open spaces, crappy dial up internet, and practically nothing to do allowed my imagination to blossom. It’s no coincidence that I often write about characters traveling through nature; I spent a lot of time in nature myself. I rode horses aimlessly between cornfields, participated in tree climbing contests with my rowdy cousins, and looked always to the horizon, imagining the places I would see when I was grown. Yes, the wide open spaces did ignite my imagination, as did my lack of distractions. My daydreams were my best form of entertainment.
In addition, I think my experiences with animals have informed my writing– hopefully by grounding it a little. As I write characters who live in a medieval world, I like to think I can have an informed voice regarding the uses for and limitations of animals. There will be no galloping through the night in my books — it’s a horse, not a Ferrari!
When did you first start writing?
I can vaguely recall pretending to “write” a book when I was very, very young. Young enough that I couldn’t yet write, I just scribbled all over a notebook.
So yeah, I’ve always written.
Those scribbles turned into actual letters, which turned into many short-lived and eventually abandoned writing projects until at last, at age 15, I wrote my first book.
That first book was quite awful, and I hope no one reads it. However, it and each of those failed notebook stories helped make me a better writer. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Describe your desk
My desk is covered in boxes of tools, haphazard screws, pencils, and post-it notes. I haven’t sat at it in years probably. It’s become a staging area for my home improvement projects unfortunately.
Instead, I like to write and do my work while lounging on my couch across from a rather large window overlooking my front yard. The light and open space help me in my creative process.
What do you read for pleasure?
A little of everything. Like many, I had a brief YA Dystopian novel phase brought on by Hunger Games. Then Game of Thrones consumed my life for over a year (serious commitment there!). I enjoy the classics – Wuthering Heights is a favorite. In between heavier novels, I like to read more fluffy books that I can absorb in an afternoon. I appreciate curling up on my couch and inhaling a Selection novel or John Green book as my guilty pleasure.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I don’t have a device set aside just for e-reading. I read ebooks in my internet browser or simply on my droid smartphone. Boring, I know.
My favorite method of reading involves actual pages.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, Resistance: Spirit Seeker Book Two, is a continuation of Wanderling, the first book in the Spirit Seeker series.
However, originally the two novels were actually one and the same. The original draft of Wanderling was 250-ish pages, and was written through only Adala’s perspective. When I added scenes through the eyes of Tobin, Shem, Eleanor, and Burano, I knew it was too long for one novel, so I revised some sections and split the manuscript into two.
I couldn’t be more pleased with the way it turned out. Resistance is my proudest work!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy for me is sharing the story with friends. I have a fabulous and supportive team of beta readers who share my excitement for the story of Adala, Shem, and Tobin. Whenever I am in doubt about the story or the series, I talk to them. Their enthusiasm is infectious.
What are you working on next?
I am currently drafting books three and four of the Spirit Seeker Novels. I am thrilled to be expanding the world of my characters, bringing them to new horizons and exploring the political climate of the empire. We will be meeting some exciting new characters quite soon. Book three will introduce one person from Adala’s past and one person who could have a huge impact on Shem’s future.
Who are your favorite authors?
That is an incredibly unfair question. I enjoy and appreciate many authors who write in a variety of genres. Whichever one I’m reading is my favorite of the moment so long as I am enjoying the book.
However, I will always have the authors who really stick with me. C.S. Lewis’ work has always ignited both my imagination and my reasoning skills. Lemony Snicket has the wit and writing style that I soak up deliciously even as I envy it to my dying breath. And, as a die-hard Game of Thrones/ Song of Ice and Fire fan, I have to mention George R. R. Martin. How I envy his ability to cast dozens and dozens of complex characters and then kill them off, ripping out the reader’s heart with each farewell.
An odd combination of authors. I could list dozens more, but I will spare you the headache.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My alarm clock.
Even that can’t accomplish the task some days.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Working, Netflix binging, going on bike rides through my neighborhood, renovating my house, helping my mother renovate her house, hanging with friends, speculating about the next Game of Thrones season. Seriously, endless hours reading fan theories.
Have I connected every single question back to Game of Thrones?
I am not even ashamed.
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