Welcome to the three hundred and twenty-fourth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with historical and children’s author Connie Hannah. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Connie. Please tell us something about yourself, where you are based, and how you came to be a writer.
Connie: Why is it that I always have something to say until someone asks me to tell them about myself? Well, let’s see. I am a married mom of ten-year-old twins. I was born and raised in the South and many refer to me as a true Steel Magnolia. My family and I live in a small suburb of Atlanta, Georgia and enjoy many things that a small town has to offer.
As far as writing goes, I cannot give you a definite answer on that one. I have lived a very complicated, adventurous, and wide-open life and am still going strong. Throughout the years, there has always been a nagging in my soul telling me to share my story with others. So, about a year ago, I decided to write The Suitcase of Secrets.
Morgen: Creative writing snuck up on me too, one session of a college evening class and I was hooked. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Connie: It appears that The Suitcase of Secrets is listed as fiction and historical fiction since it is based on a true story. I also have just finished writing Peter and The Purple Pill, which is a children’s book and the illustrations are being completed as we speak.
Morgen: What is your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing? Has anything surprise you?
Connie: My favorite aspect of writing is that, for me, it has been a very healing experience. I was very hesitant about sharing such a painful, raw, and honest parts of my past. However, since putting it all out there in print, the responses and reviews have been awesome. The least favorite aspect of my writing is the editing process. It seemed like it was never going to be done and I am a very impatient person.
The biggest surprise for me in regards to my book is that I am the one who actually wrote the words on the pages. Sometimes I will pick up the book and just turn to a random page. As I read, I am amazed that these words came from me!
Morgen: Isn’t that great. I quite often go back to old writing (even just a month or two) and am pleased with what I see (or not so pleased at others ). Is there a word, phrase or quote that you like?
Connie: I love the old Southern saying “Why do Southern Women wear white gloves? It is to hide their brass knuckles.” All I can say is so true and is this field you must be tough.
Morgen: You do, but you just have to remember that it’s one person’s opinion. I had a reviewer on Goodreads saying that one of my stories had to her off my writing for life, which is a shame from my point of view but I have others loving it and wanting more so definitely the rough with the smooth. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Connie: I know this has been said time and time again, but do not give up on your dream. If I gave in every time that someone told me that writing and marketing a book on my own was just a “pie in the sky” dream, the special words that I have penned would have never made it to a page. Well, guess what, I am now eating the pie and it is good!!
Morgen: Isn’t it. I’m only two weeks in on my new-found freedom but I’m looking forward to being able to crack on with the novels (still wading through outstanding emails at the moment!). Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re are vital to an author’s success?
Connie: I do not have an agent. I self-published The Suitcase of Secrets and I am working very hard to market it and get it out there. As far as an agent goes, I think there are pros and cons to just about anything. The major pro to having an agent is that they are marketing professional and can handle many of the day-to-day decisions that allows the author to spend their time writing. The major con to having an agent is that they handle most of the day-to-day decisions and the writer is possibly not in the loop. Either way, I am just thrilled that the book is finally published!
Morgen: Out of the two, although I love being self-published, it would be great to have someone on board so I could spend more time writing – that’s what we are after all. How much of the marketing do you do for your published work or for yourself as a “brand?”
Connie: Well, Morgen, I am a one-woman show. I currently do all my marketing since I am self-published. I am linked to Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, and have my own blog page: www.thesuitcaseofsecrets.blogspot.com. I had a book signing in the town in which I live and appeared as a guest on “Delicious Imperfections of Life” on March 13th of this year. The book is also on Amazon and Lulu.com. I think that I am off to a very good start.
Morgen: Anything live has got to be good… well done. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Connie: I think a little of both. The ideas just come to me and then I sit down and start to write. Once I get my bearings straight, I will put together an outline so that I do not forget the premise of the book.
Morgen: What do you do when you are not writing?
Connie: I juggle lots of stuff and love it. I take care of a home and kids, play tennis, and I am an amateur groupie for the band “Rascal Flatts.” I also, love the beach and have a small condo in Florida which I hope to use as my “writing cave.”
Morgen: How lovely. I’m a sea-lover and ended up in the middle the country… literally (3 hours from the coast). Thank you, Connie.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.
If you go for the interview, it’s very simple; I send you a questionnaire (I have them for novelists, short story authors, children’s authors, non-fiction authors, and poets). You complete the questions, and I let you know when it’s going to go live. Before it does so, I add in comments as if we’re chatting, and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
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