Do you want to be a writer? Join me as I write. I share the good, bad, and ugly of putting the story together, getting it published, and learning how to promote it. I share my thoughts and feelings, my good ideas and bad ones, what works and what doesn't.
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ME: Hannah! It’s
wonderful to have this time with you. I want to pick your brain a bit today, so
let’s get started. My readers are always interested in what it takes to start
that writing career. Where did you start
and how did you get published?
Hanging Out With Hannah Conway
HANNAH: Great question. I started by signing up for
my favorite author’s newsletters and answering calls to review advanced reader
copies. Finally, I worked up enough nerve to email one author and get her
advice on entering the writing world. She told me to join ACFW (American
Christian Fiction Writers) and get involved in their online critique groups.
BEST decision ever!
Once I joined, I was
advised to go to writing conferences, meet with agents, editors, other writers
and take their writing/publishing advice. So I did that as well, and two years
after joining ACFW, and going to conferences, signed my first contract with
Olivia Kimbrell Press!It’s been a great
journey…fast, insane, but always great!
decision ever”…I love it. Actually, readers, Hannah and I first met at the 2015
ACFW Conference in Dallas! Okay, next question: How do you stay focused and keep disciplined in writing?
HANNAH: That’s a work in progress, but it really is
about making the time, and sitting down to write. I honestly pray about staying
focused and disciplined as well. I sit down with my calendar and ask God to
show me where the time is, and then ask Him for the discipline to stick with
that schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I fall off that wagon A LOT, but God keeps
helping me back up.
ME: I understand.
I live that life. One of the problem areas for new writers is writing
believable dialogue. How did you learn
to write good dialogue?
HANNAH:Good dialogue?Sure.By reading, reading
books on dialogue, and watching movies that I love with the sole purpose of
listening to them banter back and forth. I seriously highlight and underline
words, dialogue, sentences etc in what I’m reading when I think it’s something
I can learn from. I’ve even been known to watch a movie while jotting down
notes…yeah, I’m kinda geeky like that.
ME: You refer to
yourself as geeky but I think you are one smart cookie! Okay, how do you approach describing a setting to your readers? I mean,
do you use visual images or what?
HANNAH: Appeal to the senses. Close your eyes.
Picture the scene in your mind like a movie. What can you see? Feel? Touch?
When you’re setting up
a scene you can then drop pieces of those senses within your story to bring the
setting to life.
For example, if I’m
describing my 7th grade world history classroom (which I’m totally
looking at right now), I don’t need to tell you it’s a 7th world
history classroom. I can describe the desks, maybe the spinning globe, the
scent of Germex and Febreeze mixed with the faint wisps of BO! Ha. J
Get my point?
ME: (laughing) I
have grandsons in that age group! Tell
us, what was your biggest challenge after having your first book published?
HANNAH:Getting the next one ready! Whew! It’s an
interesting juggle act.
Wounded Warrior’s Wife is such a wonderful book, what is one take-away from
your book you hope readers will identify with?
HANNAH: An overwhelming sense of redemption. I pray
that readers will ALWAYS walk away knowing God can redeem any situation. We
only need to let Him.
ME: Yes! I
love that…”we only need to LET Him.” What advice would you give to aspiring
authors for writing and/or publishing?
the “must do” list:
1: Join ACFW! And then get plugged
in to a critique group.
2: Go to as many writing conferences as possible! Invest in your
3: Read about the craft of writing.
4: Read all sorts of books in your
genre and out of your genre.
5: Be coachable. Criticism is often a friend. It takes MANY hands on our work
for it to become polished and ready for the world—trust those many hands.
6: Persistence. Remember, rejection letters just get you closer to an
ME: Great list. Now one more fun question then please tell us about your
current project: What do you do as a hobby?
HANNAH: Would sipping coffee be a hobby?
Eating chocolate? Actually, I get swallowed up by books, documentaries, and
historical sites. I’m counting all those things as hobbies!
My current project is set to launch late
June, early July! Right now we’re calling it Meant to be Broken, but the
name is subject to change. Meant to be Broken follows a young woman,
Leanna Wilson, from Eastern, KY who thought she knew where her life was
headed—and that was FAR from the hills. Her plans are thrown off course with the
death of her parents, and now Leanna must leave her path, assume custody of her
sister, and give up the freedoms she once sought to be chained to the community
and the broken relationships of her past. How much of her freedom is she
willing to give up, and when her past comes calling, will it end in more
Conway is a military wife, mother of two, middle school teacher, best-selling
author, and speaker. Her novels are a deployment experience of their own,
threaded with faith, and filled with twists and turns sure to thrill, and
encourage. Hannah is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and My
book Therapy. She and her family live in Tennessee.