Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Writing Life Revealed by Author Hannah Conway

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!
ME: “Best 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? Hear? Smell?

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.

ME: The 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?
HANNAH: Here’s 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 God-given talent.
            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 acceptance letter.

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 brokenness?

ME: Hannah, Thank you so much for sharing with us today.

HANNAH: Thank you for having me on as a guest! I’ve had a great time!

Your readers can connect with me:

Hannah 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.


  1. Enjoyed Hannah's interview. I have read and loved her other books and will be looking forward to reading this one.


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