Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Getting to know ... Hannah M. Davis

What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?
My debut novel, Voices of Angels, is young adult with a strong cross-over market for adults. It’s aimed toward 13+ girls but I know women of all ages (including 80!) who have loved it. The themes of love, transformation and death are pretty universal.

What made you choose that genre?
I originally wrote the book without a clear genre in mind but the biggest marketing advice I was given as an author – and which I advise others on – is to be clear on your market. So I rewrote it as YA. Once you know specifically who you are writing to, and in my case these were slightly insecure, bookwormy, teenage girls, then you can really hone the message of your book so it meets their model of the world.

How long does it take you to write a book?
Too long. I have a tendency to get distracted. I was mid-way through my second novel when my boyfriend decided to propose, so I’ve spent the past 6 months focussing on our wedding rather than the book.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I normally try to write first thing because if I don’t, I never seem to get round to it. So I’ll wake up, do some journal writing, some energy exercises and then get straight in. I try to write most days otherwise I lose my flow. I set the goal of writing a chapter a day. My intention is always to produce a first draft quite quickly and then go back and revise it.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?
The million dollar question! For me, ideas normally stem from dreams or meditations and then I develop them in my planning stage. I never just jump into a book – I spend a couple of months journaling about it first so I get a strong connection with the world I am creating. This process also allows my unconscious mind to come up with even more ideas – it’s true that writing begets writing.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Around 7 and I got as far as 3 chapters before stuffing them into the back of my wardrobe. I didn’t try again until I was in my early 30s.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
At the moment – hanging out with my brand new husband. At the time of writing this we’re just about to jet off on a magical honeymoon to Bali and then Australia.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Good question. I always ask this to the writing students I mentor. For me, it was the realisation that writing a book is so much more than just writing a book. It’s a massive life achievement and a bit like running the marathon (which I have also done!). It pushes you through your comfort zones which I always think is a good thing in life. I don’t like to live life too safely.

How many books have you written?
One so far with lots more in the pipeline including a whole series of books on how to write.

Which is your favourite and why?
I love the novel I am currently writing as it’s so different from my debut novel – I’m allowing myself to break some writing rules I daren’t break in my first book. But I guess my debut novel will always hold true in my heart – there’s nothing like having a dream and then seeing it come true. Holding the book in my hands for the very first time was an amazing feeling. Plus the feedback and reviews (over 30 5-Star on Amazon) have been beautiful.

It’s not just that someone has said they like your book, but the fact that someone has got something meaningful from your book. I wrote the book not just to entertain but to help others too. Voices of Angels is a real coming of age story and has this powerful message of self-belief. So when I get emails from teen girls telling me that the message really spoke to their heart – this is the best bit abo

ut being a writer and makes up for all the blood, sweat and tears that went into the book. I always try to write from my heart and I think this shows.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Initially because of my love for animals I wanted to be a vet. This was when I was about 6. Pretty soon, I realised I was rubbish at science and couldn’t stand the thought of having to put animals down. So I pursued my other love – reading and writing. I’ve always been a bookworm and had a vivid imagination so loved the storytelling classes at school. It basically just progressed from there and the best bit is there’s still so much to come!

What are you working on now?
I’m currently writing another YA paranormal novel. This one introduces a brand new protagonist and is a lot darker and sexier than Voices of Angels.  And in light of my recent marriage, it’s also about how to find true love.

Hannah M. Davis is the award winning author of Voices of Angels published by Soul Rocks Books in July 2012, and after ten years of living in the South of Spain, now lives in the UK with her husband, Chris and their Spanish cat. She loves mentoring other aspiring writers and is currently writing her second book.

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