This week’s creative mind is a real treat. Meet Hannah Jayne, a multi-published author of urban fantasy and YA thrillers who’s wickedly funny and maybe also the nicest person you’ve ever met. I had the privilege of meeting her at California Bookstore Day, and she broke the ice and had me laughing in seconds. Join us now as she reveals her secrets about writing, penguins, SWAT teams, strong heroines, and the Disney channel.
AS: So excited to have you on the blog, Hannah! So tell us–what are some of your favorite books to read?
HJ: I am the most weirdly eclectic reader. I love YA mysteries–anything by April Henry or Barry Lyga especially, thrillers, Southern lit like Jill McCorkle, funny memoir stuff from Celia Rivenbark and Jen Lancaster, psychological nonfiction, short stories, hard-boiled detective novels, new author discoveries…have I covered everything? lol!
AS: How did you first fall in love with writing?
HJ: I was in the 2nd grade and was assigned to write a 3-page story. I wrote 12 pages. Stayed in through recess, just kept going. I loved the idea that I could create my own world. Granted, it was a horrible world with penguins or time travelers or orphans or something, but still.
AS: You seem to find (or create) humor wherever you go. So what is one of the funniest things that’s happened to you as you’ve spoken to audiences about writing?
HJ: I was doing a school visit and talking about how I get to do such cool research for my books. I think I was actually talking about the time I got to kick in doors with the SWAT team and I said something like, “but my mother doesn’t know that part” because we were in a location on a case. My cell phone rang immediately and I went to turn it off–then realized it was my mother calling! I actually answered and the crowd said hello to her. It was really funny. And no, they didn’t rat me out!
AS: You are a prolific writer and have a new book coming out! Tell us about it.
HJ: My latest novel hits shelves July 2nd and is called THE DARE. Brynna Chase dared her best friend to jump off a pier one night at an end of the school year party. The girls, Brynna and Erica, jumped together but only Brynna came back to the surface. Erica’s body was never found but 18 months later, Brynna gets a tweet from the account of EricaNShaw with the simple message: Remember me?
AS: You write in multiple genres: urban fantasy, romance, and young adult thrillers. Do you see a common thread that links them together?
HJ: I think ultimately, I like to write about women finding their strength. In my Underworld books, Sophie Lawson starts out quite the sniveling weakling, but book by book she evolves to a pretty bad-ass chick. Each of the teens in my YA are put in some pretty horrible situations, but it’s always their brains that get them out of it.
AS: Love it! You’re now a full-time author, but what are some of the other jobs you’ve held along the way?
HJ: Ha! Good question! I folded towels at a home superstore; I made hand-painted (God-awful) sweatshirts; I worked as a bookkeeper (this after very nearly failing every math class ever); a very bad personal assistant; a cheerleading coach…
AS: Wow. So what’s the best thing about being a published author? The hardest?
HJ: The best thing is all the people I get to meet and connect with. The fans are amazing and meeting other writers is awesome. The hardest part can be the loneliness since writing is such a solitary thing. Also hard is the fact that I write from home where the refrigerator lives. It’s not so much hard on me as it is on my pants.
AS: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
HJ: When am I not writing?! 🙂 I love to hike and basically do anything outdoors. I’m a world-class napper. I love to cook, adventure, travel, spend time with my family and friends. I watch Investigation Discovery like it’s going out of style and pretend I watch the Disney channel for research purposes.
AS: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
HJ: Keep knocking until someone opens the door!
AS: What’s next for you?
HJ: I just sold a new YA thriller called Out of the Woods and I’m working on a middle grade paranormal and an adult thriller that changes by the minute! And I’m totally DVR’ing the new episodes of Wives with Knives on Investigation Discovery.
Thank you so much for stopping by, Hannah! I feel lucky to have one of your books signed in orange Sharpie 🙂