Wahoo! I am so super duper excited to have Hannah Linder joining us for a very special interview today! You may remember this amazing historical author from my review post last month, and if you do, then you know I absolutely adore her writing and cannot wait to read more and more of her novels!
So, without further ado, let's jump in!
Hannah Linder is a twenty-two-year-old, Regency-era author residing in the beautiful mountains of central West Virginia. At the tender age of twelve, she unknowingly found her passion as she sat down to type the first words of her debut novel, Love Unknown. Under the pen name Willowy Whisper, Hannah writes in several different genres: historical, contemporary, western, and medieval. Recently discovering her passion for all things Regency, Hannah has decided to pursue her writing career in an era of elegance and grace. All Regency-era novels will be penned under her real name, Hannah Linder. When not writing, she enjoys playing her instruments, songwriting, painting scenery, laughing with little kids, and collecting vintage hats. Her greatest desire is to please her Savior, and to write in a way that glorifies and uplifts Him.
GJ: What first inspired you to write?
HL: When I was twelve, we received a Christmas letter which read that my second cousin was writing a novel. I told my mom, “I think I’ll do that.” So I did—little realizing that I had stumbled upon my life passion.
GJ: What are some of the driving forces behind you and your writing now?
HL: I love writing because I love stories. I love the unreal. I love emotions, the hidden passions, the moments and things and people that make a heart thump faster. That’s why I write. That’s what drives me.
GJ: Can you name any authors who have inspired your voices in different ways? How can you see their influence in your writing?
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow—because even born centuries apart, I sense he might have been a kindred spirit. He inspires me.
Michelle Griep—because her historical accuracy makes me want to go deeper, more realistic, with my writing.
Michael Phillips—because his heart-wrenching stories have a way of lingering on after the book is finished. Such fictional power makes me strive for that in my own writing.
GJ: What are some of your most favorite books/genres—to read and to write?
HL: Historical fiction and romantic suspense are my top-favorite genres to read and write.
GJ: What do you do when you aren’t writing?
HL: I enjoy photography, painting, playing instruments, reading, walking in the rain, and collecting historical clothing and hats!
GJ: Looking back, what has changed for you as a writer—be it how you write or what you write about?
HL: A little of both, I think. I can certainly see a difference in my writing style, as well as the genre I tend to write in. Where I used to write mostly westerns, I now write in the Regency Era.
GJ: Out of all of your books, which one is your favorite? Why? (Bonus question: who is your most favorite character?)
HL: When Tomorrow Came, the novel I am almost finished writing, is probably my favorite. I love the stories, the characters, and the unique challenges they’re each facing. And my favorite character?
No, I don’t think I could possibly answer that. Too much like asking a parent to choose a favorite child.
GJ: What does your writing process look like? Do you pants? plot? How long does it usually take you to write a novel?
HL: I normally mull over a general plot idea, brainstorm a little, then write down a brief outline. That’s about the extent of my plotting. Also, for a full-length novel, it usually takes me around nine months to finish.
GJ: What made you choose self-publishing for your books?
HL: Because I finished my first novel at twelve, I didn’t know a lot about the industry. I self-published every novel after that, but still dreamed of becoming traditionally published eventually. Only recently, in the last year, have I strived hard at that goal. I’ve got several novels on hold now, which I’m hoping will land a contract soon.
GJ: What are your thoughts for other aspiring writers on writing and publishing?
HL: Just keep at it! Don’t get discouraged, read endlessly, and no matter what, always write more.
GJ: Who is your most favorite character in your stories, and what endears them to you? (I totally didn't realize I had already asked this question until after Hannah sent me her answers!)
HL: Hmm, hard one! I don’t really have a favorite, but I’ll go with Heath Duncan, one of the main characters from When Tomorrow Came. He’s handsome, gentle, and shyly quiet—and despite the terrors of his childhood, he rises above them and does right anyway.
GJ: Garden of the Midnights is your upcoming release—can you tell me a little bit about it?
HL: Although I haven’t landed a contract yet, here’s a quick overview:
The accidents are not a matter of chance. They are deliberate. As English gentleman William Kensley becomes aware of the danger at Rosenleigh Manor, he pleads for truth from the only man he can trust—until that man is murdered.
As the secrets unfold into scandal, William’s world is tipped into destitution—
leaving him penniless and alone. His only comfort is in the constant love of
Isabella Gresham, but even that has been threatened. When a hidden foe arises
from their acquaintances and imperils Isabella’s life, will William be the only one
willing to rescue her? And even if he saves Isabella from her captors, will he still
have to forsake her heart?
GJ: Which part of GOTM was the easiest to write, and what was the hardest? Where did you stumble and second-guess yourself in the writing of this novel?
HL: The end, it seems, is always the easiest to write! I get so wrapped up in the climax of the story. So much fun!
My main stumbling points came after the first draft, as I had a lot of editing and word-cutting to do.
GJ: What do you want your readers to take away from this story?
HL: No matter what happens and no matter who hurts you, you must always learn to forgive—even if you have to do it over and over again.
GJ: Have you ever experienced any discouragement as an author? If so, what inspired you to persevere?
HL: Yes! Negative reviews and constructive criticism have definitely made me discouraged at different points along the journey. Quitting, though, was never an option. I couldn’t stop writing if I wanted to.
GJ: What are your greatest aspirations for your future, be it as a person or as a writer?
HL: More than anything, I should love to marry the one God made for me, raise sweet and godly children, watch my books hit the bookshelves, serve Jesus Christ, and live happily.
GJ: What has being a writer taught you?
HL: Being a writer has taught me to not just exist in this world, but to study people, to understand emotion, to comprehend the difference in reality and dreams. I think deeper because I am a writer.
I absolutely love Hannah's answers! You can tell just by them that she's a fantastic writer! Anyway, I am so honored to share this interview with y'all, and I cannot wait to see more of Hannah in the future! Y'all can find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads, Pinterest, and her blog!