Meet Hannah Linder (Reviews, book news, designs, and more!)
Updated: May 15
Y'all, y'all, y'all, y'all, Y'ALL! (That's a lot of y'alls!) So, you know how I recently discovered Kellyn Roth (and totally freaked out about her)? Well, something similar happened about a month or so ago with a certain young author named Hannah Linder.
It all started when Willowy Whisper (Hannah's pen name) invited me to take a poll on Goodreads. Well, her super cool pseudonym piqued my curiosity, so I clicked on her name and was transported to her profile--where I found out she's an author.
Well, not only is she an author--she's a young, Christian, homeschool grad, indie, historical romance author! Like, my favorite kind of person!
Anyway, I began to stalk her (as I have done all my favorite people). I went to her website, then to her designing site, then to her photography site. Then I circled back and downloaded her free short stories. And then, just a couple days ago, I read her Civil War novelette through KU.
And now I'm sharing with you the amazing, fantabulous, extremely talented Hannah Linder (aka Willowy Whisper)!
So, let me give you the dope on this post (#gangstaslang). First, I'mma introduce Hannah (by way of her author bio); then I'm going to direct you to more of her awesomeness; then I'm going to share my reviews of her short stories; then I'm going to give some commentary on the gorgeous covers she designed; then I'm going to make not one, not two, not three, but FOUR announcements!
(Note: The image below and the content I'm about to share with you come directly from Hannah's site.)
Hannah Linder is a twenty-one-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.
Hannah is represented by agent Sarah Freese with WordServe Literary, and has written thirteen Christian fiction books, ten of which are self-published. She is also an American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) member and a Jane Austen member. To connect other Christian writers, Hannah created and moderates a Goodreads book review group, which has now reached a membership of 1,600+.
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.
Hannah is a magna cum laude college graduate, with a Graphic Design Associates Degree. Her passion for graphic design was unearthed when she first began designing her own book covers. Now, Hannah owns a cover design business (hannahlinderdesigns.com), and designs covers for several traditional publishing houses, as well as for individual authors. She also owns a local photography business.
When Hannah is not writing, she enjoys playing her instruments—piano, guitar, and the ukulele—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.
Without further ado, the first story: He Wore Brass Buttons. (Note: I wrote these reviews in a different order than you see, so you're technically reading them backwards.)
He Wore Brass Buttons was shocking. It’s by far the darkest short story Willowy Whisper has written, although they all contain a measure of darkness within their few pages.
Y’all know I love the Civil War. Not the actual war, mind you, just books set during it. However, I’m always hard-pressed to find one that keeps my attention and it quite honestly worth it.
Only seven chapters long, He Wore Brass Buttons didn’t require a lot of time or attention, but, boy, was it worth it! Linney’s struggle is so real and so heartrending, and the author’s portrayal of her grief and hate was so authentic. Writing children is hard. Writing from the perspective of children is difficult. Writing from the perspective of a grieving, hateful, broken child is not for the faint of heart.
Neither is this story.
How can seven chapters impact one so much? How? Someone explain this to me! Willowy Whisper is a master. Particularly at short stories. I merely sit and read in awe of her talent—not to mention her professionalism. I’m jelly.
Needless to say, you need to read this story. And whilst you do so, I’ll be reading one of Willowy Whisper’s novels.
She Loved the Man She Hated
There’d always been so many things between them. His drinking, the gambling, the posters—their child’s death. But never bars. She stood in front of the cell with her fingers curled around the iron. “I want to know.”
A western short story, set in the Territory of Utah, about the wife of a bounty hunter who’s heart of hatred is held together by a trembling thread of love.
Y’all. At first, I didn’t know what to think of She Loved the Man She Hated. I mean, I knew I was gonna love it, because everything I’ve read by Willowy Whisper has been superb! However, I was surprised by the story she told within a few short pages.
Once again, she wowed me, this time with a poignant story about the truest, purest kind of love. I could have cried.
She was a little more descriptive, a little more conflicted this time. Her prose is so even and melodic, the perfect balance of everything. And yet, with such perfection, she wreaks havoc on the mind and heart. She’s not afraid to tackle confusing but important issues and situations; that much is evidenced by He Wore Brass Buttons. And she did it again, gripping me within seconds and drawing me into this story about a woman who has been through it all—loss, abuse, grief.
I can only say one thing: I want to grow up to write like Willowy Whisper.
The Tiny Gift
A sob sputtered from her lips, but she sucked it back quickly. He should have danced with her tonight at the Christmas party. Instead, he was a gumshoe faking romance with a cheap singer. He was placing his life in jeopardy for the hundredth time. He was roaming the cold streets with a name that wasn’t his, with a lie in every word he spoke, with a hidden gun in the pocket of his flogger. How many more Christmases before the cops brought home his body?
A 1930s vintage Christmas short story about a high society wife whose husband’s detective job endangers not only his life—but their marriage. Will a wretched old woman and a tiny gift be enough to reconcile old feelings? Or is loving him not worth the risk?
Well, I think we’ve already established that Willowy Whisper is a consummate short story writer. She can write a piece that’s strong and powerful, emotional and gripping. She can write from the perspective of a grieving girl or an illiterate old man.
She can also make you feel at home.
I rarely feel at home in a book, strangely enough. I may be sucked into the story and fall in love with the characters, but very rarely do I ever begin to smell the cigarette smoke and feel the snow and taste the air...I know I felt this way with A Light in the Window. But I’m uncertain if I’ve ever felt that way before or if I’ve felt it since.
Until The Tiny Gift, that is.
This story is just that—small, short, but a gift of inspiration, love, and faith in the midst of dark times. I immediately fell for both Mazie and Sam. And, y’all, within a page, this story felt so real and so alive—I could seriously smell the cigarette smoke and hear Sam’s voice. It’s amazing!
My only disappointment with this beautiful story was that it ended. I crave more!
Jes’ Didn’t Need Said
I didn’t need no letter to tell me my son was dead. I knew the night it happened, just like I know when the first night of frost is goin’ to sneak up on summer’s tail…
A short story that will transport you back to the Civil War, where battles are not only fought by uniformed soldiers, but also by grieving hearts.
This short story couldn’t have been more than six pages long, but as the title suggests, some thing just don’t need to be said. Some things are easily conveyed with a look or with a few short paragraphs.
Willowy Whisper has proven herself to be the most fantastic short story writer I have ever read. Jes’ Didn’t Need Said is only one of many articles of proof. She manages to capture the inner turmoil of her two characters, particularly her point-of-view character, within maybe a thousand words. I don’t believe she ever mentioned their names, but the narrator’s voice was so intimate and strong, it were as though he was speaking directly to me. I must applaud her for accenting the narrative with a Southern US dialect (wow, that sounds weird, calling my voice some fancy accent name 😆), because it lent him and the story a measure of authenticity that couldn’t have otherwise been achieved.
This was actually the first short story of hers written in first-person, and it is simply spectacular! This girl’s talent knows no bounds!
Never a Rooftop Again
Every emotion I ever expected plays across your face. I see Italy in your eyes—jazz music and green scarves and red-tiled rooftops. Funny, how one second can fling away all the years in between. Almost like they never were.
A 1950s noirish short story of organized crime and impassioned love. When a mysterious British gentleman and an Italian mafia dame meet soul-to-soul in spontaneous love, will an inevitable betrayal be enough to shatter everything?
By this point, I think I’ve said it all. Willowy Whisper can write any kind of perspective—young, old, peaceful, hateful. Any kind of story—dark, painful, hopeful, inspiring. Any kind of emotion—hate, anger, disappointment, anticipation. Any kind of tense—third, first, and even second-person (yes, this short story begins and ends in second-person, and I don’t think I’ve ever read something so beautiful)!
But Never a Rooftop Again is by far the best.
From the beginning, I was hooked. Scratch that, one look at the cover and I was hooked! Immediately, I was pulled into a gorgeous, intense story of love lost.
I could have cried at the end.
Within mere minutes, she made me feel so deeply for her characters that it’s like I know them personally and love them like my own. Had I not read this book at night on my computer, I would have shouted and cried and thrown it across the room (none of which are healthy reading habits, but y’all know me).
I still want a happy ending, yes. But there is no doubt that Willowy Whisper can write a tragedy.
So, y'all. I just want to say that, after perusing Hannah's cover-design portfolio, I have lost my heart to her creative talent. I want so badly for her to design Bound and Determined's cover--however, I've yet to finish writing BAD, so we'll just have to wait and see.
Anyway, I just want to gush with y'all over how beautiful these covers are, starting with He Wore Brass Buttons.
We've got everything in this cover--the house the story takes place in, the stretch of desolation land, the distressed background, and our heroine Linney. The color scheme and yellowed-paper look immediately transport us into the past! I'm not sure about the model, though. She looks pleasantly surprised rather than angry, and a wee bit younger than fourteen...
As for She Loved the Man She Hated, well, the emotion is quite plain. The accusation in the model's face...her frizzy hair that must have been rapidly tied back...the dusky background...the lone cabin...everything attest to the main character's inner struggle.
The Tiny Gift has such a high-society Christmas aesthetic that I just adore! The man's well-tailored suit and the woman's droll expression alert us to their station and, if you look deeper, their own struggles. And, of course, the huge parcel and gift tag pop against the dark green background.
Now, Jes' Didn't Need Said, is so beautiful! The Confederate flag in the background and the soldiers on the battlefield immediately tell us that this is a Civil War era story. The elderly couple has such emotion in their eyes and, seriously, where did she find such perfect models?
But Never a Rooftop Again? Now, that one's my ultimate favorite! The green landscape and tiled roofs at the bottom transport us straight to 1950s Italy, and the model at the top? Man! From the red lips to the green scarf, she is a perfect persona of the mafia dame our main character is! Also, the tiling affect over the entire cover is so cool--and the font for the title? So retro! I adore this cover just as much as I love the story!
Now, on to those awesome announcements!
#1 Hannah Linder will be coming to Gabbing with Grace in March for an interview! I can't wait to learn more about this fantastic author and share her with you! Y'all keep an eye out for her appearance!
#2 I wrote a short story for a contest last year, and now it's time to share it with y'all! I'll give you guys the chance to vote on the cover in a few days--and once y'all have chosen a winner, I'll post the story!
#3 I've got a few more short stories up my sleeve--and some of those are my fairytale retellings! So far, Mulan and Cinderella are in the lead, so it's up to y'all to put in your vote here before I make my decision mid-March! Stay tuned for my post all about my upcoming stories!
#4 A lot of things will be happening in March (which I'll expound upon in a post in a couple days), but a few of those are (1) my fantasy worldbuilding linkup will end (you still have time to write and share your post; I can't wait to feature you); (2) a whole ton of book reviews; (3) some templates for outlining, characterization, and worldbuilding; and (4) some more changes that you can bring about by taking this survey! By the way, a HUGE thank you to those who have taken my blog survey! I greatly appreciate all of your sweet feedback!!! Y'all are the very best!
Anyway...I hope y'all have enjoyed this post! I can't wait to share many more goodies with you guys!!!