This week I’m joined by Ruby Fiction author, Hannah Pearl. I asked Hannah some questions:-
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi Morton and thank you for welcoming me on to your blog.
I live in Cambridge. I have two children. I work part time for a local charity and write whenever I have the time and feel well enough. I have ME so this isn’t as often as I’d like. My first book was published by Ruby Fiction/Choc Lit in August 2018, and it has been a lovely experience to see my stories out in the world and to get to work with such lovely and supportive people.
- Have you always written?
I’ve always read voraciously, and then about five years ago I suddenly got very, very poorly. I had a viral infection of the inner ear and I could hardly hold my head up, let alone stand or walk properly. I read hundreds books in the first year that I was ill.
I had always wanted to write but never managed to carve out the time or energy to do so. I read my favourite old books again, I bought new books, then when that got expensive I started reading free books on kindle. This was a revelation to me. I read books that I loved, and they made me want to write. I found so many authors that I admire and after reading that first book I went and devoured whole back catalogues. I read some by people who were writing just for the sheer love of writing, some of these books weren’t quite as polished, and I loved them too, because these gave me the confidence to just try and see what happened.
I wrote and wrote and wrote. I didn’t have any contacts in the publishing industry and so I never dared to dream that my stories would live anywhere except on my laptop. I found that I loved writing and so I started to research publishers online just in case. I joined Twitter and started a blog.
Then suddenly at the end of 2017, I was lucky enough to be offered a three book contract with Ruby Fiction/Choc Lit and to win the Simon and Schuster’s Books and the City #heatseeker short story competition prize for a story called The Last Good Day. It all happened within just a few days.
- So far you have published Evie’s Little Black Book – a romantic comedy, It’s My Birthday – a heartwarming romance and Burn – a gut-wrenching story for Ruby Fiction. Where did you get your inspiration for these stories?
I tried to write the kind of books I wanted to read. I wanted to capture elements of the things that draw me to books. I wanted really strong, dynamic female leads. I wanted humour, but I also wanted to read, and therefore write, about characters who had experienced the kind of difficulties women face in real life. I used to work with agencies and research into the needs of victims of crime and so these issues often find their way into my stories too.
- Without giving too much away, have you had to conduct any interesting research for these books?
My research had to be mostly research I could do from home as my mobility and energy levels are so limited. I am grateful to a fellow person with ME who spent some of his own limited energy talking about the adoption process with me when I wrote It’s My Birthday. Otherwise I have tried to draw on everything I have learned about love and life over the past roughly forty years.
- If you had to give one piece of advice to a novelist seeking publication what would it be?
You need a really, really thick skin, and this isn’t something that I have naturally. My husband was a key source of confidence for me when I was trying to find a publisher so it was lovely to know that he believed in me.
I think also understanding that some of those ‘nos’ that you will inevitably get will be because you need to find the right home for your book. Writing a decent book is only half of the story, the other half is finding the right home for it, and that can take time.
- Where is your favourite place to write?
On my sofa. I need to spend most of the day resting and so I need to be in a seat that supports me and lets me rest my head a lot. I love the idea of having a writing den one day, but I’m pretty sure I’ll always write most on my sofa. I can’t write in coffee shops because I get dizzy when there is a lot of background noise, so for me, writing is quite solitary. Luckily I have a huge cast of characters having adventures in my head so I don’t get lonely.
- What can we look forward to from you next?
Evie’s Little Black Book will be released in paperback soon and I can’t wait to hold a physical copy of my book in my hand.
I’ve got a Christmas theme book coming up too. This one is hopefully one of my funniest and faster paced adventures. I’ll be tweeting more about this nearer to the time, I’m sure!
About Hannah Pearl
Hannah Pearl was born in East London. She is married with two children and now lives in Cambridge.
She has previously worked as a Criminology researcher, as a Development Worker with various charities and even pulled a few pints in her time.
In 2015 she was struck down by Labrynthitis, which left her feeling dizzy and virtually housebound. She has since been diagnosed with ME. Reading has allowed Hannah to escape from the reality of feeling ill. She read upwards of three hundred books during the first year of her illness. When her burgeoning eReader addiction grew to be too expensive, she decided to have a go at writing. In 2017 she won Simon and Schuster’s Books and the City #heatseeker short story competition, in partnership with Heat magazine, for her short story The Last Good Day.
Hannah is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association.
To keep in touch with Hannah Pearl use the following links:-
Twitter – @hannahpearl_1
About Evie’s Little Black Book
A fun heart-warming story that will make you smile from this award-winning author.
Is hunting down every man you’ve kissed the answer to finding Mr Right?
When Evie is invited to the wedding of the guy she’d fancied throughout her teens, it’s the final straw. What’s wrong with her and why can’t she keep a man?
In between consoling herself with ice cream and chocolate, and sobbing her heart out to her cousin Charmaine, Evie has a brainwave – and it all centres around her ‘little black book’ (well, more floral patterned notebook really) – which contains the details of every man she’s ever kissed or dated. Perhaps the cure for her disastrous love life has been nestled within its pages all along …
Does Evie’s little black book really hold the answers, or will she learn that exes are exes for a reason?
What folks are saying about Evie’s Little Black Book:
~”A heartwarming page-turner that will tickle the funny bone and tug at the heartstrings.”
~Ms Pearl has written a fabulously witty and romantic story that is fun and engaging to read, this is a wonderful story.”
~ All fans of romance, chic-lit and humour will race through this book, it’s so nice to find a story with a new twist. I loved every minute of Evie’s Little Black Book and have no hesitation in recommending it.”
About It’s My Birthday
Oh boy, another birthday …
Karen could be excused for crying on her birthday, especially as it’s the first one since her husband got on a plane to the States and never came back. Then there’s the fact that her workmates were practically bribed to attend her birthday meal. But when a restaurant double booking leads to her sharing a table with single dad Elliot and his daughter, things start looking up.
As Karen gets to know Elliot she experiences feelings she thought she’d never have again. But is it enough? Or will the thing that destroyed Karen’s previous relationship also ruin things with Elliot?
A gut-wrenching story not for the faint-hearted!
There’s no smoke without fire …
Jess has always held a candle for Dex – so when he comes back into her life after a school reunion, she couldn’t be happier.
But something happened to Dex before he mysteriously left the area all those years before – something that still gives him terrible nightmares and makes him seem cold and distant.
And then there are the rumours – rumours that Jess can’t bring herself to believe. But when the truth finally comes out, can Jess be the one to help Dex fight the demons from his past before they consume him completely?
About The Last Good Day
A heart-warming and heartbreaking short story that celebrates life, love and the importance of friendship. WINNER of the Books and the City #heatseeker short story competition, in partnership with heat magazine.
‘A beautifully poignant tale of love, friendship and loss. I can’t wait to read whatever Hannah writes next!’ PAIGE TOON?
Belle knows she is going to die.
Her lifelong best friend Helen knows it too, which is why she decides to sneak Belle out of hospital and take her on one last adventure.
In a day filled with fun, laughter and tears, the pair face the prospect of saying goodbye, and raise the important question:
How would you want to spend your last good day?
Thank you so much for joining me this week, Hannah. I am full of admiration for you writing with such a debilitating health condition. I hope your paperback sells well. Mx
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