Hannah wrote to me some time ago to ask if I’d interview her for this site. I agreed and her story to publication is as fascinating as the gist of the story she wrote. Without further ado, here’s Hannah Clark.
Aneeta: Hannah, thank you for writing to me.
Hannah: No problem J This is a great website, so why wouldn’t I want to be interviewed? Well, other than self-whoring and promotion *nervous laugh* Sorry, I make rubbish jokes when I’m nervous.
Aneeta: Let’s start with a little about you. Tell me, please, where were you born, where did you grow up, what do you do for a living and where do you live now?
Hannah: I was born and raised in London, the only child of a single-parent home. My best subject has always been English, although I never really loved it as much I love history. Writing has always been a passion of mine, and being published is like a dream come true, but I’m realistic about it so I don’t think of it as a dream, just an amazing change in career. At the moment I work at a sports chain, and I study History at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.
Aneeta: I understand you’ve just published a book, Runes Shalt Thou Dream. Please tell me about it.
Hannah: Runes Shalt Thou Dream is a psychological urban fantasy told through the eyes of several characters, all of whom have had some form of trauma in their past. It is the first book in what I hope to be – at most – a nine-book series, although I want to restrict myself to seven.
The Norse had some truly beautiful mythology, and I wanted to explore it as much as I could. I had an idea about the Nine Noble Virtues, the ‘personal code’ of Ásatrú if you will: what if, at Ragnarök, the NNV were physically manifested and actually fought in the war? This – in addition to a lot of background music and five or six cases of energy drinks – gave me the energy to explore the different variations of the mythology and read the poetry with a critical rather than a recreational eye.
Aneeta: I see you’ve used the penname ‘AG Bellamy’. Why?
Hannah: I used ‘AG Bellamy’ because ‘Hannah Clark’ is so common, plus it increases the potential demographic by attracting a male readership.
Aneeta: Can you share some of the steps you took on this journey to publishing?
Hannah: When I was a child, I had an imaginary friend who used to tell me stories as I fell asleep. I initially considered self-publishing, but it wasn’t for me. By the time I was fifteen, my imaginary friend had left me and I was feeling unsure of myself, so I started to write down and flesh-out his stories, eventually turning it into a full-length book. I guess by publishing, it’s my way of remembering him and bringing him back to life.
First and foremost I spent as much of my spare time as I possibly could on writing – I lived, breathed and dreamed it. Secondly, I sought rejection. Rejection is probably the writer’s best friend because it just motivates you to keep going. Third, I looked into the possibility of self-publishing and even tried it out for a bit, but could not gain reputation enough to actually sell, so I unpublished and gave writing a bit of a rest while I concentrated on UCAS. Fourth, I looked into independent publishers and was accepted by Ecanus. Fifth, I networked through some of the fandoms I am a part of – i.e. Nightwish, Blind Guardian, Michael Grant, etc. – and built up my own small fanbase. Cheeky, I know, but you have to start somewhere!
Aneeta: What advice would you give people who would like to venture into the world of storytelling and publishing?
Hannah: If you think you’ve got the guts and the stamina for it, go the hell ahead and publish. Seek out the independent publishers, because they go for the quality of the story and won’t pressure you to make any drastic changes to your character or the story unless they think and you agree it could cause a lot of trouble. It’s a great opportunity if you’re offered it, and in the end it’s worth it.
Aneeta: Hannah, this is all I have to ask. Is there anything you’d like to add?
Hannah: My dream became a reality because even if it does not do well to live on dreams, sometimes, dreams ARE reality. Writing has been my dream, my air and my life since I was five. In writing, I can go to places I’ve never been before while remaining seated at my computer… and the best part is that I don’t have to go out and pretend to give a crap about people like the customers I serve at weekends, I genuinely care about my characters because they are my babies, and my story is my baby.
Aneeta: Thank you, once again, Hannah.
Hannah: My pleasure, Aneeta J
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