The Old In & Out: Penetrating the Writer Brain

If Hanna Elizabeth doesn’t have her nose in a book or a pen in her hand, then she’s probably pondering life’s more serious questions. Questions like, is the answer to the meaning of life really 42? Is time relative and a relative of who exactly? A health nut (and proud of it, thank you very much) she enjoys adventuring into the unknowns of cooking with local organics and has recently conquered baking breads from scratch (not really, but she can bake the heck out of a cake). An avid nature lover, she loves taking long strolls in the midnight air, mediating by moonlight and writing stuff down.

Hanna wrote that bio, and since it’s better than any bio I’ve ever written, I’m totally leaving it alone. Last week I announced a regular interview feature, and we’re back. This time we’re doing the old in and out of Hanna’s head.



Renee: Fantasy is a vast genre, so authors have a lot of inspiration for stories and characters. My personal favorites are gods and (yes, I’ll admit it) vampires. I could never write about werewolves and be perfectly happy, because I just don’t get the allure. If you were told you could never write about one type of character again (under penalty of torture, dismemberment and then death), which one would you throw off the cliff?

Hanna: I’m with you. Werewolves suck. Actually, Vampires suck, but I’m not fond of hairy guys with, you know, fangs and claws. So I’m sticking with Werewolves. Or maybe Zombies. I think the Zombie thing has been done to death.

Writing routines are recommended by the “experts.” I have some things I always do before and while writing that help me focus. For example, there must be coffee and an ugly housecoat involved. Music is also important. What’s the most important (or strangest) part of your writing routine?

I absolutely must be doing laundry while I write. I don’t know how that got started, but it just sorta worked out that way. My most productive days writing are when I’m waiting to flip laundry. So, yeah, I tend to do a lot of laundry.

You find yourself stranded in a dark alley at night. Doesn’t matter how you got there, because it’s too late. You’re there. Shit’s happening. Focus! Okay, you have to make a decision. There is no escape. If you don’t decide, one of your loved ones gets it bad. Okay? We’re clear? Good. So, you’re confronted by a werewolf, a zombie, a demon, and a vampire. The only way out is to let one of these bad boys (or girls) turn you. Which do you choose? Why?

Well, I think I’ve already established where I stand on the Werewolf thing. Zombies are totally overrated, they move too slow to be any real threat. Demons have a bad wrap but I’m not sure I’d want to be one. So, I guess that leaves the Vampire. Although, the whole drinking blood thing is really gross but they have awesome speed and agility and usually, they’re pretty damned smart. So probably a Vampire. Heck, I already prefer staying up all night and sleeping all day, so not much would change for me, except my feeding habits.

**Maybe you could be like the vegan vamps of Twilight. Giggle.**

Let’s pretend we live in a utopia, where everything’s awesome and we’re all perfect. How would we communicate in a perfect society?


Dexter Morgan, Edward Cullen, Dr. Seuss and Stephen King walk into a bar. What happens next?

Who’s Dexter Morgan?

**Gasp! We’re going to have to break up, Hanna.**

Writers are often labeled as weird, crazy or slightly strange, but we all know that’s not true. Still, it’s hard not to have some eccentricities when you spend so much time in your head. What’s one strange fact about yourself that readers might find a little crazy or odd?

I consistently watch the entire Star Trek franchise over and over again. Seriously, I’m just finishing up Deep Space 9 for like the millionth time. It never gets old and I never get tired of it. Oh and I believe that someday, The Doctor (Doctor Who) will pop into my life and tell me to RUN!

A strange man walks into your house. (It might happen) He’s wearing a wedding dress, which is covered in dirt and a mystery material that looks kind of like snot, but it’s blue, and he’s carrying a shovel with a bloody handle. What happens next?

I ask The Doctor where we’re going? Sorry, I got caught up in the last question. Focus, Hanna, Focus. So, I would ask him where he buried the alien because we all know that blue snot is alien blood.

**Yes, all bluebloods are aliens. It all makes sense now.**

What genre do you prefer to write? Why? Is it different from the genre you enjoy reading?

I just realized this about my writing the other day, and I think it’s caused more than a little confusion for people. I tend to write mysteries no matter what genre I’m actually writing, so there’s always some mystery to be solved or some bit of info you don’t get until the very end of my stories. Then, hopefully, you’ll have one of those “Ah hah” moments that make it all gel. But I also don’t want to get pigeon-holed into one genre. By the end of my life, I hope I’ve given every genre a shot. Or at least most of them. Maybe not the ones that require Purple Prose.

**Purple prose is an art. Sniff. **

What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given about writing?

I think writing advice is overrated because every author is different, so what works for one, might not work for another. Thinking we all need to do this one particular thing in order to write effectively or be a success, just isn’t realistic. So yeah, I listen carefully to any advice given and then take away what works for me and file the rest away. It might work for me one day.

When I create a character, I usually have a notebook where I jot down details about his or her personality and appearance. For example, when I was working on Thanatos, god of Death, I had things like “socially retarded” and “tall, dark and delicious” (yes, seriously) jotted in my notes. Imagine yourself as a character you’ve created.  How would you write your description? Would you be a hero or a villain?

Oooh, can I be both, hero and villain? My character description would read something like this: Smart, sexy, redhead-full of fuel (probably gas), so sweet your teeth ache from being near her, but in the dark recesses of her being she’s crafty, devious, and sharp-tongued.

She’s fascinating, right? Check out her book, Visions of Wool, (look at the gorgeous cover below), and you’ll find even more awesomeness. You can also find Hanna on Twitter and Facebook (and also on this FB Page and this one, she’s all over the FB).

Visions of Wool Cover Photo_1

Tune in next week for another fun-filled journey inside someone’s head. If you’re interested in letting me penetrate your brain, say the word. I’ll pencil you in somewhere.

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