I am always delighted to sit down and discuss what is next for Kristin Hannah. This week we are discussing the paperback release of Fly Away and a giveaway.
When it was first published, you described Firefly Lane as the book that hit closest to home for you. What is it about the story of Kate and Tully that continues to be so meaningful to you?
Of all the books I’ve written, Firefly Lane has the most of me on every page. I grew up in the town where the novel is set; I lived in the house that was described. I was very much of that era. I went to the University of Washington, and got the same degree as Kate and Tully did. The world of Firefly Lane is very much my world. Also, I lost my own mom to breast cancer. That’s a very personal story that I wanted to tell. Writing Firefly Lane was my way of looking back on the loss of my mom and understanding it as a woman. Additionally, I wanted to give readers some information about what to look for with breast cancer that maybe they didn’t know. So the book has a really important and personal message for me, too.
You seem unafraid to make your characters suffer. Is that hard for you? Do you suffer along with them?
Actually, I love to put my characters in really difficult positions. In writing about women in the worst years in their lives, I allow my characters to really discover who they are at their core. I guess when it’s all said and done, I believe in the power of transformation. I believe that hard times both shape us and reveal us. It’s a stressful and dangerous world out there, and we women try to do so much. So much of fiction—and the nightly news—focuses on the negative situations that exist around us. I guess it feels important to me to remind people that optimism matters and effort can be rewarded. We can survive really difficult times—and not just survive but ultimately triumph. My books tend to be about women coming into their own and triumphing and living their best lives.
It takes me between a year and two years to write a novel, with fourteen months being about average. Over the course of it, I do a lot of prep work—and a lot of drafts. So, by the time I get to the end of a novel, I really feel like I’ve created the best version of the story, and the best characters within that framework. Once I’ve done what I set out to do, I am ready to move on to something else. Firefly Lane is the one exception. That’s why it’s the only follow-up novel I’ve ever done. Because I did keep Tully and Cloud, in particular, in my head. And I really wanted to know what happened to them after the loss of Kate.
Is it hard for you when a character you’ve created dies?
It’s harder for me to write the emotional reaction scenes. In other words, it was harder to write about Kate’s death from Tully’s perspective or Marah’s than from Kate’s. Because, frankly, nobody ever accidentally dies in my books; I know from the beginning who’s going to live and who’s going to die. So I am guarding against that emotion. But I’m often surprised, after the book is done and I read it, that it can be really emotional for me—although it’s never the death than catches me off guard, it’s the little moments that get me. In Fly Away, it was Kate thinking about her sons—just sentences really, but they hit home.
Is there anything you’ve always wished a reader would ask you? What is that question—and how would you answer it?
Yes! I wish one reader one day would ask me to please write more slowly. Because what I get constantly is:” “Can’t you write any faster?”
Want to win a copy see the rafflecopter below. US Residents only are eligible.