Author Interview: Alice Hanov
I've said this before but it bears repeating- I'm truly grateful that I'm able to create. To do what I LOVE doing. The flexibility writing brings. Being my own boss. The advantages are endless.
But. real talk- sometimes writing can be lonely. Even as I type this, I'm a party-of-one.
That's where #thewritingcommunity comes in. Alice and I connected just over a year ago, and I'm grateful for that, too.
While we write different genres, it's been exciting bouncing ideas off each other, rooting for one another, and lamenting about some of the pitfalls of publishing (hello shipping delays!). An online cube-mate, if you can imagine.
Like myself, Alice is a debut novelist, and her #YAFantasy series - the Head, the Heart and the Heir- launches next week on June 14th. With incredible world building that's a mix of both Arthurian and Greek mythology, a #strongfemalecharacter who's easy to root for (even when she is being headstrong), and a #bookboyfriend Prince, this series has all the makings of an instant classic.
I had the privilege to read an ARC of the novel, as well as it's prequel, The Heir Who Became The Spare. Both were immersive reads that ended at the perfect places, leaving the reader wanting more. You can read my full reviews of both works here.
Here's the official book blurb:
Princess Elizabeth wants nothing more than to be reunited with her father, her kingdom, and her people. Instead, she’s spent the last twelve years in the forest, hiding from her grandfather who killed her mother while she looked on.
Then the only heir to the Kingdom of Warren is discovered by her childhood playmate and crush, now the Crown Prince of the allied Kingdom of Datten, and everything changes. Her grandfather has died which means it’s safe for her to return to her kingdom in advance of her seventeenth birthday…when sorcerers like her manifest their powers.
But the girl who now calls herself Alex is nothing like the lost princess the kingdom remembers. She’s headstrong, fearless–and already wields powers beyond their wildest imaginations. She can predict the future, control the weather, make plants magically grow, and manipulate fire, causing unusual things to happen when her emotions are heightened.
As she struggles to gain control of her powers, Alex causes chaos in the castle, where she’s never quite the princess they want her to be. When she uncovers the secret behind the murder of her mother and her own lineage, Alex’s powers threaten to destroy everyone around her including her father who hid the truth from her for so long.
Alex doesn’t want to be feared or controlled. She’s not the type to stand by and let someone else decide her fate–but is she strong enough to turn her back on the only family and friends she has left?
LQ: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
AH: I am a fast writer. I write a lot of words in a day (record is 12,000) and can write and edit really quickly compared to most indie authors I talk to. Even my editor said they could work for decades and probably wouldn’t find another me! So, while it makes me feel odd, I like that I have this special skill.
LQ: What does your family think of your writing?
AH: I swear I have the most supportive family ever, even if my mother has never read a single word! My husband actually edits my drafts before they go to the editors. Since I write duel POV and I have male POV characters he helps me get them right and makes sure they sound like guys. Finding the balance between how women want me to sound and how they really do is something we strive for. My oldest daughter reads the stories and gives her YA feedback on what I write so if she likes it and understands things I have faith other people will too. And the younger two are just proud and excited for me.
LQ: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
AH: I am working on book 4 of the main series, but I wrote 5 counting the prequel. I can’t really say I have a favorite because they are all different and great for different reasons and I love them all differently. But my husband’s favorite is book 3 because of the action in it.
LQ: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
AH: I LOVE hearing from my readers. They often message me on social media and I love to talk to them. They ask questions about why characters do things, and how many books I’ll write. I love to ask their favorites, and least favorites and all that. It’s so much fun to see my book through someone else’s eyes, and when they message me to say they loved it I might cry sometimes. I just love knowing the books are hitting people how I want them to.
LQ: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
AH: I wanted to be a teacher or a writer. I wrote my first book when I was 7 and I still have it. It’s about flamingos going on vacation. So I always wanted to do it and it took my husband pushing me to follow my dream (after having 3 kids in 5 years and just being mom for 8 years with nothing of my own). Now he is helping me accept that it was okay to pay for that dream and that we all deserve to reach for the stars.
LQ: Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
AH: No. I’m lucky to have an easy to remember married name and since I don’t write anything too risque I have no reason to hide. Maybe if I wrote erotica I’d feel different.
LQ: Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections between each book?
AH: I’m writing a LONG series and after that I may write a few stand-alones that happen in that world since I have a few other ideas rattling in my head.
LQ: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
AH: It really hasn’t. I studied writing and I wrote what I wanted to see in books and tried to make the story unique and different but still hit the points the readers want. I don’t follow a set plan for writing, like save the cat or such, and really put in as many beats and acts as the story needs.
LQ: What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters, if anything?
AH: I don’t think you owe them anything. I don’t think anyone makes a character a carbon copy of a person. We take bits and pieces from people and mold them together into a character, like bits of clay becoming a sculpture. Some is borrowed from real life people we know, some from other characters we’ve met in books or movies, and the rest is made up.
LQ: What do you have coming next?
AH: Book 1 comes out on June 14th, and book 2 is finishing up line edits and will be out either end of 2022 or early 2023. The first 2 chapters are going to be included in book 1 as teasers, so you won’t have to wait long to find out what happens to Alex, Aaron and their friends. The prequel is already out and available for free for signing up for my newsletter.
More About The Author
Alice Hanov is a writer who graduated with a degree in Rhetoric and Professional Writing from the University of Waterloo. She’s been writing and dreaming up stories since she was seven and only now decided to get them on paper after enthralling her children with them.
She’s working on her debut series The Head, The Heart, and the Heir, with the first three books in edits, and the next three in starting drafts.
When she isn’t writing, Alice is raising her three kids with her husband, helping run their software company Hanov Solutions or can be found reading, painting, knitting and chasing after their three super busy, artistic children who aspire to be artists or you tubers themselves.
You can stay connected with Alice by subscribing to her newsletter here. While you're there, don't forget to download your free copy of The Heir Who Became The Spare.
The Head, The Hear, and the Heir is currently available for pre-order here.
For signed copies, check this out.
I'd like to thank Alice for participating in my Author Interview segments. She was a pleasure to work with. Please join me in wishing her success on her literary journey!