Hello Book Friends! I had the pleasure today to chat with the lovely Hannah McKinnon! She has many books under her belt so to speak, her latest amazing read is The Neighbors.
First of all let me begin by saying I have heard so many great things about The Neighbors, I can’t wait to dive in! How did you come up with the story line? I’m always curious how an author develops the story and what may have hit you as an aha moment and the story was born.
I’m so pleased you’ve had positive input about The Neighbors, and I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of it.
As for the storyline, I wanted to write something darker than my debut, Time After Time, and challenged myself to create something more complex and gritty. It started with a “what if” question, specifically what if an ex-boyfriend moved in next door? I imagined how awkward that might be for the characters, particularly if they hadn’t seen each other for almost twenty years and were now married to other people. Would they tell their respective partners there was a history, or would they keep quiet—and why? What secrets could they be hiding, and what might happen if those secrets got out?
Do you have another book in the works at this time, can you share any details?
Yes! Her Secret Son is the story about a man called Josh, whose partner of five years dies in a tragic accident, leaving her 7-year-old son Logan behind. When complications with Logan’s birth certificate arise, and Josh can’t arrange legal guardianship, he has an impossible choice to make—seek the truth about Logan knowing he’ll risk losing him, or continue living a lie. The book publishes May 2019 and I can’t wait to share Josh and Logan’s journey with the world.
When you’re not writing or reading, what are you doing with your spare time?
We have three teenage boys so they keep me pretty busy! I do enjoy getting outside as much as I can—hiking, swimming, cycling—anything to get me moving so I can counteract the time I spend sitting while working on my novels. I also love going to the movies. Ever since I was a kid I’ve adored the anticipation of watching something on the big screen. I even get excited about the previews!
Being an author I’m sure this is a difficult question, but do you have a favorite author? Favorite book?
That is a tricky question, and I can’t possibly narrow it down to one. I’ve been a long-term Lisa Jewell fan ever since her first novel, Ralph’s Party, was released in 1998. I love how she moved from light-hearted romance to family dramas to domestic suspense. I devour David Nicholls’s books, too—they’re witty and poignant, and his dialogue is second to none. J.K. Rowling is probably my biggest inspiration. I adore her! Should we ever meet, my life would be complete (once I’ve recovered from fainting).
Speaking of meeting authors, with the release of The Neighbors, I’ve had the privilege of discovering an incredible group of female authors, including Kimberly Belle, Karma Brown, Emily Carpenter, Rebecca Drake, Kimberly G. Giarratano, Heather Gudenkauf, Jennifer Hillier, Karen Katchur, Mary Kubica, Mindy Mejia, Kate Moretti, Jill Orr, Kaira Rouda, Marissa Stapley,Wendy Heard and Wendy Walker. That’s a long list, but these women all inspired me and have been wonderfully supportive, generous and kind. The writing community has welcomed me with open arms, and I’m so grateful to be in a position to return the favor.
What are your thoughts on negative book reviews? Does it hurt to see someone dislike your book baby?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care when I see a bad review, and equally so, great reviews make my heart sing. However, I’ve developed thicker skin over the years when it comes to negative feedback, whatever it may be. People’s opinions are just as valid as mine, and if they don’t like something, that’s their absolute right. Like most things, my novels can’t please everyone. As long as the (preferably vast) majority of readers enjoys my writing, I’m absolutely delighted.
Do you ever re-read books? Do you keep your books and display them or do you donate or sell them to consignment shops?
I do re-read books but generally only after a few years. I keep most of my novels, but have been known to donate some to friends or the library, and never, ever throw any away. Our local library is fantastic, and I often borrow books there, too, and I’ve recently discovered audio books, which are fabulous to listen to while I’m at the gym.
Being an author comes with the privilege of being asked to read advance copies of books that haven’t been published yet, which is not only an honor, but an absolute treat—and of course all the signed copies have a special place on my bookshelves.
Thank you for joining us Hannah! You will need to come back again soon!
Head on over to my Facebook group for a giveaway of The Neighbors!