Kristin Hannah is one of those writers whose words touch your soul. Whether she’s describing World War II France in the New York Times bestselling book, The Nightingale, or you are on a journey to wilds of Alaska in the 70s and 80s in The Great Alone, which was just released, her characters and their struggles are real and relatable. And with nearly two dozen books to her name, two of which are being made into movies, Kristin has made a solid career of giving readers an insight into powerful characters filled with grit and determination as they deal with life when everything falls apart.
When did you first realize you were a storyteller?
My family would tell you that it was obvious from the beginning. All you had to do was ask me what a movie was about, and I would spend the next hour giving a scene by scene description and then another hour explaining how it could have been changed to make a better movie. They stopped asking my opinion pretty early on. 😊 But I didn't know I was a storyteller until after I graduated from law school. A few years after I started practicing, I got pregnant with my son and had a difficult pregnancy. I was on bedrest for more than five months. This was an era of no internet and no good daytime television. Needless to say, I was bored to insanity. After I'd read everything in the house, I decided I could write a book. Just like that. So I did. Obviously, that book didn't sell, and it took years for me to learn how to write, but it planted the seeds in me and those seeds took deep root. I knew almost from the first word that I wanted to be a writer and I just never gave up.
What do you love about the writing process?
Honestly, I am one of those weird birds that love everything about the process. I love researching, outlining, writing, and revising. Of those, I love revisions the best. I love taking a book apart and putting it back together in a new way. It's the lawyer in me. I see things very analytically, and my greatest gift as a writer is my fearlessness. I will try anything and everything to make a book better.
What is the hardest part of being a writer?
No question. Choosing an idea. That is the part of the process I hate. Followed closely by choosing a title.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find inspiration constantly, everywhere. In movies, in television, in the newspaper, in conversations with friends. What I'm looking for, constantly, is a question that energizes and captivates me, one I'm willing to spend two years or three years answering. In The Great Alone, it was "could I survive in Alaska off the grid?" (The answer is maybe, but not for long, and not happily...probably just until the library ran out).
What are you working on right now?
I have just finished the primary research for my next American-set novel. It features another tough, ordinary woman trying to survive extraordinary circumstances---but that's all I can say so far. I haven't started actually writing, and that changes everything.
To keep up with Hannah’s latest projects, or to catch her on her national book tour that started Feb. 6, make sure visit her website.
I've been writing stories and taking photos since I was old enough to hold a pencil and stand behind a tripod.