This week on Author on the Couch,

I conduct a session with

Hanna Martine.Martine_headshot_web

GIVEAWAY!

Leave a comment and you are entered to win a $5.00 Amazon Gift Card!

 

Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.

Hanna: My junior year of college I got the opportunity to study abroad, and I deliberately chose the most remote location I could: Perth, Western Australia. I’d never been anywhere alone. Hell, at that age I got sweaty and anxious making a restaurant reservation. I remember the thrilling feeling of getting on that plane, followed by having to navigate my way through foreign countries with no assistance whatsoever. I learned so much about myself those five months, and came back a changed, more confident person. Returning to the U.S. finally knowing that I could do things on my own was the sharpest turning point in my life.

Me: Western Australia! Wow! That sounds so brave and exciting–especially being so young!

What’s a story your family always tells about you?

Hanna: My parents picked me up at the airline gate (this was back in 1995, when you were allowed to do that) when I came back from Australia, and they always liked to tell the story about how they didn’t recognize me until I was right in front of them saying, “It’s me!” My dark brown hair had been bleached from the sun, my bangs had grown out, I was tan (when I’m usually ghostly white), and I had gained 25 pounds. Ha! Aside from looks, and the fact that I said certain words with an Australian accent, they could tell how much I’d changed inside and it made them happy.

Me: What’s your life motto? Why does that motto speak to you?

Hanna: “Live life so you have no regrets.” It encompasses every aspect of life—treat people so you don’t feel terrible about it later on, act in a way that fulfills you, go after things you want because you may not get a second chance, love and dream whole-heartedly.

Me: LOVE your motto! So good!

What personality trait of yours helps you most as an author?

Hanna: I’m very, very good at creating scenarios in my head. This doesn’t serve me well in my real life, but my overactive imagination and the constant spinning of my brain has assisted me greatly in both plotting and organic writing.

Me: What personality trait of yours hinders you most as an author?

Hanna: Despite what I said above, I still need reassurance, validation, feedback. I need to be told I’m headed in the right direction, that someone else believes in me. This is why self-publishing was so awful for me. It was just me out there flailing. Alone. While I’ve come far from being that girl who got on the plane to Australia, I still would rather be part of a team. With other people at my back, I have confidence to give it all I’ve got, knowing that someone else besides me thinks what I’m doing is worthwhile. If I don’t have that, I feel pointless, like I’m running in place.

Me: You bring up something a lot of writers struggle with. I wish I had some simple, wonderful advice that would make that need for external validation obsolete, but I just don’t have it. The need for that validation is a part of why writers publish. If they didn’t want to please other people with their novels–they’d never seek to PUBLISH them!

What was your high point as a writer?

Hanna: Oh man. The week Liquid Lies, my debut novel, came out in July 2012 was just awesome. I mean, it was bursting with anxiety too…but! I’d received so much amazing advance praise; I went to a Barnes & Noble and saw my paperback on the “New Fiction!” kiosk right by the door; and I held a killer release party with all my closest friends and family, who were so very proud of me and eager to celebrate my accomplishment. That week was the culmination of everything I’d wanted since I was nine years old.

Me: What was your low point as a writer?

Hanna: *Takes a deep breath.*

Ok, here I go.

Time for some honesty.

My low point as a writer is…right now.

Right this very moment.

And I’ve been operating at this low point for almost two years, ever since I was told that I had not sold well enough for Berkley Sensation to continue publishing my Elementals paranormal romance series. That even more of my Highland Games contemporary romances with them were “iffy.”

My mental state now is worse than before I was published, because back then I had so much hope, so much joy for this dream that has defined me since grade school. My rejections prior to 2011 were signs that I was moving forward, progressing, getting closer. Now my rejections feel like signs confirming that perhaps I am meant for something else. And no, I’m not rolling over easily. I’ve done nearly everything I can think of—and that of which I am capable—to reenergize my career and my love for the written word. Nothing is working.

There is a chance that I will step away from writing for publication. This decision fills me with no angst, no regret, no shame, and no fear. Walking away may not be forever, and if or when I do come back I may not write romance (or be Hanna Martine). The acceptance of this has given me the greatest peace I’ve felt in, well, two years. We shall see. EverythingGoddess Marked Cover MEDIUM WEB is up in the air. I should know more soon.

Me: My personal philosophy… When you’re on the right road life is easy. All the roadblocks magically disappear. But when you’re on the wrong road there’s roadblock after roadblock and it’s all one big difficult fight after another. So while I’m sorry to hear you are stepping away from writing, any decision that gives you peace is the right one for you for right now.

What book do you wish you’d written? Why?

Hanna: I’m going to cheat and say the whole Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. I think the writing and pacing are spot on. The world-building, originality, and no-holds-barred characterization hit all my pleasure buttons both from a reader and writer’s perspective. The craft involved is enviable. I love, love, love to write speculative fiction, and I would kill to be able to dwell in Andrews’s world and get paid for it.

Me: Tell me about your novel GODDESS MARKED.

Hanna:

William Everard was once a man of the sea. Then a terrifying incident in Egypt at the turn of the nineteenth century cast him out of the English Royal Navy and made him question his sanity. After stumbling into a hidden cave in the Nile valley, visions consumed his mind and directed his every action. When they compel him to commit theft in 1819 London, he is sentenced to the New South Wales prison colony, half a world away.

 

During a hellish five-month sea voyage, William is haunted by the face of a beautiful, troubled woman. He knows what he must do when he reaches Australia: Find the woman. End the visions. Regain control over his mind. But who is she?

 

When Sera Oliver awakes in a desolate, sun-baked land, she has no memory but her name. No possessions except the gold band with curious Egyptian symbols clamped around her arm.

 

She is reluctant to trust William—or anyone in this cruel, unfamiliar time and place—until an ancient enemy crosses continents and centuries to hunt her, and she must turn to William for answers, for life, and for love.

 

Two lives crossed, their souls knotted together…But will their connection bind the fraying strands of time or unravel the world?

 

Me: Uhm… Wow! This sounds amazing!

Share with us a favorite paragraph from GODDESS MARKED.  

Hanna: I’ve always loved the moment when William and Sera finally come face to face…

 

Water dripped heavily from his chin-length hair and ran down his tightly bunched forearms and scarred knuckles. Deep lines carved their way around his eyes, suggesting a hard life or an age older than hers. Or both. She couldn’t look away from him, not even if one of those bolts of lightning struck two feet away.

 

“Who are you?” He leaned a little closer, searching her face. “What’s your name?”

 

All the lessons her mother had given—about not showing your hand, and concealing your true identity, and not trusting anyone but yourself—washed away in the driving rain. Something deep, deep inside her was telling her to listen to this man.

 

“Sera,” she said.

 

“Sera. I’m—”

 

“William.” The letters she’d scratched into the dirt back at Viv’s floated across her vision.

 

His lips parted as he stared. “Yes.”

 

Why didn’t he look more shocked? She sure as hell was. “What are you doing here?”

 

“Your accent…I can’t place it—” His eyes narrowed, assessing. He cocked his head. “What are you doing here, hiding?”

 

Suddenly her throat was awfully dry. “I was asked to come to town. I didn’t want to walk back in the storm.”

 

“Hmm.” He drew a long, slow breath through his nose. “Or maybe you were looking for me.”

 

She gasped, air freezing in her chest. That was when she knew there was something else inside her. A presence. Something otherworldly and completely feminine. Because at William’s words, it purred with joy. With desire.

 

“But I wasn’t,” she lied. “I don’t know you.”

 

Amusement ticked up one corner of his mouth. “You knew my name. I think you know me, too.”

 

His feathery voice draped over her, heightened by the deep of the shadows. He seemed to be everywhere. Around her. Inside her.

 

A frightening longing took to root in her heart. In the warm place between her legs.

 

She closed her eyes and tried to gather herself. Tried to parse out what she knew to be absolutely true from the mysterious things that couldn’t possibly be fact.

 

“You know me,” he rumbled, “because I know you. Sera, with the black hair and deep brown eyes.”

 

“You can’t see my eyes.”

 

“Yes, I can. They’re still in my mind.”

 

To Purchase GODDESS MARKED:

AMAZON

 

 

You can find Hanna on:

 

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

GOODREADS

PINTEREST

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be eligible to win a $5.00 Amazon gift card! 

Have you had a low point as a writer? Have you struggled with whether to continue or step back? Share your story with us.

 

If you are interested in being an Author on the Couch, just email me at abbieroads@yahoo.com

 

Don’t forget to stop by this week’s Manic Monday Post: The Coloring Book Craze.

 

Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but she always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for thee hundred pages. Her first novel will be out Summer 2016.

About the author: abbieroads

86 comments to “Author on the Couch: Hanna Martine”

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  1. Paula Millhouse - October 4, 2015 Reply

    Hi Abbie,

    I wanted to thank you personally and openly for providing a place where authors can gather and speak openly about this journey. Your forum here at Author on the Couch is such an incredible gift to us all.

    Hanna – thanks for risking the courage to open up like this with all of us.

    • abbieroads - October 4, 2015 Reply

      Hi Paula!

      Aww… Thanks so much. I really wanted to create a place to get to know the story behind the storyteller.

  2. Barb Heintz - October 3, 2015 Reply

    Congratulations Katrina.

  3. abbieroads - October 3, 2015 Reply

    And the winner of the $5.00 Amazon Gift Card is…

    Katrina Bauer!

    Thanks for stopping by Author on the Couch and leaving a comment!

    • Katrina Bauer - October 6, 2015 Reply

      Abbie-

      Thank you so much. This is such an Awesome site.

      Kat

  4. Barb Heintz - October 2, 2015 Reply

    Hanna,
    It will be our loss if you decide to step away from writing. But you must do what is best for you. Maybe a short break is all you need to get back in the groove and write what your heart wants to say.

    • Hanna Martine - October 3, 2015 Reply

      Thanks, Barb. I’m just taking it one day at a time and evaluating how I feel each morning.

  5. Christina Delay - October 2, 2015 Reply

    Hi Hanna!

    Um, wow – I got chills from your Goddess Marked excerpt! Thank you for being open and sharing your heart. That’s so hard for so many of us to do…and I think a ton of other writers connected with what’s in your heart right now.

    What Karen quoted from Holly…yes. That. You were given this inspiration and imagination and need for a reason. You’ve obviously touched many people with your words. Words are your gift. Whatever path you decide to take from now on, words are your gift. You may decide to package them up in different wrapping, or send them to entirely different kind of recipient, but…words are your gift.

    Sending prayers and thoughts for a good sense of direction for you on your next adventure.

    • abbieroads - October 2, 2015 Reply

      Hi Christina!

      I agree! GODDESS MARKED sounds amazing!

    • Hanna Martine - October 3, 2015 Reply

      Thank you, Christina. It was hard to decide whether or not to be so open, but I’m so glad I did.

  6. Karen Booth - October 2, 2015 Reply

    Hey Hanna…I could send you an email, but I thought I would post directly, in the hopes that someone else can benefit from what I have to say.

    First off, Barbara Freethy’s speech at RWA was truly inspiring and it’s on You Tube, on the RWA channel. It’s worth watching. I look at her success and it seems so flawless, but it has been anything but. She’s an author I deeply admire.

    My second point is this–I think that caring for you and your voice are the most important things, especially right now. You’re hurt. It sucks. You thought it would be better by now, but it all still sucks.

    But your voice is still a living, breathing thing and it needs you, publication and sales be damned. You won’t be truly happy or healthy if you bottle up that voice. I’ve read your books and your voice is not only beautiful, it’s powerful. So don’t let this shitty business quiet that voice. Don’t let it be the pillow over your voice’s face.

    A dear friend of mine, author Holly Gilliatt, passed away from pancreatic cancer last year. She was in the middle of writing a book when she died. I think about her and that unfinished book every day. We take our voice and the time we’ll have to let our voice sing for granted. Holly was in her mid-40s, just like me, just getting started in publishing. She had dozens of books ahead of her, I know it. It just wasn’t in the cards. She said something so powerful to me (well, over IM) a few months before she died, when she knew, on no uncertain terms that she was not going to get better. She was going to have to miss seeing her kids grow up, she knew she was going to miss the chance to grow old with her husband. I have to paraphrase because I was crying too damn hard to remember every word, but it was something along the lines of, “Don’t leave this earth with half of your heart stuck inside you. Let it all out.”

    So, darling, let your beautiful heart and voice sing. Your talent is far too special a gift to let it be quieted by somebody in a suit, analyzing a spreadsheet. Sure, numbers don’t always add up. Sure, authors get cut loose. None of that has shit to do with life or love or beauty or art or writing.

    Please, find a way to write yourself out of this. Take care of your voice and take care of you. Everything else will take care of itself. xoxo

    • abbieroads - October 2, 2015 Reply

      Karen–

      Wow…

      Your words are so powerful! Our voice is a living, breathing thing. It’s the thing that makes us want to write in the first place–makes us need to write. And to smother that would be a tragedy.

      And your dear friend–Holly Gilliatt’s–puts it all into perspective.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing this here.

    • Hanna Martine - October 2, 2015 Reply

      Karen, you’ve made me cry. I’d say I hate you for that, but I love you. And I love what you’ve written here. Thank you for saying it.

      • Karen Booth - October 2, 2015 Reply

        Well, I never want to make you cry, unless it’s a good cry. I hope it helped, at least a little, because you’re so awesome. <3

  7. Katrina Bauer - October 1, 2015 Reply

    Hanna-

    Thank you for your honesty and bravery. Your characters and their stories live on in your readers hearts. That’s because, YOU are an awesome writer.

    Abbie- Really enjoyed Author on the couch.

    • abbieroads - October 2, 2015 Reply

      Hi Katrina!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the positive feedback!

  8. Nan Dixon - October 1, 2015 Reply

    Like all the other commenters, my heart goes out to you. This is such a solitary art with little or no feedback through so many of our days, weeks and months. I can understand why you might ‘chuck it all’.
    But I truly believe that once you are a writer – you can’t give it up. Hopefully you will find your peace and the words will flow and people will buy your books!

    Good luck.

    • abbieroads - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Hi Nan!

      You do bring up a good point. Writers write because they have to. It’s the publication stuff that gets all mucky and nasty.

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Thank you so much, Nan. I don’t know if I’m in a “chuck it all” phase or a “chuck it all…for now” phase. But for the first time I don’t feel the terrible pressure to make a decision right this very moment. And that’s a beautiful thing.

  9. Jessica Ruddick - October 1, 2015 Reply

    Hi Hanna,

    Thanks for sharing, especially about your low points. They really struck a chord with me. It seems that the more success I have, the more I push myself to achieve more. Three years ago, I would have been jumping for joy just thinking about the position I’m in now. Now that I’m here, my goals have shifted. Basically, I’m setting myself up for a perpetual circle of self-doubt. It’s so hard.

    Your situation reminds me of Robyn Carr. She’s super successful now, but she had a streak of something like a decade where she didn’t sell a single book. She’s very open about it, and she discussed it in her chat at RWA this past summer. Very few authors talk about these lows, but I think it’s important to shine a light on them to show that we are not alone in this struggle.

    Hang in there, girl! You’re not alone!

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      I didn’t know that about Robyn Carr! Wow, a decade.

      That circle of self-doubt…yes, we keep reaching (and that’s not necessarily a bad thing), but it’s important to realize that we must stop and look back. Take stock of all the incredible things we already have accomplished. I’ve been doing that a lot, and instead of continuing to say “UGH YOU ARE SUCH A FAILURE BECAUSE YOU HAVEN’T SOLD ANOTHER BOOK,” I say, “HOLY SHIT GIRL YOU’VE PUBLISHED SIX NOVELS AND TWO NOVELLAS.” I am so pleased by what I have done, and nothing, not even a blurry future, can take that away from me.

      Thanks so much for commenting.

    • abbieroads - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Hi Jessica!

      I’d forgot that story about Robyn Carr! I’m glad you reminded us about it.

  10. Sheri Humphreys - October 1, 2015 Reply

    Hanna, I know of a number of fabulous writers who have met with Big Five publisher displeasure due to sales not having the numbers the publisher wanted. One in particular is a NYT bestseller yet was dropped. She’s now having significant success self-publishing. She is convinced the price the Big Five publisher set on her books were primarily responsible for her lower-than-what-the-publisher-needed——–or-she-wanted——–sales. There are so many factors that influence sales. Another friend had okay-but-not-great sales for her first two books but got dropped. These big businesses aren’t interested in growing authors–giving them time to find a readership. If sales aren’t spectacular, they drop the author and try someone else. At least that’s the impression I’ve gotten as an observer.

    I read over 200 books in 2014 (this number is real). How many of those were Simon & Schuster books? Only a couple, because their typical Kindle price is $9.99. After reading your Goddess Marked blurb and excerpt, I went to Amazon and bought it. And the one genre I never read is paranormal. But I love historical, and I will read fantasy, and I loved the blurb, so I’m all in for your book. I’m so glad you’re giving self-publishing a try. I hope your experience with that influences your decision in a way that finds you continuing to share your writing with others.

    I wish I had a wonderful motivational thought to share, like some of the other commenters. I don’t. But hey, whatever you decide, you can always change your mind.

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      I sincerely hope you enjoy GODDESS MARKED. It’s a different book and I’m damn proud of it. 🙂

    • abbieroads - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Hi Sheri!

      GODDESS MARKED sounds amazing doesn’t it? Glad you got a copy!

  11. abbieroads - October 1, 2015 Reply

    Hi Pintip!

    Great point! The path that leads to the greatest peace is the right one!

  12. Sarah Andre - October 1, 2015 Reply

    Thanks for introducing us to Hanna, Abbie!

    Hi Hanna- as you can see by all the comments above, you are not alone in this journey, although I’m sure it often feels like it. It helps to define what your measure of success is: getting a renewed contract from Berkeley? Making a best selling list? Gushing reviews on Amazon? Or the simple writer’s-high after a good day’s work?

    It could very well be that the broken connection between your publisher will end up being the best thing that’s happened to you–and you won’t know it for a long time. What separates us from all the people who WANT to write a novel is that we DO write it, and there are 20+ comments above who know how hard it is and how debilitating it can be for your ego. Stand back up and brush yourself off. You can do this. And when you feel like you’re at this fragile crossroads, come on back to Abbie’s couch. We’ll be here.

    • abbieroads - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Hi Sarah!

      It was my pleasure to have Hanna on the Couch today! And what a conversation her “session” has created!

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Sarah, you’ve made me think a lot. I’m going to do some free-writing this afternoon (after I get my tattoo, woo!) and consider parameters for my personal happiness. They’ve been rather nebulous, and I’ve been focusing more on what I DON’T want to do rather than using what I DO want to do as a road sign.

  13. Pintip - October 1, 2015 Reply

    Hanna,
    Thank you so much for sharing your feelings. Your words really resonated with me. I think all writers, at all stages of their careers, have had thoughts similar to these. As Vanessa said above, there’s no shame in taking time away from writing, in order to regain your love for writing — or not. What struck me the most was how at peace you felt when you arrived at that decision. I hope that peace will lead you to making the right decision for your life.

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      I felt ashamed for a very, very, very long time. It’s only very recently–probably since, oh, June or so?–that I realized that stepping back for my personal well-being is nothing to be ashamed of. I no longer consider myself a failure.

  14. Melonie - October 1, 2015 Reply

    So strong, so smart, so brave, and so beautiful inside and out. H, you are my writing buddy, but I also count you as my friend, with or without words.

    What an amazing motto to live by. So inspiring! And so right – life is too short to waste it with regrets.

    I remember when you first announced you’d sold, and I was so thrilled and excited (and jealous!) Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences and giving us the gift of your honesty, of sharing you. I hope you know how much I wish the very best for you, wherever your path takes you!

    Abbie, I have not visited this blog before, I followed Hanna’s link and I have to say this is a fabulous concept an I’m sure I’ll be back for more, as well as visiting the Author on the Couch archives

    Many hugs!
    Melonie

  15. Brinda - October 1, 2015 Reply

    Hanna,

    I loved getting to know you in this interview. I completely understand the “low” point you mention. I admire you for saying it when so many of us feel it. But I hope you’ll take heart that you never know when you’ll turn that corner–the one where something unexpected happens to pay off for all your hard work. Writing and publishing are so much tougher than I’d ever imagined. Also, your motto is one I share!!

    • abbieroads - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Hi Brinda!

      You hit upon something. Hanna is talking about what we ALL have felt at some point or another! We need to talk about it more.

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Yes, that corner. I keep thinking it will appear. I know it will. Running faster isn’t going to make it magically show up. It will come when the time is right.

  16. Susie McCauley - October 1, 2015 Reply

    Hi Hanna,

    Thank you for sharing your story with such heart. Keep going!

    I’ve had so many ups-and-downs in my life, including periods that have pulled me away from writing – but I keep going. I have friends who have won Academy Awards and been nominated for Tony Awards and I ask myself, “What have I been doing wrong?” “Why have I been doing the past ten years?” The answer: living – I got married, had a son, took a bizarre career turn, lived in two countries, and then, finally, got back to writing. . .

    Now I’ve got a few short stories published, and one is being made into a short film and a feature length screenplay is being considered for production. I’m still working hard to get an agent for my novels, but things are moving forward.

    So, even if things aren’t moving at the pace you want – don’t give up. When I feel like throwing in the towel, I remind myself of a quote from Winston Churchill: “Never give in. Never. Never. Never. Never. Never.”

    Hugs,
    Susie

    • abbieroads - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Hi Susie!

      I love you Winston Churchill quotes! One of my favorites is “When going through hell keep going!”

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      I think “LIVING” is a beautiful reason for anything…

  17. McCall Hoyle - October 1, 2015 Reply

    Hanna,

    I love your post and your honesty. Thanks for sharing. Clearly, you are an amazing writer. I love your philosophy about re-inventing yourself. It’s one we all need to remember. It’s gut-wrenchingly difficult to let go of things we care deeply about, but so often that’s precisely when we see the Universe has bigger and better in store. I am learning daily how to let go of fear, control, and pride.

    Cyber hugs,
    McCall

    • abbieroads - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Hi McCall!

      That really is a good thing about this industry–the ability to re-invent ourselves. Such an important thing to keep in mind!

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      First of all, I love your name. Can I steal it for a future book I may or may not write? 🙂

      Since I gave this interview, I’ve been pondering whether or not I’m actually letting writing go…or if I’m holding tighter to what I’ve already accomplished and just being happy with that. The latter feeling is starting to feel really, really satisfying.

      I love what you said about the Universe.

  18. Laura Trentham - October 1, 2015 Reply

    Your feelings mirror what SO many writers go through. When I was pre-published, I heard or read a very well-known established writer say…It’s not getting published that’s the hard part; it’s staying published. At the time, I scoffed because *getting* published as hard as hell! But now…I’m coming to believe she is correct.

    I think this is why I don’t enjoy release days, because it’s a harbinger of what’s to come. I feel pressure. It’s all self-applied pressure. I’m not doing this to feed my family, but still…

    But, I also think of writers like Jayne Castle…how many times did her career “die”? She picked herself up, reinvented herself, and kept on writing. Probably because like most of us, she has to.

    And, as writers, we have so many more option these days if the establishment doesn’t want us anymore. You bet your sweet bippie that I’ll explore self-publishing if I never get another contract!

    It’s a tough business…one that wears on you and taking a step back to reevaluate is totally understandable. I love the idea of a list of why you write…and I keep a folder of encouraging reviews, emails, etc to scan on days when you feel like every word is crap. Just know that you are not alone in this! Virtual hug coming your way!

    • abbieroads - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Hi Laura!

      That’s a great idea to keep a folder of good reviews!

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Oh yeah, the release day pressure is crazy intense. It’s the tip of the mountain, if you will.

      “Staying published” … I never, ever dreamed it would be like this. I’m not even sure if I’d heard about that difficulty “back then” that I would’ve believed it. Not that I had blinders on or anything, but I was just so filled with positivity and hope. I wouldn’t say I’m negative about the future now…I’m just more realistic. It’s brought me so much more peace, less anxiety.

  19. Vanessa Barneveld - October 1, 2015 Reply

    Hi, Hanna and Abbie!

    Hanna, I’m waving to you from the opposite end of WA, in the former convict colony of New South Wales. 🙂 I’m glad your time here had such a positive impact on you.

    Our writing/publication journeys may be different, but I can completely relate to how you feel right now. As it is with any career, sometimes stepping back, taking a sabbatical, is exactly what you need to get some clarity. I’ve taken some long breaks in order to regain the love of writing. There’s no shame in that at all. I know you’ll do what’s right for you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • abbieroads - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Hi Vanessa!

      You’re right–stepping back sometimes gives the best clarity! It’s like you can see the situation differently when you aren’t so close to it.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Ahhhh, an Australian replying to my Australia post! My happy worlds collide!!!!!

      Stepping back feels very good right now. I’m still waiting on some replies, but it is not with nerves or anxiety. Whatever comes my way, I am prepared.

  20. Marnee Blake - October 1, 2015 Reply

    Hi Hanna!

    This was a brave interview. I think all of us struggle with our sense of purpose as writers. And, all the ups and downs of the industry don’t help.

    I agree with the others; having a lifeline is necessary. And reinvention is our friend. I hope you find the path that brings you joy and peace.

    Best,
    Marnee

    • abbieroads - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Hi Marnee!

      This industry is so tough on writers. And we’re fragile creatures. Yet we keep writing! Go us!

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      I hope reinvention becomes my BFF. 🙂

  21. Asa Maria Bradley - October 1, 2015 Reply

    Love this honest and brave interview. I hope you continue to write, Hanna, even if it is just for yourself.

    • abbieroads - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Hi Asa!

      Writing for yourself is good advice! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Thank you, Asa. That is one thing I am seriously considering: to just get back to those days when I was writing with a smile on my face, every day, and not thinking about the words I would type the next session or the people who may or may not read it.

      (BTW, your covers are KILLER and I wish you so much crazy awesome luck on your books.)

  22. Carrie - October 1, 2015 Reply

    Thank you, Abbie and Hanna. Thanks to Abbie for asking the hard questions and to Hanna for your transparency and honesty. I wish I could say I had no experience with what you said about doubt and discouragement. But sadly, I do. That’s when we have to turn off the outside voices and influences and just write. Please power through.

    • abbieroads - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Hi Carrie!

      Doubt and discouragement–can anyone survive this industry without doubting their journey and feeling discouraged? I know I’ve been discouraged and doubted. I think this is just one of those industries where it’s a bit more prevalent.

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Outside voices are a conundrum, aren’t they? Sometimes they are exactly what you need, and sometimes they are just the opposite.

      The strange thing is, usually I am a severely private person. Hardly anyone knew what I’ve been going through for the past two years because I let those outside voices kick me too much. I let them make me suffer in silence. Now I know how to muzzle them, where before I was just making futile “SHHH” noises at them.

  23. Laura Critchfield - October 1, 2015 Reply

    Thanks Abbie for this interview, and thank you, Hanna, for sharing your story. It’s very timely for me, and in reading through the comments it seems there are a lot of writers who feel the same way. It was wonderful to hear you speak at the NEORWA conference in may, and I just want you to know that your editing process has really helped me, I’m getting ready to apply it to my second manuscript. Thanks for your honesty, Laura

    • abbieroads - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Hi Laura!

      At one point or another, I think almost all writers have the same struggle as Hanna. It’s good for us to talk about it. See that we’re not alone.

  24. Shelly Chalmers - October 1, 2015 Reply

    Hanna,
    You’re very brave for sharing your story. And indeed, this industry and writing itself can make it so hard sometimes to keep the faith in your ability and commitment to your passion.

    I’ve been writing for almost as long as I can remember, and submitting for at least 10 years. I remain pre-published with over 10 complete books (though certainly some ought never to be read!!) What I finally discovered was that I needed 3 things to survive: first, I needed to know why I wrote, which also helped me know why I could keep going. For me, not writing isn’t an option…even if I’m the only one who reads it. The second thing I created was my personal list of reasons I couldn’t quit, even at the lowest, worst times which I pull out and read for my own validation when I need it. And the third is a support system. I finally found this with my GH sisters and fantabulous crit partner.

    Whatever you choose, I hope it will be the best for you. But I also hope you hang in there, because you are a writer, and a writer writes. 🙂

    • abbieroads - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Hi Shelly!

      I love list of 3 things to survive. Such important things on there!

      And your turn is coming. It’s just over the horizon!

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      I’m going to do this today, on your suggestion: make a list of things of why I write, personal reasons why I maybe shouldn’t quit, remind myself of support system. THANK YOU, Shelly.

  25. Kathleen - September 30, 2015 Reply

    Hanna,
    I met you awhile back at Chicago North’s Spring Fling. You impressed me with your bubbly personality. And you signed your book LIQUID LIES for me. I still have it on my shelf of books by authors I enjoyed meeting in person. Thank you for sharing your honesty. All jobs have their ups and downs. I hope you refind the joy of creating worlds I can escape into.

    • abbieroads - September 30, 2015 Reply

      Hi Kathleen!

      I met Hanna at NEORWA’s spring conference! Hanna must really get around!

  26. Jenn Windrow - September 30, 2015 Reply

    Hey Hanna-

    Being a writer that writes in a not-wanted-by-any-editor-or-agent-alive genre, I get where you are coming from, but don’t let that get you down. You will get through this, thrive and like Shelly said, shine!! We all go through the slump, but it’s when you have people who stand beside you and tell you that you are awesome and loved and really, really, really kick ass, that you can get through anything.

    Just know that we all know where you are and we all believe that you will whether the storm and move into the sunshine.

    • abbieroads - September 30, 2015 Reply

      Hi Jenn!

      Having a support system in this industry is so important! It’s a lifeline!

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      One of the things that has brought me great peace is accepting and owning the fact that I will probably always write books that appeal to a fringe group and not necessarily the large numbers that publishing embraces. I used to approach it like “why don’t more people love this??!!” and now I’m like “But the people who do love it get me…and that’s pretty darn cool.”

      I am totally fist-bumping you with the “not-wanted-by-any-editor-or-agent-alive genre.” Atta girl. 🙂

  27. Shelly Alexander - September 30, 2015 Reply

    Don’t give up, Hanna! It will happen when you least expect it, and BAM! It’ll be your time to shine! It’s hard to bare your heart and soul to people and share your doubts. That shows how passionate you are about writing, because it would be easy to NOT think about your struggles if it didn’t touch something so deep in you. Keep going, and eventually you’ll get through the storm.

    • abbieroads - September 30, 2015 Reply

      Hi Shelly!

      It’s funny how success kinda sneaks up on a person isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      You’ve completely smashed the nail head, Shelly. 🙂 I think if I didn’t care so much, I’d shrug and move on quickly, or make rash, not-smart decisions (like I have in the past). But instead I’m taking time to internalize and consider, and it’s so much more peaceful. I feel like I’m picking my path step by step, and it feels good.

  28. Erika Kelly - September 30, 2015 Reply

    Hi Hanna! I don’t think there’s a writer out there who doesn’t understand what you’re going through. I’ve been writing a really long time–which means I have enough rejection letters to wallpaper the Pentagon. But longevity has its benefits. It allows you to hang onto your humility because you see that success comes and goes. I don’t know if you went to RWA this year, but Barbara Freethy told her story of how she had to reinvent herself 4 times. Each time she got a contract, she thought she’d made it. She could relax and just write. And each time her publisher cut her loose. I have another friend who won the GH more than ten years ago–with her first book–but she’s still not published. Heartbreaking! BUT she took an online voice class and, to her tremendous surprise, a whole new voice popped out when she was doing an exercise. It caused her to switch genres, and now she’s so much happier. But the great thing about this business is that there’s truly a place for all of us. Each of our voices, our storytelling styles, those of us who write quickly, those who take a long time. There’s a place of all of us–we just aren’t always able to see our path. That’s just the nature of a career in the arts. I wish you all the best on this oftentimes frustrating journey!

    • abbieroads - September 30, 2015 Reply

      Hi Erika!

      “There’s a place for all of us–we just aren’t always able to see our path.” Beautiful words! No wonder you’re a writer: )

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Erika, I want to kiss you! I’m also going to copy and paste this answer…somewhere. Write in on my bathroom mirror in lipstick maybe.

      I didn’t go to RWA this year because of the whole “switching genres” thing–I’m really not sure more romance writing is in my future. But it sounds like maybe I should have, like I would’ve benefitted greatly from Barbara’s words. You always hate to take good things from other people’s suffering, but since she did manage to pull herself up, it is incredibly encouraging.

      I am considering switching genres, but not moving within romance. Something totally different. I don’t know. I still have a lot of thinking and growing to do.

      Thank you a million times over for this. Take care.

  29. Denny S. Bryce - September 30, 2015 Reply

    Thanks for your candor. I’m on the other end of the process. I’m pre-published. I hope the pendulum swings back the other way for you soon. You are courageous to share this part of your journey. Thank you.

    • abbieroads - September 30, 2015 Reply

      Hi Denny!

      I’m pre-published too. Somehow I feel like reading Hanna’s story has prepared me a bit better for whatever will come when my books do come out.

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Oh goodness, please don’t be discouraged by my tiny sad violins, hahahaha! My journey is so different than every other author’s out there.

      You have so much to look forward to. Truly.

      All my best!

  30. Amy Patrick - September 30, 2015 Reply

    Hi Hanna! I loved your honesty and my heart really goes out to you. This is such a tough business. I believe in following your peace. That being said, I’ve attended more than a few workshops where the author talked about her own struggles or failures or whatever you want to call them and how things turned around eventually. We all have to be masters of re-invention at some point in our lives and careers. When you love to write and can do it well, there is always another book, and that means there’s always another chance to succeed (whatever success means to you individually.) I wish the very best for you. 🙂

    • abbieroads - September 30, 2015 Reply

      Hi Amy!

      I love your philosophy “there always another book and that means there’s always another chance to succeed.” Perfect!

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      “…there’s always another chance to succeed (whatever success means to you individually.)”

      I love this line so much. Thank you for taking the time to comment here. Often we get caught up in other people’s definitions of success. What has fed me my biggest slice of peace is realizing that my “success” is different than what other writers have espoused as theirs.

  31. Julie Mulhern - September 30, 2015 Reply

    Hanna,

    I was fortunate enough to sign contracts with two publishers. One series has taken off. The other is dying.

    If I didn’t have the successful series to give me confidence, I’d be questioning everything.

    What I have learned over the course of this year is that luck exists.

    Why one series and not the others? Luck.

    I wish you luck wherever your road takes you.

    • abbieroads - September 30, 2015 Reply

      Hi Julie!

      You sure make a good point about luck!

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      See, that’s so interesting that one is doing well but the other isn’t. I’m so glad for the one that is! Good-on-ya! (as they say in Australia) I understand fully how confusing that can be.

      And yes, I now believe (much more than before) that luck truly does play a large role in an author’s success.

      Thanks so much, Julie. All the best to you!

  32. abbieroads - September 30, 2015 Reply

    Hi Hanna!

    Thanks for being a part of Author on the Couch and sharing your writerly struggles here.

    A few years ago–2013–I almost quit writing. It seemed like EVERY message I was getting about my writing was “it sucks.” I freaked out thinking about all the time I’d spent away from my family to write when I so obviously sucked at it. I was mortified at all the money I’d spent to learn how to do it–and I STILL sucked. I felt like a total loser.

    And then one random person–Amy DeLuca–contacted me to tell me she enjoyed reading my manuscript in the Golden Heart Contest–and gave me perfect scores. That little spark of positive was all I needed to get my flame burning bright again.

    • Hanna Martine - October 1, 2015 Reply

      Abbie, thanks so much for having me. When you asked me to participate in this when we met back in May, I was so eager. I was also so sure that I would have a better, more positive interview to post by October. Alas!

      You know, what’s interesting is that when I was pre-published, the messages I took away from rejections were “I suck.” What’s changed is that now I know I don’t suck…but that I must be just not hitting the “right” notes.

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