Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Author Interview: Annette Hannah

Today it's my pleasure to welcome blogger and author Annette Hannah to the blog to celebrate the publication of her latest book Poppy's Christmas Wishes which is published this Thursday.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how your writing journey started?
Hi, I’m originally from Liverpool but moved to Hertfordshire in the eighties with my husband. We now have three grown up children and a cocker spaniel. I’d always wanted to write but didn’t really know where to start and I’ve always been an avid reader. One day I saw a message on Facebook asking for fans of Milly Johnson to be part of a promotional team called #TeamMilly. I put my name forward and was one of the lucky ones to be chosen. I can honestly say it changed my life. I’d not long lost my Mum and was feeling quite lost at the time but then I was being invited to afternoon tea at the Grosvenor House hotel in London with Milly and all the team. Then I was invited to a Spring Blogger evening as Simon and Schuster Head Office. I didn’t know what to expect but I saw five wonderful authors launching their books, including Milly Johnson and Heidi Swain who was promoting her debut at the time. I went home and told my daughter about the event and she said I can set a blog up for you and that’s when Sincerely Book Angels was born and I became a blogger. It wasn’t long before my quotes were appearing on my favourite authors’ books and I just couldn’t believe it. I loved blogging because it was so exciting reading books well in advance of them being published and being invited to launch parties and meeting some absolutely wonderful people. The other thing with blogging was that it helped me to find my voice and to be brave enough to share what I wrote with others.

Having been involved with #TeamBATC over at Simon and Schuster with the lovely Sara-Jade Virtue I became aware of their #ONEDAY #DigitalOriginals where un-agented authors can submit to them. I plucked up the courage to write three chapters to send in but then I panicked and thought what if they want more, so I panic wrote the rest of the book in three weeks. It got rejected but that didn’t matter because I’d fulfilled my lifelong ambition and written a book. It was an amazing feeling and that book was actually Poppy’s Christmas Wishes which has since been through several rounds of editing.

I wrote a book a year after that and when Simon and Schuster asked for a full of my third attempt, I knew I must be getting close. That one was rejected too but last year I submitted it to Dash Digital who are now Orion Dash and I was offered my first two book deal. That book was Wedding Bells at the Signal Box Café and this year I’ve been offered another two book deal with Poppy’s Christmas Wishes being the first of those. It’s been an exciting journey and is a real dream come true.

If you had to give an elevator pitch for your latest book Poppy's Christmas Wishes, what would it be? 
Poppy Kale has moved two hundred miles to be with her boyfriend only to be dumped by him when he changes his mind. She gives up on Christmas but when best friend Layla drags her to a ball, she meets handsome actor Gabe who is currently playing a genie in a musical. He asks what her three wishes would be and offers to help make them come true. Will she win back her ex or does the magic of Christmas have something else in store for her.

What would you wish for if you were granted three wishes?

For the first time she can remember, Poppy is dreading Christmas. Unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend after moving across the country for him, there's nothing cheery about the festive season this year.

Dragged to a Christmas ball by best friend Layla, Poppy meets gorgeous actor Gabe, who stars as a genie in a play. When he asks her what three wishes she would make, she realises it's quite simple: love, a job she's happy in and, just once in her life, to do something extraordinary.

Gabe and Poppy make a pact to help each other make their dreams come true. As they tick off their wishes, their friendship blossoms... But, as they discover, sometimes, what you want for Christmas isn't necessarily what you need...

If you were to be granted three wishes like Poppy, what would they be? 
Ooh that’s a good question. I’d obviously choose world peace and get rid of illnesses but if you want me to be selfish I would wish that my children all find true happiness, my books get made into movies and I’d wish that I could have had much longer with my mum.

What are the challenges of writing a festive story outside of the season? 
I think if the weather is sunny outside it can be hard to get in the mood for Christmas but I watch Christmas movies and light a festive candle to get me in the mood. I would happily watch Christmas movies all year round. 

As a former blogger how are you feeling now that the shoe is on the other foot and it's your own books that are now out in the world being reviewed? 
I am still blogging but have had to cut it down quite a bit. I still can’t quite believe it’s all happened to be honest and it feels like it’s happening to someone else. I think bloggers do amazing work and I’m thrilled to have made so many friends in the blogging world who have welcomed me as an author with open arms and have really cheered me on. I am also conscious that I supply you with all the relevant information you need.

Which comes first for you, characters or plot?
Ooh that’s a great question, let me think. Quite often a title comes to me first of all and my notebooks are full of titles that appear to me out of the blue. I think for the first two published books it was the Signal Box and the Cupcake Van which I think were almost characters in themselves and for Poppy’s Christmas Wishes it was most definitely the character of the genie that came first. Yes thinking about it I would say the characters come first for me, especially because in The Cosy Little Cupcake Van the main character Camilla was a side character in Wedding Bells at the Signal Box Café.

If any of your books were to be made into a film, who would be your dream cast for the leading roles? 
Well my daughter has already asked if she can be the leading lady in all my books so far. But if she can’t make it then I think Jodie Comer is a fantastic actress and like Poppy she comes from Liverpool and I think Jean Rege Page would be brilliant as Gabe. Emilia Clarke would be fab as Layla. 

If you could give some advice to your younger self about writing, what would it be? 
Funny enough I give it to my children all the time and just say go for it but it’s building up the confidence to do it that’s the hard bit. I’m amazed at how many authors are managing to write as well as hold down full time jobs and raise a family. I’m lucky in that I was offered voluntary redundancy at my last job and I was able to give up work whereas when I was younger I wouldn’t have been able to do that.

What advice would you give to other aspiring authors who are thinking about writing a novel? 
Just write anything down that comes into your head, sometimes it can be very hard to get started but if you push through that you’ll soon find yourself drifting into the imaginary world that you’ve created and it’s a wonderful feeling. Also get together with other writers as they know how you feel and are usually a great support. I met lots of like minded people through blogging and also by joining the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

What would you say is the best thing about writing? And on the flip side, what is the hardest? 
Seeing a book with your name on it is amazing but the best feeling is when the reader gets it and talks to you about the characters as though they are your mutual friends. I love it when that happens.

The hardest thing about writing is definitely the rejections although I always try to find something positive in a rejection, especially if they’ve provided feedback.

Thank you so much for having me on your fabulous blog Sharon, I feel very honoured.

Annette x 

About the Author

Annette Hannah is a Liver Bird who relocated to leafy Hertfordshire in the 80's and now lives near a river with her husband, two of their three grown up children and a crazy black cocker spaniel. She writes Romantic comedies in settings inspired by the beautiful countryside around her and always with a nod to her hometown.

She worked in Marketing for many years as a qualified Marketeer which she loved as it tapped into her creative side.

As an avid reader, she began to review the books she read, became a book blogger and eventually plucked up the courage to fulfil her life long dream of writing a book.

For four years she was a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association's new writers' scheme, during which time she wrote a book a year.

After signing a two book deal with Orion Dash in 2020 she graduated to full member of the organisation and is also their Press Officer.

She loves long walks along the river, travelling to far flung places and spending time with her friends and family.

You can follow her on

Twitter: @annettehannah 
Blog: www.sincerelybookangels.blogspot.com 
Website: www.annettehannah.com

No comments:

Post a Comment