- Hannah's emotions seem very true to life. What kind of research did you do to shape her character? First, thank you. I’m pleased to know you think Hannah’s a believable character.
What research I did revealed what I think is pretty much general knowledge and common sense: victims have trust issues and difficulty forming relationships; that abusive behaviors are not genetic, they’re learned; that fear and terror can be as motivating as they are crippling, etc. I didn’t do a lot.
Empathy, I believe, works the same for writers as it does for readers in that if we can’t relate to a person or a character in a particular situation directly most of us are capable of the compassion required to understand and, hopefully, share the feelings and emotions of someone else as if they are our own. It’s how Hannah came to life for me and, I hope, how you connected with her.
2. Why did you want to bring light to domestic violence/family abuse? I didn’t. Unfortunately, I’m not that socially motivated. I was simply telling Hannah’s story. However, if I‘ve accidently flipped over an ugly rock that isn’t disturbed nearly often enough then so much the better. I can’t take any moral credit for it but I’m glad it happened.
3. Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you take any inspiration from them?
Oh man. There are so many great authors out there and they all inspire me: Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, Georgette Heyer, Patricia Gaffney, so many more … and in no particular order. But I think the crusty goodness on my crème brulee would be Elinor Lipman who writes a mixed bag of sharp dialogue, wonderful humor, social satire and genuine emotion that appeals to me. Elizabeth Berg who is an incredible wordsmith – her stories are wonderful but she also chooses and strings her words together in the most beautiful way. Jeanne Ray who doesn’t publish often enough, if you ask me. And Lois McMaster Bujold who has a masterpiece character in Miles Vorkosigan. I love believable characters, from any era or genre, who can see humor in the best and the worst of the human condition and circumstances.
4. In three words how would you describe What Happened to Hannah? Hope. Courage. Family.
5. What are you working on now? I’m about half done with Something About Sophie which should be out in 2013. It's a story about the destructive forces of guilt and about the importance of honesty ... particularly to yourself. It's a story about hope, too, I think, and the good things that can sometimes come from bad situations. But mostly it’s about the power of love and the things people do, both right and wrong, to protect it.
Thanks for the invite, Bookangel. Great blog.