Thank you for joining me for this exciting Author Spotlight!
First – my interview with Hannah:
1) I love your pen name… is there a story behind it?
Yes there is. My website, http://www.hannahalexander.com tells the story about how Mel and I met. He started reading all the unpublished novels soon after we began seeing each other. After we were married, he gave me some good medical insights into the manuscripts and I based my male characters on him. Then we began writing a series of ER suspense together. I wanted to emphasize that we worked as a team, so I chose the first name, Hannah, because I identified with pre-Samuel Hannah in the Bible. Mel chose Alexander because it means “servant of mankind,” and he likes to believe he serves mankind as a physician.
2) How does it feel writing alongside your husband? How much input does he give?
Working with a cowriter can be very difficult, especially when that cowriter has a full-time, demanding job, so I’m the writer of the team, he’s the technical specialist who helps me with the medical scenes and helps edit. We’ve always worked well together as a team so it’s very important to us.
3) How does it feel being a published author? Have you encountered any surprises along the way to being published?
It feels good to be published. Our first Hannah Alexander novel was relased in 1998, and they’ve been coming out every since. I count myself extremely blessed.
My first surprise was that, after writing for fourteen years without being published, an editor actually called me to ask to publish my work. Soon after, three more editors from three publishing houses wanted the ER suspense novel we had just finished. I wasn’t surprised, however, that it took so long to have a book published by a traditional publisher. It took me that long to develop my writing skills, and I’ll never be sorry I took that much time.
4) Have you attended any writer retreats, conferences and the like? Do you think they are necessary — or helpful — for your writing?
I attended my first writing conference a month after I sat down to write my first novel, and I’ve never stopped. They are vital to learn how to write, learn what publishers want, what readers want, and to find friends who understand the mindset of a novelist. I’ve also read how-to books on writing since I first began, and I’ve read hundreds of well-written novels to learn the craft. It’s the only way to grow as a writer.
5) Which character in your “Hallowed Halls” series most interested you while you wrote? Why?
My most interesting character, to me, is Molly at this point. She has a secret, and it hasn’t been revealed yet. I’m presently working on the revelation on the book I’m working on now.
6) Many best-selling authors are self-publishing novels… would you consider self-publishing? What advantages/disadvantages do you think there would be in self-publishing?
I would never have considered self-publishing when I began my first novel because I knew I had a lot to learn. I was once told by an accomplished novelist that learning to write an excellent novel that others will want to read should take as much time and effort as it would take a person to become a brain surgeon. For me, that’s how long it has taken. I’ve seen too many careers cut short when someone published his or her own work without having it edited, having a professional cover, and without knowing how to write a readable story. Many of those best-selling self-pubbed novelists had to jump the hoops of a traditional publishing house first. Now that I know how to write a novel, I can see many advantages to indie publishing, but that’s after decades of being forced to do it right by a horde of editors. A good editor is a writer’s best friend.
7) What are you working on now? Is there another genre you are interested in writing?
I’m working on the third book in the Hallowed Halls series, and I plan to write more in this same genre. I might someday go back to deeper suspense writing, but at this time I’m enjoying the characters in this series.
“You’re a doctor? You could help me paralyze someone, then, couldn’t you?” – curious yet? – Tweet this!
Now, a bit more about Hannah – including that story she mentioned earlier…
“YOU’RE A DOCTOR?” Cheryl leaned toward Mel and raised her voice to be heard over the din of Mazzio diners.
“You could help me paralyze someone, then, couldn’t you?”
Mel stared at her with some trepidation. This was the “nice young lady” his pastor, Brother Ron, wanted him to meet? “Um . . . well . . . what, exactly, did you–”
“I’d better explain myself,” she said with a smile. “I write novels. I’m doing research on book number thirteen, and I need one of my characters to be paralyzed through part of the story. Any idea how I could do that without damaging him permanently?”
With relief and sudden interest, Mel gave her all the information she needed. Actually, she received more than she needed, in detail. He couldn’t understand why she only ate half a slice of pizza the whole evening.
Thus was Cheryl’s introduction into the world of an emergency room physician. It was Mel’s introduction into fiction. They were both fascinated. A year and a half later, they were married.
The fascination grew as Mel shared more of his world and Cheryl’s imagination took over. Together they generated ideas for a story. With Mel’s medical input, encouragement and help with plotting, and Cheryl’s writing skills, they developed their first novel together, and called it
Both Mel and Cheryl Hodde (pronounced Hoddee) dreamed of their chosen professions since they were children. Mel remembers the decision he made when he was ten years old to become a physician.
At the time his dream was to be an old-time country doctor who knew all his patients as well as he knew his own family, prayed for them, and sometimes even accepted chickens for payment.
Although his career didn’t develop in the way he expected, he can’t imagine anything more rewarding, especially now that he is able to incorporate his knowledge into novels with his wife.
Cheryl remembers composing songs and stories before she knew her ABC’s. When she wrote her first romance novel in 1985 she realized that no romance, and no life, can be right without Christ at the center, and so that was how she wrote—with Christ at the center. After she and Mel got married in 1995, they worked together on rewrites of her previous manuscripts. This time, when she marketed them, they began to gain notice from publishers. Three of her first novels, entitled The Healing Promise, Ozark Sunrise, and A Living Soul have now been published by Heartsong Presents under the name of Hannah Alexander.
“I hope this is just the beginning,” Cheryl says. “Mel and I have a lot of stories yet to write.”
Want to know the story behind Hannah Alexander’s name? – Tweet this!
Thank You Hannah… and God bless you!
Today’s the last day to enter Hannah’s GIVEAWAY contest!
If you haven’t entered, click the link below!
God bless you!
Interview © 2015 DJ Mynatt