Today, I have the pleasure of talking with Hannah Lynn, the Award Winning Author of The Afterlife of Walter Augustus about her latest debut novel, Peas, Carrots & an Aston Martin that was released October 4, 2018.
Donna: Hannah, I want to begin by thanking you for stopping by my blog today during your blog tour to talk about your debut novel, Peas, Carrots & an Aston Martin that was launched earlier this month. I imagine you are still in a heightened state of exhilaration. Not only have you released your third novel, Peas, Carrots & an Aston Martin, but you won Kindle’s Storyteller Contest for 2018, with your second novel, The Afterlife of Walter Augustus. This is quite an achievement, especially when your novel was one of the top five books. And you won! So, not only do I want to congratulate you on the release of your third novel but also offer you mega congratulations on being Kindle’s 2018 Storyteller winner.
Donna: Hannah, how are you managing to keep your feet on the ground? You were about to release a new novel, you were notified you were on the Kindle’s 2018 Shortlist, and you were selected as the winner. That’s a lot happening simultaneously. Your emotions had to be all over the place, and likely still are. Would you mind sharing what this amazing experience has been like for you?
Hannah: Thank you so much for having me here, Donna. I am a great fan of your blog. The Storyteller Awards was an amazing experience. Just meeting the other authors and people at the event was incredible in itself. The fact that I won didn’t really sink in until the day after.
Donna: Thank you for being a fan of my blog, Hannah. I genuinely appreciate that, but you are the STORY today. The grand prize was £20,000, but I understand you will receive a marketing campaign for your book on Amazon.co.uk, the opportunity to have your novel translated for international sales, a mentoring session with a bestselling Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) author, and a Kindle Oasis. Allow me to put this in perspective for everyone that reads this post. Amazon received over six thousand entries for this year’s Storyteller Contest and, Hannah Lynn is the winner! I am so happy for you. I remember you tweeting from the train as you were on your way to the Royal Society of London for the awards ceremony. I found your tweet to be a mixture of excitement, joy, and anticipation. I was so proud of you. What was it like for you when you were announced as the Kindle 2018 Storyteller winner?
Hannah: It was a massive surprise, for certain! I was there with my friend as my husband had to stay home and look after our daughter. (We really didn’t think I had any chance of winning.) When I finally got a chance to ring him, I just said everything was great and forgot to tell him I won!
Donna: You forgot to tell your husband you won? How funny. You had to be really amped up with your win. For those who may not know what the Kindle Storytelling Contest is, or what we are talking about, I am going to include the link to the Kindle Storyteller page.
The following came from Amazon’s Storyteller page, “The Kindle Storyteller Award 2018 is a literary prize recognising outstanding writing. It was open to writers publishing in English in any genre, who published their work through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) before 31 August 2018. Readers play a significant role in selecting the winner, helped by a panel of judges including TV celebrity Lorraine Kelly and various book industry experts.”
I cannot emphasize this enough, but readers do play a role in an authors work, whether it’s book sakes, winning awards and contests, etc., so readers that are reading this, if you read a book, please write a book review. – D.B. Moone
Donna: Speaking of awards, a TV celebrity, Hannah? Do you know Lorraine Kelly? You do realize that you are going places with your writing, don’t you? Have you given any thought to giving up your day job as a physics teacher?
Hannah: Lorraine Kelly was so lovely. It was bizarre listening to her talking about my book and telling me how much she loved it. It was completely surreal if I’m honest. Currently, I don’t have any plans to give up my day job.
Donna: £20,000 is a lot of money to a lot of people. Do you have any festive plans to spend some of your winnings on a family vacation, or maybe buying yourself a new Aston Martin?
Hannah: Yes, £20,000 is a lot of money. It’s been a long time since we owned any type of sports car — it’s all about car seats and buggies in the back now! Most of the money will go back into writing; paying for editors, etc. but there will probably be a little holiday in there too somewhere.
Donna: We have yet to discuss your latest novel Peas, Carrots & an Aston Martin, but before we do I have to ask you if you have given any thought to all of the exciting events happening in your life all at once?
Hannah: To be honest, I have been so rushed off my feet with the day job, that I haven’t had time to think about anything. But half-term is coming up, which will give me a little time to take stock of all the things that are going on.
Donna: OK, let’s chat about Peas, Carrots & an Aston Martin since you’re here to promote your latest novel on your blog tour. And Speaking of blog tours, what is it that you are looking to accomplish with your blog tour?
Hannah: I think the thing I have enjoyed most about participating in blog tours before is the chance to connect with readers and find readers that connect with me and my books. Readers and bloggers invest a great deal of time into what they do, as do authors, so it’s really rewarding to form a bond in this manner.
Donna: I agree with the bonds that are formed between authors and readers, or authors and bloggers. The relationships are equally important to me as a reader, blogger, and writer. Hannah, your novel Peas, Carrots & an Aston Martin debuted October 4, 2018. Since today is October 21, 2018, it’s probably safe to assume you have been inundated with marketing your book while making your rounds on your blog tour. Is all of the extra work wearing on you yet, or has your adrenaline from the excitement of having your third novel published, coupled with being the Kindle 2018 Storyteller winner at the same time given you a boost of energy?
Hannah: The adrenaline is definitely still in full flow! Each day on a blog tour is different. You put yourself out there and are completely vulnerable, and that is the same on the last day, just as much as the first. It doesn’t stop when the blog tour does, either!
Donna: I’ve seen how much time and effort goes into marketing the release of a new novel. Marketing can begin to wear on you after a while. Taking care of yourself is equally as important as marketing. As an Indie author, Hannah what do you see as your greatest fears, frustrations, and roadblocks?
Hannah: There are definite roadblocks. We have to do a lot ourselves, like find editors, cover designers and so on. When investing in something like an editor, this can have a massive bearing on how your novel is received. Selecting the wrong one can have an extremely detrimental effect, which includes financial implications. There’s a fair bit of stress involved!
Donna: I’ve heard some of the same frustrations from other Indie writers. On the other end of the spectrum, Hannah what are the most positive and advantageous aspects of being an Indie author?
Hannah: I see myself as a storyteller and being an Indie author gives me the freedom to tell the stories closest to my heart. Whether that’s speculative fiction or contemporary humour. I have also gotten to know some fantastic people, such as many of the bloggers I have worked with.
Donna: Yes. Connections, bonding, and networking. I believe bloggers feel the same way. Speaking for myself, I find these connections are the best part of my blogging experience.
Hannah, Amazon provides the following description of Peas, Carrots & an Aston Martin: “When George Sibley dies, his only son, Eric, has no idea that his inheritance will come with conditions. Now, if Eric is to ever get his hands on his father’s treasured Aston Martin, he must somehow juggle his hectic career and family life in the city, with regular visits to the small riverside town of Burlam. Life for Eric quickly becomes a chaotic kaleidoscope of grumpy pensioners, wellington boots and vintage automobiles, fraught with heavy machinery mishaps, missed deadlines and drug raids, the result of which leaves his marriage, job and sanity hanging in the balance.”
“Peas, Carrots & an Aston Martin is a light-hearted and humorous tale of a man who reluctantly goes digging amongst the weeds in order to discover his roots.”
Donna: Is this a good description or is there anything else you would like to add while avoiding spoiler alerts?
Hannah: I think it’s a book that will tug at the heartstrings, with moments of tenderness and the odd little tear jerker in there too.
Donna: Peas, Carrots & an Aston Martin is your third novel. Would you mind telling us a little about of your last two books, Amendments and The Afterlife of Walter Augustus?
Hannah: Of course:
Amendments is a speculative fiction novel. Everyone gets the chance to send two messages back to their former selves in order to keep their lives on track. The story follows Emelia and her dysfunctional sister, Finola, as they try to navigate an increasingly complex series of events.
Available for purchase at:
WINNER OF THE 2018 KINDLE STORYTELLER AWARD: The Afterlife of Walter Augustus is a more light-hearted novel. The premise is simple after you die, you remain in a place called the Interim until you have been forgotten by the living. The story deals with Walter’s clumsy attempts to erase himself from history so he can move on to the next stage of the afterlife. Available for purchase at:
Donna: Both novels sound intriguing; I’ve added both books to my ‘to read’ list and to my Oasis and I am looking forward to a Hannah Lynn reading day. Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your first two novels, Hannah.
Hannah: I’m glad to be able to share.
Donna: Are your books available in paperbacks as well as the e-book version?
Hannah: Yes they are. You can order them as paperbacks through Amazon.
Donna: Hannah, your novel Peas, Carrots & an Aston Martin has the potential for more growth. Are you considering a series?
Hannah: Yes, the next books are well on the way, and will be a part of The Allotment Saga Series, with Peas, Carrots & and Aston Martin as the first in the series.
Donna: From my experience as a reader, I’m a fan of book series, or sequels, especially the books I read and upon reading the last page I’m lost and disappointed, feeling as if there should be more. I’ve read books that the end was the end, even though there was the potential of life left in the story. It’s good to know Peas, Carrots & and Aston Martin will live on. Do you know how many books you will write to complete The Allotment Saga Series?
Hannah: I am currently working on Book 3, but see the series as an ongoing story, although at this stage I’m not quite sure where the characters will take me beyond that.
Donna: As a writer myself, I believe there’s an inner voice, or perhaps it’s the character’s voice that tells us, “Okay, this is the end of the line; wrap it up.” Your author instinct will know when it’s time to end the series and move on to something else. Would you mind sharing where your inspiration for Peas, Carrots & an Aston Martin came from?
Hannah: I am a keen fan of both vintage cars and gardening. After years of being desperate to grow my own vegetables, this year my family finally acquired a small allotment plot — although the novel was written before this, I got to put plenty of my research to practical use! My love of cars comes from a vintage (not in a good way at all) Porsche my husband, and I had when we first moved in together. It was completely impractical and swallowed up all our money, but we had such fantastic times driving around the countryside in her.
Donna: A vintage Porsche! Nice! Perhaps there is an Aston Martin in your future after all. I’ve heard that your new novel is similar to Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series, which I read many years ago and believe it or not, I still have the books today. Did Tales of the City influence your writing of Peas, Carrots & an Aston Martin?
Hannah: I still have the books on my bookshelf too! I think what drew me to the Tales of the City and what I find reflected in Peas, Carrots & an Aston Martin is the humour, love, and compassion that can be found in ordinary lives. People who make mistakes, people who are still finding their way. There’s something comforting and yet alluring about books that manage to portray this.
Donna: And there is a good chance that this is why I still have my books. If nothing else, they are a reminder that none of us are perfect and we do make mistakes. Thank goodness for love and compassion. If Hollywood approached you about taking Peas, Carrots & an Aston Martin to the big screen, who would you like to get the parts of your lead characters?
Hannah: I am not too sure. I know there is a part in the second book that I envision entirely as Julie Walters, but in the first book, I’m not so sure. I think Colin Hanks could play a great Eric and perhaps Kate Winslet as Suzy?
Donna: I can actually see Colin Hanks playing Eric, and who doesn’t love Kate Winslet? Speaking of more books, what was it that inspired you to become a writer, Hannah?
Hannah: The power of books is immense. I have a lot of stories I want to tell, and that’s obviously a strong driving factor behind my writing, but there’s also the ability to allow people to see things from a different viewpoint that you can’t get any other way. I have thought about stopping writing more than once — I would have so much more time on my hands — but it’s not possible. I can’t go a day without writing something or other.
Donna: I understand the drive. I have to read, and I have to write, or I feel off. The more I read, the more I write. It’s as if my reading is bait for my writing. Who are some of your favorite authors, books and historical figures that have been influential on you and your life, Hannah?
Hannah: I will always remember the moment I discovered Neil Gaiman. I was late to the game, first stumbling across The Ocean At The End Of The Lane in a bookstore when it had first been released. I read it in a day, then went back and bought another three of his books. William Kamkwamba has been influential on me, not only in his ability to help me explain transformers to Grade 12 physics students but because of the way he optimizes the strength of the human spirit in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Lastly, I love Murakami, not only due to the beauty of his writing but its breadth. On the other end of the spectrum, Danny Wallace showed me early on that reading doesn’t have to be serious all the time.
Donna: I think if all I read were somber books it would blunt my writing. I have a witty personality, and I have to let it show itself when it shows up while I’m writing. This is why, as you said, read multi-genre books. And speaking of reading, what are you currently reading, or what were you reading before the publication of Peas, Carrots & an Aston Martin, book marketing and blog tours?
Hannah: I have just finished My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologies, which I absolutely loved. I was also after something a little cheerier after previously reading, Things Fall Apart, for the first time.
Donna: Whether you are reading or writing, do you have a preferred writing genre, Hannah?
Hannah: To be honest, no. I have ideas I want to write. It often feels like what genre they fall into is out of my hands.
Donna: I believe this. I’ve got three manuscripts going; actually, I put one away for a while, but all three manuscripts are different genres. I don’t think of the genre when I’m writing. It will be what it is when the manuscript is complete. So, who is Hannah when you aren’t writing?
Hannah: I am a mum to an amazingly cheeky three-year-old, owner of two cats and a Physics teacher.
Donna: You’ve got a full plate before you ever sit down to write, Hannah. I admire your drive. Do you have any words of inspiration for writers that are just beginning to write?
Hannah: Read. Find the best books you can. Read them for pleasure, but also, read them to learn from.
Donna: That’s excellent advice, Hannah. Read, read, read, and don’t stop reading when you start writing. I’m a firm believer in the more we read, the better writers we become. Hannah, It has been such a pleasure featuring you on my blog today. Thank you for opening up and sharing your writing life, as well as some of your personal experiences with our readers today. I wish you great success with Peas, Carrots & an Aston Martin, and its series. Will you come back when you publish your next book?
Hannah: I would really love that. Thank you so much for having me here.
Donna: It has been my pleasure, Hannah. I look forward to having you as a guest on my blog again.
Peas, Carrots & an Aston Martin is available for purchase at:
About Hannah M. Lynn
Hannah M. Lynn was born in 1984 and grew up in the Cotswolds, UK. After graduating from university, she spent ten years as a teacher of physics, first in the UK and then around Asia. It was during this time, inspired by the imaginations of the young people she taught, she began writing short stories for children, and later adult fiction. Her first novel, Amendments, was published in 2015, her latest novel, The Afterlife of Walter Augustus, is out July 2018. Now as a teacher, writer, wife, and mother, she is currently living in the Austrian Alps.
Read more about Hannah Lynn and her books here: Hannah Lynn’s Amazon Author’s Page
Hannah Lynn is giving away an Amazon $50 gift card and five paperback copies of Peas, Carrots & an Aston Martin through a Rafflecopter giveaway. To enter for a chance to win click on the Rafflecopter Giveaway link below.
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