I have a lovely guest with me today, none other than the debut fairy-tale author, HANNA SANDVIG! If you haven't had a chance to see her beautiful book, then behold.
Isn't that cover gorgeous? Even more amazing, she did it herself. YES, she is ALSO an artist and has a book cover business, so check out the links to her sites at the end of this post. A self-published fairytale author/artist named Hanna, OBVIOUSLY you can see why I had to interview her, lol. So let's get to the questions!
What is your self-publishing journey? What led you to take this leap? What were the smartest moves or biggest mistakes you made in the process?
I started out in the indie publishing world as a book cover artist. My mom is an author, and she was initially published by a small press who hired me to do her covers on her recommendation. When she decided to go indie, I kept doing her covers, and then started doing covers for other authors as well. I still do a lot of freelance work, but it’s mainly maps for books now, which is so much fun.
I wanted to learn more about the industry, so I started listening to a ton of marketing, and then writing podcasts. I actually loved the idea of indie publishing and knew a ton about how to do it before I even started writing.
After a couple of unfinished manuscripts, I completed The Rose Gate. Finishing the first draft was not even half of the process! I had two rounds of Beta readers, my mom (who has now written around 25 books and is a huge help to me), a professional editor, and proofreaders go over the manuscript with edits after each round. The final book was the 6th draft.
My biggest challenge was probably underestimating the amount of time and work it would take to get the manuscript ready. And then there was the design side for the paperback. I had a specific vision for how I wanted it to look with the illustrations I had done, and it required learning new software very quickly to meet my deadline.
And then my first paperbacks went out with a couple big errors! I was devastated, but all my readers have been really great about it, and I’m sending them some fun swag to make up for it.
This is getting long! I would say that my smartest move was just approaching the whole process with a humble attitude and trying to learn from my mentors, both in writing and publishing. If I had been doing this on my own, the book wouldn’t be half what it is today!
How have you trained yourself as an artist?
I’ve just always kept drawing! I don’t have any official training, but I’m always learning and trying to grow in my weak areas. Having freelance work is a big help because it forces me to finish what I start, and finishing teaches you a lot more than starting does!
Your favorite art piece that you've made?
Oh, I don’t know if I have a favourite, usually my most recently finished piece! This one is on my wall, which is pretty rare, so it must be one of my favourites.
Name the top three books that have influenced you as a writer.
I can’t pick three books! I’ll give you three authors instead. I’m inspired by the magic and snark of Brandon Sanderson, the whimsy and strong girls of Robin Mckinley, and the romance and sass of Kristan Higgins.
Favorite little-known fairy-tale?
The Wild Swans and The Snow Queen are my two favourites. I love stories where the girl is doing the rescuing.
Favorite unusual food?
I love soup for breakfast, especially Asian soups with an egg in it. That’s only unusual in Canada though, I guess!
Favorite and least favorite writing trope?
My favourite romantic trope is hate to love, I love all the fighting before they admit their feelings. It would be terrible in real life, though!
As for least favourite, I guess I hate weak, naïve, broken girls who need to be rescued. I don’t mind a little saving, but they need to bring something to the table too!
Favorite "technically for kids, but I will enjoy it as an adult, thank you" book or movie?
I am a huge fan of Disney movies, Aladdin was my favourite growing up, but I love Moana a lot too. I love that my kids are old enough now that I can take them to see the new animated movies, it’s so fun to share them!
Any hints to your next writing endeavors?
I’m working on a free novella for my newsletter subscribers! It’s another fairy tale retelling in the world of The Rose Gate and it can be read as a stand alone. Here’s a peek at Audrey, my main character. Can you guess the Fairy Tale?
EEEK, how cute! Thank you so much for the fun visit, Hanna! I can't wait to read more of your stories!
Check out my review of The Rose Gate here!