Friday, February 27, 2009
Kristin Hannah talks about Her Beginning in Writing and Her New Book "True Colors"
Hello Terra and everyone at Yankeeromancereviewers.com!
Thanks so much for inviting me to join the party on this great site. I must admit that I’ve surfed around a bit and found some wonderful archived blogs and interviews. It’s always fun to get a little behind the scenes peek at what authors think about their own work and how they go about the job of writing.
With that in mind, I thought I’d talk a little bit about how I got started in romance. It all began a long time ago—more than twenty years now. Back when I was in my third year of law school, my mom was suffering through breast cancer. Every day after classes I would go up to the hospital and spend time with her. One day I was complaining about one of my professors, and she calmly said, “That’s too bad, honey, but you know you’re going to be a writer, so it’s not all that important.”
A writer? I was going to be a writer? Hardly. I had never written a word of fiction in my life.
My mom was nothing if not determined, however. After much discussion, we decided to write a romance novel together. (I had voted for horror). At that point, the only romances I had ever read were by Kathleen Woodiwiss and Laurie McBain. But my mom was on a mission. She handed me a list of names. LaVyrle Spencer, Judith McNaught, Sandra Brown, Jayne Ann Krentz, Jude Devereaux. I was to find as many books by these authors as possible, read them, and return with my thoughts.
And I fell in love with love stories. Just like that. In those pages, I discovered stories that swept me away and made me happy and proved that love was worth fighting for. Before I knew it, we were working on a historical romance together.
Sadly, that part of the story doesn’t have a big, happy ending. We didn’t actually write a book together, but the seed was planted. Years later, when I found myself in need of a dream, there it was: the gift from my mother. I was going to be a writer.
As with everything, the decision to begin was the hardest part. It’s tough to reach for a dream that seems to be beyond your grasp. But I dove in. I didn’t have much knowledge about fiction writing, and certainly no discernable talent; I didn’t care. I had a dream and time to make it happen. It took a lot of years of studying and practicing and starting over, but I gradually began to see improvement. I finally got “the call” in 1990. The same year I won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart award. That was the beginning.
And now, more than twenty years later, I have written what I believe to be my most romantic novel ever. It’s not technically a romance novel—it’s more a family drama—but it’s still is the best love story I’ve done.
True Colors is a deeply emotional story about sisters, betrayal, rivalry, forgiveness, redemption, and what it really means to be a family. It is my greatest hope that once you’ve read it, you’ll want to call your sister and tell her how much she means to you.
The book came out three weeks ago, and I’m proud to say that it shot right up on the New York Times list for me. After all these years, that’s a pretty new thing for me, and it’s definitely champagne worthy. For those of you who haven’t read it, here’s a little sneak peek into the story: Set on a horse ranch in Western Washington, True Colors is about three sisters whose lives were shaped by the loss of their mother when they were young. Raised by a distant, disapproving father, they banded together and became best friends. There’s Winona, who has spent a lifetime struggling with her weight and trying desperately to gain her father’s approval…and Aurora, the middle child, who is the family peacekeeper and wants everyone to be happy, even as she hides her own secret pain…and Vivi Ann, the beautiful, romantic dreamer, for whom everything seems to come easily, her father’s love most of all, until a stranger comes to town. When Vivi Ann makes a fateful decision to follow her heart, rather than the course of a dutiful daughter, events are set in motion that will change everything for the Greys. A shocking crime will shatter both the once close family and the town in which they live. It’s a story about how easily a family can be broken, and how hard it can sometimes be to put the pieces back together, and ultimately about how deceiving appearances can be. I really hope it’s a book you won’t be able to put down…or forget.
One of the best new discoveries of this last year for me has been book clubs. I have been incredibly fortunate to speak with dozens of readers’ groups by phone over the last few months, and I can honestly say that each one has been a treat. So if you belong to a book club, and would like to consider True Colors, please see the details on this site about how to schedule a talk with me. I will do my very best to talk to all the groups I can.
Thanks again, Terra, for this great opportunity to talk to your readers. I’ll be happy to answer any questions that come my way. And please, anyone who wants to, feel free to jump into the blog on my website. We have a lot of fun over there.
True Colors is New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah’s most provocative, compelling, and heart-wrenching story yet. With the luminous writing and unforgettable characters that are her trademarks, she tells the story of three sisters whose once-solid world is broken apart by jealousy, betrayal, and the kind of passion that rarely comes along.
The Grey sisters have always been close. After their mother’s death, the girls banded together, becoming best friends. Their stern, disapproving father cares less about his children than about his reputation. To Henry Grey, appearances are everything, and years later, he still demands that his daughters reflect his standing in the community.
Winona, the oldest, needs her father’s approval most of all. An overweight bookworm who never felt at home on the sprawling horse ranch that has been in her family for three generations, she knows that she doesn’t have the qualities her father values. But as the best lawyer in town, she’s determined to someday find a way to prove her worth to him.
Aurora, the middle sister, is the family peacemaker. She brokers every dispute and tries to keep them all happy, even as she hides her own secret pain.
Vivi Ann is the undisputed star of the family. A stunningly beautiful dreamer with a heart as big as the ocean in front of her house, she is adored by all who know her. Everything comes easily for Vivi Ann, until a stranger comes to town…
In a matter of moments, everything will change. The Grey sisters will be pitted against one another in ways that none could have imagined. Loyalties will be tested and secrets revealed, and a terrible, shocking crime will shatter both their family and their beloved town.
With breathtaking pace and penetrating emotional insight, True Colors is an unforgettable novel about sisters, rivalry, forgiveness, redemption---and ultimately, what it means to be a family.