Interview with Hannah Rae, author of Just Whistle

Can you tell us about your book(s)?
I sure can!
I write magical realism, which is essentially realistic fiction with a hint (or two) of magic. For example, in my most recent release, Just Whistle, there’s an old farmhouse with rooms that come and go. They’re not in the floor plan and the characters can’t always count on finding them… but when a certain room is needed, it generally makes an appearance.
My stuff tends to be very character-driven and I’m a big fan of recurring characters. Both of my published works, Just Whistle and Like A Flip Turn, take place in a small Pennsylvania town called Lake Caywood. Readers are basically guaranteed to see some familiar faces each time they crack open one of my books, but the main characters differ from novel to novel.
What are you currently writing?
Right now I’m working on a race-against-the-clock adventure that moves from the east coast to the west. It’s about a girl named Jane (from Lake Caywood) who’s traveling to Oregon for her cousin Piper’s wedding.
That’s one half of the equation.
The other half is Jonny, a guy from North Carolina who, on a whim, also ventures to Oregon. Unlike Jane, he isn’t attending a wedding. Jonny’s reason for the cross-country trip is a girl—one he met years ago and can’t get out of his head. I won’t tell you who she is or if he finds her… You can read the book when it’s finished.
How long have you been a published author?
I’ve been published for a little over two years. I released Like A Flip Turn as an ebook two summers ago. Last summer, I released Just Whistle as both an ebook and a paperback. Lately, I’ve actually been doing quite a bit of editing on Flip Turn (even though it’s already published) because I would like to eventually have it available as a paperback. It’s kind of tricky, though, because Jenny Johnson, who is one of the three main characters in Flip Turn,has something called synesthesia. This means that she sees words in color. This also means that in Jenny’s chapters, some of the words appear in color. And that means that black-and-white printing doesn’t provide the same effect. *sigh*
But I’m determined to make it work!
If you could give any piece of advice to unpublished writers what would it be?
Finish the book.
Don’t stop and reread what you’ve written again and again, convincing yourself that it isn’t good enough. Just write the book. Get it out. Have a starting point and an ending point and take that journey all the way from point A to point Z.
Who are your favorite authors?
I really enjoy Alice Hoffman and Stephen King. Sarah Addison Allen’s early stuff is great too. Ray Bradbury was a genius and Maeve Binchy builds a town like no other.
What are some of your favorite books to read again and again?
Definitely To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. If I had to make a list of my top ten favorite things of all time—THINGS, not books—that would be on the list. I love it!
Other titles that I never get tired of reading include The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Dandelion Wine andSomething Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. That last one… whoa. I don’t know how Atkinson managed to keep everything straight in her head while writing it! Life After Life is such an amazing accomplishment.
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