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Q&A with Author Hannah L. Clark

Yesterday I got to post my review of Uncovering Cobbogoth by Hannah L. Clark, which I truly enjoyed. During the review process I got to correspond with Hannah Clark and asked her a few questions I thought all wanna be authors would appreciate the answers too. Below is the Q&A which I found extrmeely author on the path to my first book!
1) What was your method to get your idea for the book, from thoughts
to the page to a completed book?

I can't say that I had any real method when I set out to write Uncovering Cobbogoth. I was really just trying to figure out how in the world you write a book in the first place. However, once I started writing Book 2 in my Cobbogoth series, I'd learned a few tricks of the trade and a process fell into place. Writing Book 2 was a MILLION times easier because of it!

Since it would take me way too long to write out the process here, below are links to my "Writing Gems." Writing Gems is a series of YouTube videos that I started making for writers who, like I was when I started out, are trying to figure out where in the world you start when you're trying to write a book! They do a pretty good job of explaining my writing process from start to finish.
1) Feralts Triangle Outline: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0YzY_lihvY
5) When I'm happy with my outline and have it typed out, that is when I finally sit down at the computer and begin the actual writing. Because of all my time in my pre-writing process, it usually takes me about 2.5 months to crank out a first draft. After the first draft, I go through it, identify problems, and then revise for a 2nd draft. 
7) Finally, I will send my manuscript to a professional editor two times before submitting it to publishers. I'm dyslexic, so hiring an editor before submitting is a crucial step for me in ensuring my manuscript is as clean and professional as I want it to be. I do a lot of things well in my storytelling, but even after being a Master Writing Tutor in college for 2 years and earning my bachelor's in English, I still tend to miss grammatical things. (Don't judge the grammar in this post too harshly, btw...I didn't have time to run it by my editor. ;-)
8) Once I polish things up after my manuscript has visited the editor, that's when I'll submit to my publisher. Usually once you have a contract with a publisher, you'll have a few more intense revisions to go through before copy editing. And then, after it's met with their approval, your manuscript will go to print.
Now, just a disclaimer, this is just my writing process. I am in no way claiming it is the best. It just works for me. :-)  
Whew! Sorry for such a long answer.     

2) Do you think it is necessary for someone who wants to write a book
to take writing courses or any grammar classes?
You know, this is a tough one because I'm a huge believer in higher education. That part of me would say "YES! Absolutely!" And yet, it's not really the truth. There are plenty of resources out there for you to teach yourself how to become a good writer, and there is no prerequisite to becoming a writer. If you write well, that's all the industry really cares about. And if I'm being honest, I learned way more about storytelling after college than I ever did in college.

However, taking classes and courses
makes learning how to write much easier by giving you--if nothing else--a solid foundation in writing and grammar rules. But even after my 5 years in a college English program, I still spent 8 more years honing my craft before I found a publisher. That's because there are just a lot of things in writing that can only be learned by "doing." Furthermore, two of the most important skills you have to master before you can become a successful author aren't even exclusive to authors. Those are self-discipline and hard work ethic.

S
o, my advice to someone at the beginning of their writing journey is this: no matter what avenue you take to becoming a writer, just make sure you're always actively seeking to hone your craft. Whether that's through reading the kind of stuff you hope to write, studying other author's techniques, or simply writing in a creative journal every day, it all helps.

3) I attended the Tucson Festival of Books this year and most authors
said paying to get your book professional edited before submitting it
to a publisher is money well spent and very helpful do you agree?

I touched on this above, but, yes! My dyslexia aside, I think hiring an editor is a really great step for any writer to take before submitting to agents or publishers, and especially before self-publishing. I mean, we're all human; we all make mistakes, and nothing says "amateur" to publishers, agents, and readers quite like bad grammar.

Now, here is my caution to hiring an editor: make sure the person you hire is really an editor--a professional editor--like it is their job to edit stuff. And yes, there are affordable ones out there. But I would steer clear of hiring family/friends. Not only aren't you guaranteed a quality edit at the end, but mingling friendship and business often has a tendency to damage relationships. I wish I could explain why this is, but I've heard it said over and over again by other writers and have even, sadly, experienced it myself. (Getting to have my sister as my illustrator is the exception, of course.) ;-)


4) What was your biggest mishap when writing Uncovering Cobbogoth and
how can other writers avoid it?

Oh boy, mis-haps? Where do I begin? You know, I think it really depends on how you view mishaps in the first place, in order to determine whether or not its worth avoiding them. I'm of the persuasion that failure is one of the best teachers, and that was the truth with writing Uncovering Cobbogoth for eight years. Every time I realized my manuscript wasn't quite good enough, or made a mistake, it gave me the opportunity to learn why it wasn't good enough, and then learn how to fix it. So I guess my advice on this one is to learn to see failure as a step forward rather than something to be feared and ashamed of. No one who has ever made it big in anything hasn't experienced some kind of--most likely countless--failures on their way there.

5) Finally what is the best tip you could give a wanna be author?
Yay! I love this question. :-) First of all, make sure that becoming an author really and truly is what you want to do. This is very important, because becoming an author is a lot of hard work. And second, never, ever, ever, ever, EVER give up. It doesn't matter how long it takes you, or what kind of struggles you face, if you "feel it in your bones" that you're meant to be an author, you CAN and WILL find a way. Whether that's hiring an editor to spiff things up for you because you're dyslexic like me, or something else, if you want it bad enough, you'll find a way. And bonus, I guarantee you, it is worth every soul-stretching step it takes to get there. 


Thank you Hannah L. Clark for answering my question!

I found your youtube videos to be helpful and your advice in general was amazing!

If you want to hear more from Hannah L. Clark Please visit her websites:
  
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5139659.Hannah_L_Clark
You can purchase Uncovering Cobbogoth here:

If you read Uncovering Cobbogoth Please Leave a comment with your thoughts on the book or leave a comment if you loved this post!

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