Hannah Klumb is the author of The Suicide Bridge and The Pierced Silence which is the first installment in the Guardians of Ginero series. She is currently studying at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point to earn a degree in English in creative writing. However, she decided to follow her heart before waiting to complete her studies and wrote The Suicide Bridge at a Starbucks. She has lived her entire life in central Wisconsin, but would love to see the birthplaces of famous authors around the world.
1. What is your debut novel and what inspired its story?
My novel is entitled The Suicide Bridge. It was actually a very tragic series of events that pushed me to write this book. At my college, three girls were assaulted in one week on consecutive nights. In the news, I heard how five girls got raped at a university with two of the college girls taking her lives shortly after. Why? Because the university made them feel like nothing. They told the girls, as does nearly university I have encountered or researched, that their name cannot be blemished, and their safety record must not be tainted. Too many reported rates leave a dark shadow over new applicants. How sick is it that we care more about public appeal than a hurting human soul? That is why I decided to write The Suicide Bridge and bring to light a difficult topic. My hope is to generate a wide audience so that someday, my book may perhaps stumble upon someone else suffering through a difficult time and bring them some hope in the darkness.
2. Do you write one specific genre or are you a multi genre author?
I am multi-genre, but mainly write for the young adult or adult genre. However, I am currently working on a fantasy series based loosely on Greek backgrounds which is to be entitled The Guardians of Ginero series.
3. Do you have any memorable quotations or ‘one-liners’ that you have written and love?
One quote from The Suicide Bridge really stuck with me while writing the book. It is as follows: “Without sympathy, we are like robots trying to function in a world that is black and white.” This hit me hard because I have seen people get dragged down into depression and lost to suicide over a lack of sympathy. Our society loves to judge everyone, and it is awfully degrading. If you don’t fit a stereotype or try to be different, you are expendable. This is the wrong attitude for our world. Instead, we need desperately to show more sympathy, be more tolerant, and accept others for who they are. At the end of the day, everyone deserves love and respect.
4. Do you have a favourite character that you have penned to life and why is this your favourite character?
Ah, picking a favorite is so hard! They are like my closest friends, and all of them are uniquely special in my heart. However, I think I would choose Jas from The Suicide Bridge. She is a lot like me, trying to be tough and indifferent in life, but really, she is just trying to keep it all together. Jas uses anger to cover up sadness, which is something I find myself doing far too often. People feel weak when they cry, even though it is a natural and healthy emotion. Jas is the same way, but her determination to stay strong only makes me love her more. There is a scene in the book where Thomas sees her without makeup, and she seems softer. I too have had this reaction from my boyfriend, but the makeup is like war paint. It hides puffy eyes, tear streaks, and shadows of exhaustion. It was difficult to hide a few secrets about Jas, but some things I felt were too private for the page. Yes, it sounds crazy, but writing about my characters darkest secrets can become frighteningly intimate for me. They are my closest confidants. Jas is an incredibly strong character, and full of kindness. Life just really cut her deep, but she never stops fighting back.
5. Are there any close friends/ family who have proven to be a pillar of support to you in your writing?
Definitely. My boyfriend, Steve, has been a steady rock for me throughout this process. He is absolutely amazing and has helped me deal with some serious issues in my life such as anxiety and border-line depression. I love writing and have always dreamed of being published. However, I did not want to face rejection, so it never left my document files. Finally, Steve pushes me to submit my work and The Suicide Bridge was picked up by the amazing Waterton Publishing Company. My book is dedicated to Steve, but he deserves so much more recognition. Without him, I never would be where I am today.
6. What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a series entitled Guardians of Ginero. The first book is entitled The Pierced Silence and has some pretty epic characters in it that I find quite relatable. My inspiration was Greek history, mythology, and my nerdy obsession for Lord of the Rings. Each guardian possesses a key linked to their unique inner power which could be anything from destruction to wisdom. Then a gateway to evil is unlocked, and the quiet continent of Ginero is thrown into chaos with only the seven guardians able to save it from corruption. There is betrayal, friendship, loss, sacrifice, victory, and love. It is a thrill to write, and I find myself being surprised by where the writing is taking me!
7. What has been your greatest challenge as an author thus far and how are you dealing/have dealt with it?
My greatest challenge has been promoting the book. I am deeply passionate about writing, but after the book is published, I tend to drift back to my word processor and away from social media. However, my publisher Jeff Easley has helped me to find new ways to reach a wider audience. Through goodreads and social media platforms such as Instagram, I hope to find new readers who can enjoy my writing. After all, the whole reason for publishing my works at last was to help bring some new ideas into a stubborn world. If even one person is helped through reading my book, I consider it a success.
8. How do you deal with criticism and how has it helped you as a writer?
So far, I have not encountered much criticism. True, I have been told my subject of rape and suicide is dark, but that is more fact than criticism. Yet, when I do find criticism, I will consider if it is sound advice or bias and then grow in my writing from there. Keeping an open mind is one of the best strategies in any avenue of life.
9. How has social media helped in promoting and marketing your books?
Social media has been a huge help. It has been a struggle to get motivated to promote my book, but I find social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to be very effective and also fun in gathering new readers. My favorite posts are new cover designs, or coffee. Follow my feeds and you will see a lot of Starbucks posts. However, I am also having a fantastic time exploring the author program of goodreads. There is so much to learn, and I am enjoying meeting new writers from all over the globe.
10. When writing your novel which aspect of the writing process do you find to be the most challenging?
Definitely the ending. It does not matter whether it is a standalone book or a piece in a series. In my opinion, the ending has to be memorable, it has to be tidy, and above all, it has to be emotional. You cannot end a book on a flat note. In my new series, it is especially tough to discern where one book should end and the next pick back up. But, through hard work and patience, I am learning to overcome this writing challenge.
11. How do you measure success as a writer/ author?
Bringing new ideas to the table of books available for hungry readers. My goal through The Suicide Bridge is to help someone going through difficult times. Success cannot and should not ever be measured in dollars or followers. Instead, success is healing a hurting soul, brightening someone’s day, and finding your purpose in life.
12. What short term and/or long term goals have you set?
Right now, I am a sophomore in college. My main goals are therefore to graduate in two years with a degree in English in creative writing, to keep writing more books through Waterton Publishing Company, and to someday work for a publishing company or make my own. I am so fortunate to have a publisher willing to risk it all for me, and I want to do the same for a new author someday in the future.
13. Do you have any upcoming book releases or events?
Right now, the next upcoming release is the first book of The Guardians of Ginero series entitled The Pierced Silence, but no events are lined up just yet.
14. What are your favourite book(s) and/or author(s)?
I better not write one-hundred pages for this answer, but another time maybe! My all time two favorite authors have to be Charles Dickens and J.K. Rowling. Dickens is a timeless author who invented Christmas (in my humble opinion) and made us cry with his emotional novels. Great Expectations is my favorite classic of all time, maybe even my favorite book ever, and it holds a very dear place on my bookshelf. Rowling is a tie for favorite author, with her story being so raw and real. She is an amazing woman, and through her writing has helped thousands, maybe even millions, of people everywhere. She is my role model and always will be. Her series of Harry Potter found me in a difficult point in my life and connecting to the characters gave me an escape. Also, yes, I took the Pottermore test and am a very happy, very proud Slytherin! One of my other favorite books that is a bit lesser known is They Both Die At The End y Adam Silvera. Funny, heart wrenching, and emotional, I could not put this masterpiece down for a second!
15. What advice will you give to other Indie Authors or those who are thinking of writing and publishing?
Never stop writing. Like, not even for a day. It doesn’t even have to be a whole page or a section of your new book that you have been working on. Rather, it could just be a few sentences in a private diary, or a poem. Just do not lose your momentum, because it can be so difficult to find that again.
Also, be yourself. No matter what, do not conform to anyone else’s standards. You are completely unique, and that is a beautiful thing in this black and white world. Write what is beating in your heart, crowding your mind, and coursing through your veins. Never be afraid to speak the truth. Your writing is your property, and no one has the right to say it is wrong.
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