This month I am featuring C.C. Hansen on my platform.
My review of Out of Ashes: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3570481109?
Buy Out of Ashes: https://books2read.com/outofashescchansen
It gets better…we are running a Rafflcopter!
Someone’s Story is part of a promotional group for November! Come check out all the amazing free books in that link above which also has a link to the Rafflecopter! The prizes are a signed physical copy of Out of Ashes, a signed physical copy of Someone’s Story, a Someone’s Story branded coffee mug, and 2x $10 USD Amazon Gift Cards! 5 winners! Draw is November 16th.
Here is a Q&A I did with C.C. Hansen:
- What was your publishing journey like?
Long, lol. I’ve always struggled to fall asleep. Ever since I was young, I’ve passed the time I spend lying awake making up stories, which is a terrible coping method, but I do it anyway. Most stories include characters who are sick or faint, because I figure if I can take that character’s perspective, I’ll finally get some shuteye. After I started putting these stories on paper, writing became an addiction.
When I finished my first draft of Out of Ashes, I thought, “now what?” I sent it to my mother, and she emailed me back at 3:00 a.m. saying I needed to put in chapter breaks because she hadn’t been able to stop reading. From there, I sought feedback. My sister-in-law, an author, ripped it to shreds, which was painful but also amazing because I could see how much better the story would be if I followed her advice. Twelve drafts later, I had the plot and the characters set, and I got to my favorite part of editing, which is looking at sentence structure and making everything sound clear and beautiful.
I published Out of Ashes primarily because I wanted my grandmother to have something she could put on her shelf. However, I never do anything half-way, so I spent hours (weeks, months, years…) researching. My secondary goal was to have at least one total stranger read the book and get something out of it.
For me, publishing was a messy process, but I learned so much along the way that I know I will be even more successful with my next book.
- What motivated you to write Out of Ashes?
Out of Ashes combines characters I’ve had in my head since junior high and my work in schools. When you work with children, you are a mandatory reporter for signs of abuse. Some of the things that happen to Cathryn are things I’d seen with my six-year-old students. I wrote Out of Ashes in part to give myself hope for those students whose stories I don’t know the ending to. One of the many tragedies of the pandemic is that children are out of school, meaning no one notices and reports signs of abuse.
For me, it was important to show that these cases consist of many small clues. Each character has their own piece of the puzzle, their own observations of strange behaviors in Cathryn. If they had all gotten together and compared notes in the beginning, they may have figured out what was happening sooner. Often, we dismiss little things that signal something much bigger.
In Cathryn, I wanted to show a different kind of strength. We see so many butt-kicking ninja women nowadays, but I wanted to show a quiet resolve, the kind it takes just to keep getting out of bed every morning. I like to write my own role models, and Cathryn gives me hope.
- What are you working on now?
I have two manuscripts I’m working on right now. The first happens three years after Out of Ashes and uses Cathryn as a minor character. It’s been fun to imagine how much she has grown in three years. I get a lot of questions about whether Out of Ashes is based on my own father. No. I have a wonderful father, and we have a healthy relationship. In this next book, I portray the father positively. The book describes two brothers’ reconciliation with their absent mother.
My second work in progress occurs two years before Out of Ashes. Minh’s older sister, Beth, is one of the main characters. In it, a teen girl moves from rural Wisconsin to downtown Minneapolis. She experiences culture shock on multiple levels, but she befriends a diverse group of her volleyball teammates. Each friend goes through their own trial, and the others support her. It is very much a girl-power book. We live in a world where we all have 800 “friends” on Facebook, but no one close enough to ask for a ride to the airport. I wanted to show the value of genuine friendship.
Both books need more work before publishing. I’ve written rather diverse casts in each, so I’m getting feedback from sensitivity readers to make sure I’ve portrayed those characters accurately and respectfully. I hope to have one of them ready by this summer, but we’ll see.
- What would you want a potential fan to know about you before they start reading?
I always start with a warning that the book portrays domestic violence, so you may want to skip a couple scenes if that makes you uncomfortable. There is no sexual content.
The story goes through some dark places, but I promise there is a happy ending. Ultimately, the tone is hopeful, and the book focuses on resiliency and the power of friendship. I believe the world teems with broken people pretending to be whole, but that we can heal each other when we stop pretending. This theme permeates both my writing and my personal life.
Amazing! Thanks C.C. for sharing some of your background!
Keep those minds sharp and happy readings!