Today in the Library we have Hannah Byron, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
A little bit about Hannah:
Hannah Byron (penname of Hannah Ferguson) was born in 1956 in Paris, France. She is of British/Irish/Dutch descent and lives in The Netherlands. Next to writing historical fiction, she is a part-time translator for a Dutch university.
Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?
I’ve recently rebranded to historical fiction for the simple reason that I love history but I also think we can learn lessons from the part. That is, if humanity wasn’t so stubborn!
I wanted to try out my skills as an HF author with a backdrop that was intense and broad, a time that forced humanity to its knees, not once but twice. Hence the First and Second World Wars. I also wanted to set my novels in a time of budding feminism, a time when women started liberating themselves from apron strings and childbeds. Hence the 20th century.
Are you an avid reader? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?
Yes, I always have 2 or 3 books on the go, 1 or 2 on my Kindle, 1 Audiobook for my hikes and usually a craft/marketing non-fiction for the business. I tend to read fiction in my own genre, yes but certainly not only about the world wars.
Are you a self-published/traditional or hybrid author?
Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
I’m heavily influenced by the early Russian, European, and American masters … and by the stacks of Harlequin novellas I used to read. A cocktail of the absolute best with the quick and dirty is a favourite of mine.
Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?
Since Covid and travel restrictions, yes. Before I was always focused on the UK and Ireland as my home base outside Holland, but these days I yearn for Paris where I was born. Most of my heroines at least have some connection to Paris. The book I’m currently writing is called The Parisian Spy … and well, you can guess where it’s situated.
What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?
Depends, can be anything from starting a book after the plotting is done, to the middle part to keeping at it, to editing. I tend to be rather unsure and critical about my own work. At times, that can become counterproductive and make me slip into writer’s block for a while. I also find it hard with the current market to immediately embark on the next book when the previous one is done. As an Indie you have no choice but to produce more books as fast as you can.
What was the best piece of writing advice you received when starting out?
Keep going, find your own voice, believe in yourself, don’t give up before you’ve written 1m words, stay in touch with other writers.
If you could live the life of an historical figure for one day, who would you choose and what would you get up to?
I’d be my absolute hero Leo Tolstoy and learn to write as he could. And have a philosophical chat with him, of course.
Please tell us about your latest published work.
My first book In Picardy’s Fields came out in September. People can read it for free if they join my newsletter.
On 10 December my second book in The Resistance Girl Series called The Diamond Courier came out. Here’s the blurb:
A young rebel on a quest for independence finds herself squashed between Communist love, Jewish diamonds, and German greed.
Lili Hamilton cannot marry Iain Brodie, her best friend and her Tory father’s right hand at Betteshanger Colliery. Given the distance she sees between her parents, she will not, at nineteen, settle for domestic life. But her aspirations as a political journalist are thwarted when she is sent off to a finishing school in Switzerland in 1939.
On her way, she meets Leo Oppenheim in Paris. Not only is Leo the leader of the British Communist Party but also the prodigal son of London’s richest diamond merchant.
In a time of historical change, as World War II erupts, and after a mine strike causes a rift between her and her family and Iain, Lili moves to London, pursuing her Communist ideals and free love. But Leo needs money and has his eye on the largest diamond center in Europe: Antwerp.
Nazi Germany, too, is in dire need of Antwerp’s diamonds for its war machine.
On Leo’s command, Lili infiltrates the Jewish community in Belgium and befriends both the Goldmunz family and the Nazi leader. Despite the horrors of war, despite witnessing the murder of a comrade, she becomes the diamond courier between Antwerp and London via Vichy France.
Until she is caught in 1943 …
The Diamond Courier is a young woman’s fight to liberate herself from her privileged upbringing, for which she pays the highest price. Will she ultimately choose politics over love?
Social Media links
Newsletter signup: https://hannahbyron.com/HBNews
Facebook group: https://hannahbyron.com/HBrs
Facebook Author Page: https://hannahbyron.com/HBfb
Linked In: https://hannahbyron.com/HBli
Links to Amazons for In Picardy’s Fields.
🌹 Amazon US: http://hannahbyron.com/IPFam
📖 Amazon UK: http://hannahbyron.com/IPFuk
🌹 Amazon CA: http://hannahbyron.com/IPCca
📖 Amazon AU: http://hannahbyron.com/IPFau
Links to Amazon The Diamond Courier
🌹 Amazon US: https://hannahbyron.com/DCam
💎 Amazon UK: https://hannahbyron.com/DCuk
🌹 Amazon CA: https://hannahbyron.com/DCca
💎 Amazon AU: https://hannahbyron.com/DCau