Thursday, October 26, 2023

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Sarah Hanks!

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Sarah Hanks!

What was your inspiration for the story?

Fall Back and Find Me is a split-time novel that deals with chronic illness, namely POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). I personally suffered from POTS for about seven years before the Lord healed me. In this dark night of my soul, when I was so sick I couldn’t even get out of bed, it felt like everything was being stripped away from me. I couldn’t envision a future for myself, nor did I conceive how my broken life was worth living. But there in the shadows, the Lord showed Himself faithful. Before He healed my body, He did a great work in my heart. He’d been asking me to write about it for a while, and I finally did.

The historical storyline follows another secret female Civil War solider (like my last book A Battle Worth Fighting) only this time the setting is Missouri, and the soldier suffers from what they used to call “irritable heart” or “DaCosta’s Syndrome”, which has many similarities to POTS today. I remembered hearing about irritable heart when I was first diagnosed with POTS, and I was eager to dive into learning more. The fact that many soldiers came down with it during the Civil War intrigued me and fit perfectly into my story.

What sort of research did you do for your story, and was there an exceptionally interesting tidbit you knew you had to include?

I read a lot about female Civil War soldiers for both A Battle Worth Fighting and Fall Back and Find Me. Their tales fascinate me. For Fall Back and Find Me I also did much research on guerillas and guerilla hunters in the Civil War as well as the war in Missouri specifically. I’m a Missouri girl, yet I’d never researched what happened in my own state. I actually lived right down the street from the Missouri Civil War Museum and yet had never been until I went when researching for the book. There is so much rich history that many don’t know about in my state. I was excited to share it with the world.

Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym? Why or why not?

I never have. I’m rather transparent. Hello, this is me. Take me or leave me, but I’m not hiding.

How are your characters like you? Different?

Fall Back and Find Me is different than my other novels in that it is basically my story in fictionalized form. As such, I drew heavily from my own experience when writing Amber’s POV. However, Amber has a different wound than I and she was shaped by different life experiences. Her personality isn’t an exact replica of mine. I had to take all of this into account as I wrote, which meant quite a lot of sifting through thoughts and feelings. The part that flowed easily from me was Amber’s reaction to her diagnosis and illness and the feelings of loneliness and powerlessness that accompanied it. That came straight from my history, a tender yet mostly healed place.

Lily is another modern-day POV character in the novel. Although I didn’t base this character off of myself, I do relate to her in a few ways. Her life experience with a large family, as well as with children with special needs, more closely mirrors my own day-to-day.

If you were to write a spin-off book about one of your secondary characters, which one would you choose and why?

I’ve had requests to write a spin-off about Lily. Readers have found her to be relatable and interesting. They want to know what happens next! I’m not sure if I ever will do so, but I’ll keep it in mind.

Why do you write in your particular genre?

I love writing split-time. It’s my favorite genre to read and write. History fascinates me, but it’s the implications the past has on the present that intrigue me the most. How has what happened back then impacted what’s happening right now? What’s the cause and effect? How do the choices we make matter and ripple throughout time? There’s something about the concept of legacy and heritage that pulls at me. We are interconnected in a way we can’t comprehend. The Lord, in His wisdom, sets our times and boundaries and intersects our lives with each other in such a magnificent tapestry. Writing split-time allows me to explore that aspect of His nature, which I find delightful.

How does/did your job prepare you for being a novelist?

Before I was a writer, I was a teacher. I taught children of all ages in children’s ministry. Before that I
taught preschool. I love learning information and then passing it on to others. That’s exactly what I do with writing. I research fascinating information, figure out how to weave it into story, and then pass it on. It’s basically the same skill set, only less overt.

What is one thing you wish you could do?

Eat unlimited chips and salsa and ice cream (not together) and not gain weight.

How do you celebrate when you finish a manuscript?

When I finish a manuscript, I take the family out to ice cream. I may have been the one who wrote the words, but my husband and children were the ones to give me the time and space to do so. They put up with me talking through story ideas, complaining when my characters went rogue, sneaking away to write, and going to writing meetings and conferences. They all deserve a treat.

What books are on your nightstand right now?

An Appalachian Song by Michelle Shocklee is on my nightstand. I mostly listen to audiobooks, though, so a fairer question would be what’s in my audiobook queue. That would include Charles Martin’s The Letter Keeper, Bethany Turner’s Brynn and Sebastian Hate Each Other, and Rachel Scott McDaniel’s Undercurrent of Secrets.
What is your next project?
My next project is a novel honoring my grandfather called New Creations. My grandpa had a barber shop most of his life by that name. Almost everyone who knows him will attest that he’s the most entertaining person they know. This novel centers around the shop and the man behind the chair.

About Fall Back and Find Me

Two resilient women separated by over 150 years are linked forever by their challenges, values, and determination.

Amber Prichard is thriving in her role as pastor’s wife, mom, and indispensable church volunteer—until chronic illness threatens to upend everything. Now unable to prove her value, she is forced to reevaluate how she defines herself. Inspired by an ancestor’s faded journal and heirlooms, she must work with her arch-nemesis if she wants to accomplish what is now impossible on her own.

Faced with the turmoil of the Civil War, Willow Forrester didn’t intend to illegally enlist in the Union Army as a secret female soldier. She only wanted to escape her father’s tyranny and follow her brother into the throes of adventure. When she comes face to face with the leader of a guerilla army, her health and insecurities threaten to shatter her heroism and render her powerless.

As their opposition threatens to overtake them, these two women must find their strength and identity to defeat impossible odds.

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1 comment:

  1. I loved the split time in A Battle Worth Fighting, and I love your passion for the stories of female soldiers. I confess I know too little about the local history of my area, although we have a LOT of War of 1812 sites in the area. Thanks for sharing!