Interview with M. P. A. Hanson

When did you first start writing?
Well... the first book I have on record is 2006, I would have been just shy of ten at the time. My parents were very maths and science oriented, but would read to me every night. I would say that I fell in love with books because of that, and the wonder I had for the magic of books definitely lead me into writing as I grew older. Romana's Freedom was probably my third or fourth book, and was first drafted at age 12, but was rewritten and split into two novels years later. Although, I didn't get up the courage to self-publish it until two years after I had finished!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a tiny little village, inhabited almost entirely by the elderly, in very rural England. I lived in a house surrounded by a woodland, unaware of how blessed I was to be able to leave my garden with a notebook and write to the sound of birdsong rather than traffic noise. As a result, I don't think I've ever really had a book where a city featured as a main setting - a shortcoming now that I think about it. During those years my family holidays were often to places that were - if possible - even more remote and rural, so a lot of the settings in my book reflect that. There are parts of the books which are based on real places from those holidays, and others which are completely fictitious.
What's the story behind your latest book?
At the moment, I'm writing a book that's a little different from what I've written before. It's slightly less inspired by the high fantasy of Tolkien and Feist, although it definitely keeps magic at its heart. Set in a completely different world to the Soul Merge Saga, it follows the story of an unexpected heroine through her journey and contains a little bit of self-discovery, a little bit of tragedy and a little bit of romance wrapped up in a fantasy package. I don't want to give out too many spoilers, but I'm happy to say that what I've heard from the people I've given sneak peaks to has been very positive.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I don't think I have an answer for you. Writing, in and of itself, is a joy for me. I love every aspect of it - even writer's block. I can't really think of anything I don't enjoy writing, even essays aren't that bad. When I write, everything comes out the way I want it to. It feels like being free and I can take that freedom anywhere. I love to write on trains, and watch countryside whizz past, or wrapped up in jumpers outside on a cold day. I've written a fair portion of my books on buses and in libraries. There is an addictive aspect to the feeling of paper and pen in my hand and the endless possibilities of a blank page. And when I get writer's block, sitting there with tea or hot chocolate while I think through the next part is one of my favourite experiences.
What do your fans mean to you?
Just the fact that there is even an interest in my books is inconceivable to me. I love every single review - good or bad, and I can't believe that so many people have read it! I honestly believed only my mother was ever going to download them, so over three hundred is crazy in a wonderful, marvellous way.
Who are your favorite authors?
There are the obvious greats - J. R. R. Tolkien, J. K. Rowling and C. S. Lewis, but I also really enjoy the works of Raymond E. Feist and Jonathan Moeller, along with some notable young adult authors like Sarah J. Maas and Trudi Canavan. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I liked Becky Chambers' 'A Long Way to A Small Angry Planet' despite it being the complete antithesis of everything I usually read. Nalini Singh and Kresley Cole make my heart ache with their all-consuming love stories and Taran Matharu's 'Summoner' series was too good for words.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Tea.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Well I'm a student, so I do quite a lot of work for my course. Aside from that, I enjoy reading, gaming, playing my violin, horse riding, ice skating, drinking tea, cooking, failing at baking and doing art. I'm also really into travelling and love going to different places, even if it's just a few miles away.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I think it's more a case that they discover me, and I just can't say no. Amazon and Goodreads know of my weakness and take full advantage, not to mention my little sister who is always telling me 'Read this!' or 'You haven't lived till you've picked up a book by such and such'.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, and I'm ashamed to say it is a horrible mash up of Star Trek and Riddick, written by my nine-year-old self that I still have today. I keep it because it's a reminder of how far I have come, and how Riddick and Star Trek should never, ever mix.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
It changes, and often relies a great amount on my mood. However, five books I have read more times than I can count and I would never say no to reading again are:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling. This book - for me - marks the last point where Harry Potter was light hearted and magical, before it fell into darkness and teenage angst. That is not to say I don't like all of the books, but TPOA has had a special place in my heart ever since I read that phone call between Vernon Dursley and Ron. It introduced the magic of Honeydukes and Anamagi, and I love Lupin, Sirius, Crookshanks and Buckbeak with a passion, all of whom first came into the series in this book.

Silverthorn - Raymond E. Feist. It is my personal aim in life to come up with a line as good as: “You look as if you’d swallowed something and it moved.” Aside from that, I have to acknowledge the brilliance and endearing cheek of Jimmy the Hand and the expansion upon Arutha’s enigmatic character that comes with this book.

The Darkangel - Meredith Ann Pierce. This is a fairy tale kind of novel that makes me smile. Although, to my great shame, I've never picked up the sequel, I revel in the uniqueness of the story telling and the almost palpable charisma of the Darkangel.

The Amber Spyglass – Phillip Pullman. I love the Mary Malone part of this book. I know that’s weird considering that the main story is Lyra and Will, and I also know that most of my friends admit to skipping past her parts. But I loved the way she interacted with the Mulefa, and how she studied the movement of Dust. It was a little piece of the story that was seemingly apart from the main story, yet fit so well that it was hard to imagine it not being there. I have actually once read the book, skipping every chapter which didn’t include her.

North Child - Edith Pattou. This is another fairy tale book, and I love the idea of the 'birth direction' and the superstitious nature of Rose's mother and her quiet, reserved father. I can picture in my mind every aspect of this book, from the Troll Queen to the White Bear and the story itself is evocative of the old stories. It will stick in my mind forever, and I'm deeply indebted to the person who leant it to me.
Published 2017-09-15.
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Books by This Author

Kate's Legacy (Soul Merge Saga Book 2)
You set the price! Words: 89,970. Language: British English. Published: September 15, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Adventure » Action
The second installment of the Soul Merge Saga. As a wytch on the Isle of the Gifted, Romana struggles to find a balance between her old life and her new one. Of course, the entire task would be so much simpler if Silver, Marten and Kate didn't keep ruining her plans. To top it all off, a demented sorcerer has her, and those she loves, in his crosshairs. War is inevitable, but can they survive it?
Romana's Freedom (Soul Merge Saga Book 1)
Price: Free! Words: 86,860. Language: British English. Published: August 1, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Adventure » Action
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
As an elf sold into slavery as a child, Romana longs to be free from the Desert Slave Shop. When the prince of the human realms arrives and buys her, years of monotony are left behind as she travels away from the walls of desert stone into a strange new world. But as dark shadows stir, Romana is caught between trying to help and wrestling with an equally dark power emerging within her.