Indie Support Sunday: Hannah Bonam-Young
Meeting indie authors through Instagram will always be one of my favourite things in the world. And meeting Hannah was totally by chance, thanks to a friend who read and loved her debut, Next of Kin. And when I accepted an early copy of the book, I didn’t know what to expect. The wonderful storytelling, the heartfelt emotions and the unique characters that stood out on every page were absolutely brilliant. And it’s got me really excited to see what else Hannah has in store for us!
Since reading her debut, I’ve connected with Hannah about small things, but whether she knows it or not, we’re going to be good friends. This is how unsuspecting authors become my friends—I don’t give them a choice LOL. But between gushing over her book and replying to each other’s stories, we’re getting there!
Hannah hopes that she’s a good singer, has an idea for a thriller/women’s fiction novel and is a huge fan of Jane Eyre. If you haven’t gotten your copy of Next of Kin yet, what are you waiting for?
And in the meantime, join me as we get to know Hannah Bonam-Young a little better!
What inspired you to write—was it another author or books you read as you grew up?
I was raised on classical romance. Before I could even read the books I’d sit and watch Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, Emma—you name it—with my mom. It turned me into a hopeless romantic, and the tiniest feminist. I was constantly searching for more stories to consume about strong, independent, clever women finding love. Eventually, I ran out of books. and thought I’d give writing some a go. Many, many terrible books later I started writing Next of Kin.
Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in?
Simply? I love love. It levels the playing field for everyone—makes fools out of us all. Most people have histories they’d rather forget or shortcomings they don’t want perceived but love really brings those into the light and asks us to fix or accept who we are. It can be messy, and difficult, and damn near impossible but it’s how we change.
Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?
I pursued both options and when it came time to make a decision, I went with my gut. My control-freak, stubborn, impatient gut.
Other than writing, what is something you enjoy and are really good at?
Singing, I hope.
If not romance/subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?
I see myself sticking to romance for a while, but I do have an idea for a thriller/women’s fiction with a killer (ha) revenge plot.
What are some of your all time favourite books—ones that you recommend to people or can reread multiple times?
Jane Eyre is my all-time favourite novel. My go-to romance authors are Sajni Patel, Talia Hibbert, Helen Hoang and Abby Jimenez. They’re all geniuses at blending humor and comfort with difficult realities and heartfelt stories.
Can you briefly tell me about your book?
My debut, Next of Kin, is a contemporary romance about a young woman named Chloe who finds herself thrust into parenthood when her birth mother asks her to take in her newborn sister. Though she is willing to do so, she fails to pass Child Protective Services’ (CPS) financial requirements and fears all hope is lost. That is when the social worker suggests Chloe teams up with another guardian, Warren, who was hoping to adopt his teenage brother but failed CPS’ housing requirements. Chloe agrees to meet with Warren and immediately the two butt heads. Still, they agree to live together for the sake of their siblings. Eventually, as we all love and expect from forced proximity romance novels, they begin feeling differently about each other. Chemistry intensifies after a late-night-kitchen-run-in but they both have to decide if they trust one another enough to enter into something more or if it’s too much of a risk to their sibling’s placements.
Of your books, who is your favourite character?
I’d say Luke, Warren’s teenage brother. He’s got some great one-liners that were so fun to write and is really loveable. He communicates with sign language but that does nothing to stop his sarcastic wit.
When you write these stories, what are you hoping your readers will feel?
I hope they feel the humanness of it. I hope readers understand that the characters are all flawed, wonderful people deserving of love and that they’re trying to make the most out of the shitty hand they were dealt. I hope they see a part of themself in Chloe and/or Warren, and feel empowered by their story.
What is a story/stories that you really want to tell?
I really want to write more books about imperfect people finding love—for themselves and their person. Mostly, I want to continue writing with themes explored in Next of Kin like found family, history of trauma, inner-child healing, etcetera. What is most important to me is creating more romance novels that feature marginalized or underrepresented folks as leads.
What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?
I’m currently working on two books. Neither are related to Next of Kin—but are similar in ways! I sometimes will post snippets or details about my projects on Instagram, but all I will say right now is that the book I foresee being published next will have a lot of musical theatre references and features two teachers falling in love.
What are your most and least favourite tropes?
Favourite: Forced Proximity, Friends-to-lovers, Fake Dating
Least: I honestly cannot think of one.
What are some tropes you want to write in the future?
Second chance and fake dating are at the top of my to-do list!
What is your favourite thing about the romance genre?
When you are reading a scene and get giddy. Like legs kicking, squealing, giggling happy because you’re seeing two people fall madly in love.
THIS OR THAT
Ebooks or audiobooks
Historical romance or romantic suspense
Single or Dual POV
Standalones or series
Music or silence while writing
Plotter, pantser or plantser
Tea or coffee
Cold or warm weather
Morning person or night owl
Illustrated cover or photo cover