My plan for 2011 was to do more author chats. I really enjoy chatting it up with the authors of the books I enjoy and being able to know the person, behind the book. So far, as of this mid February, I have not accomplished and where near what I had hoped to do in this category. Today however, I am hoping this interview will be a launching pad for me to move forward on more discussions such as these.
In most cases, I find books I want to read through book magazines, on-line websites, word of mouth, and of course by reading book blogs. It is a rare circumstance these days that I find a book all on my own with no outside influences, yet, the book Unspeakable Journey is exactly that.
I was looking through audible.com a month ago for my next book on my IPOD. Nothing on the “best sellers” list or the “Newly Released” was speaking to me and I started to explore the books by genres that I enjoy. Cruising through the pages offered of faith reads, I found myself giving pause at this book, Unspeakable Journey. The cover stopped me – the synopsis hooked me, and the brief listen of the narrator reeled me in.
Earlier this week I posted my review of this audio and was pleased when an email out to Rinda Hahn requesting a chat was responded by a “yes. I would love to!”
So – please welcome to Book Journey Rinda Hahn.
Good afternoon Rinda! Being a coffee lover I have to ask, how do you take your coffee?
Rinda: I hate to say it, but I don’t drink coffee. I’m trying to like a couple of the Starbucks flavored lattes, but I’m not sure that counts as coffee to a real coffee lover. My husband loves coffee, and I have been trying to like it since we met. I just can’t acquire the taste, but I love the smell of coffee in my kitchen.
Rinda: I have loved to read for as long as I can remember. When my kids were small, there was even a period of time that I had to stop reading completely. When I start a good book, I am compulsive. I stay up too late, neglect my responsibilities, and get lost in the world created by the author. During the demanding stage of being a new mom, I found my compulsion did not lend itself to reading. Even now, my family loves it when I read, and they hate it too for that reason.
When I was in seventh grade I had an English teacher that assigned three or four short stories written by Stephen King. I had never been exposed to psychological horror/thrillers, and that was the moment I knew the raw, unyielding power of a written story. There were moments when I was too afraid to read more, but I was unable to stop. This isn’t my favorite genre to read, but to this day, I still remember the intense emotions (mostly fear) that he evoked with those stories.
Rinda: I like well written Christian fiction, but find a lot of it disappointing. CS Lewis and Francine Rivers are two authors that inspire me, but I really love any well written book that transports me to another world and introduces me to great characters. When an author uses their story to teach me a hidden truth, it is even better.
I am a big fan of Francine Rivers! I really enjoyed her women of the Bible series, and Redeeming Love still has me gushing (and for a reader who avoids any sort of romance style reads this is huge!) If there was a fictional character in any book that you could bring to life and hang out with – what character would that be and why?
Rinda: Several years ago I read the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. Her main character, Hadassah, endured many heart wrenching situations, but never lost her unrelenting love for her God and those who persecuted her. To really have a conversation with her would be amazing.
Rinda: I had prayed for several months about what story to write. One morning, I awoke and the storyline for this book played out like a movie for me. At that moment I knew it was the story that I had to tell.
I loved how you covered some hard issues within the book. I am not a fan of “book fluff” and you did not hold back. Isabella’s character is abducted and forced to marry a Muslim prince – even though she is already married in the States. Not only does she get married, but she is expected to behave as a wife should, and risk becoming pregnant. In your opinion, what was the hardest part of Unspeakable Journey to write?
Rinda: For the most part writing Unspeakable Journey was wonderful. I loved engaging with my characters, and at times, it seemed the story wrote itself. Probably the hardest part was balancing Latif’s selfish, controlling, yet passionate and kind nature. I wanted the reader to struggle with how they felt about him. In life people are complicated, and I wanted that to translate to all my characters in the book. My readers have the most diverse feelings about him. Some love him and feel sorry for him, and others see his weaknesses and never like him. I like it that each reader takes away something different from the story.
Rinda: When I started Unspeakable Journey, I knew almost nothing about Saudi Arabia and their culture. I spent weeks reading through material from the library and on the internet about their customs, their religion, and their social structure.
Rinda: This is the most asked question I have received about Unspeakable Journey. I have a couple of ideas I am tossing around that may introduce a character or two from Unspeakable Journey into another completely different story, but I am not planning to write a sequel. I know that some of my readers are disappointed by that. I have just had so many readers and book club members discuss with me what they think happens next, and I don’t want to mess with that. A great story leaves you thinking about what happens, wondering where the characters are now, and how they are doing. They come alive and live with you for a while, and it is hard to say good-bye at the end. For people to want a sequel to Unspeakable Journey is a great compliment, but right now, I like the end the way it is, where you have to fill in the blanks.
Oh! I was afraid you were going to say that…. 🙂 What is currently in the works for you?
Rinda: I am currently working on a new novel. It is very different from Unspeakable Journey and is geared more toward young adults. I don’t think it will be Christian fiction (at least at this point that is the plan). I do hope that readers of Unspeakable Journey will still enjoy this new novel.
I have also been very busy promoting Unspeakable Journey and interacting with book clubs that have invited me to attend their discussion of my book. The book seems to lend itself to engaging book club discussion, and I hear from lots of readers that they are suggesting it to their local book club groups.
It is a tradition here to ask each author I interview to share a little known fact about themselves.
Rinda: Like do you want to know that I am clumsy? I don’t pay attention to where I am going, because my head is usually in the clouds, dreaming, and I run into things and fall down. My husband and kids laugh at me a lot. Truthfully, I laugh at myself, cause you know, I have learned not to take myself too seriously!
On a more serious note, I am an artist. I enjoy drawing and painting, and would love to write and illustrate a children’s book.
Rinda, thank you so much for taking the time to come and chat with me today. I enjoyed learning more about your book, your writing, and what we can expect next.
Readers: You can find Rinda Hahn hanging out at her website: www.rindahahn.com
and on her blog: http://rindahahn.wordpress.com
Oh and do miss her wonderful post called A Salute To Book Bloggers
Unspeakable Journey is available on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Borders.com, or nationwide at your local bookstore. I picked up the audio version on audible.com If your bookstore does not have it in stock, they can order it.