Today I’m really excited to welcome Hannah Carmack to A Redhead’s Rambling for a Q&A on the release of her new novella, Take Your Medicine! I was so excited when Hannah reached out to me and I loved the sound of her story so I couldn’t wait to work with her on my first ever Q&A. You can also find out about Hannah and where to grab a copy of her book below. Let’s get started!
Hi Hannah! Can you start by telling us about your upcoming novella, Take Your Medicine.
Sure thing! Take Your Medicine is a Southern Gothic retelling of Alice in Wonderland. In this iteration of the classic tale, “Al” is a young queer girl suffering from vasovagal syncope. In an attempt to cure her ailment, she dives into the world of backwater witch craft.
This certainly sounds like an exciting read. What inspired you to write this story?
It’s crazy to think about, but I originally wrote this exclusively for an anthology Nine Star Press was putting out called Over the Rainbow. It was collection of queer fairy tale retellings. Take Your Medicine was accepted into the anthology, but after reading it a few more times my editor approached me and asked me if I’d be open to having it turned in to a full-blown novella. It was basically an instant -and intense- YES.
Retellings are very popular right now. What is the significance of Alice in Wonderland and why did you choose to retell Carroll’s infamous tale?
Originally, I was super resistant to doing an Alice in Wonderland re-telling. I felt like everyone and their mother had an Alice retelling. From American McGee video games, to Tim Burton adaptations, Alice was everywhere. But, I had this reoccurring idea of The Queen of Hearts as a cardiothoracic surgeon, and I just couldn’t shake it. Then, the anthology came along and the rest is history!
Take Your Medicine is very different from your debut novel, Seven-Sided Spy. Do you have a favourite genre to write?
I love writing character-driven fiction. Whether it be a YA contemporary like Take Your Medicine or a dark thriller like Seven-Sided Spy, I think characters are the heart of any good story. So although my settings my jump from space to the south, when you pick up one of my books you’re guaranteed to meet a colourful cast.
Tell us about your reading habits and what books inspired you to become and author.
I didn’t read much up until college, but now it’s rare that I’m without a book. Working for STEM Read, I do a lot of sci-fi reading for work, but in my free time I enjoy poetry collections and contemporary YA.
In terms of becoming a writer, I’ve always been someone who loves to tell stories. For a while I drew, for a while I acted, I had a brief stint as a soccer goalie, but writing was the one thing that actually stuck with me as a child. It’s something I’ve always loved and I honestly can’t imagine myself doing anything else.
For those of you who don’t know, STEM Read is an organisation that inspires readers to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Why is this important to you?
STEM Read has been nothing but amazing to me. We take popular fiction and create day-long fieldtrips based around student’s favorite books. I think approaching both literacy and STEM through interactive, hands-on fun is necessary. We’ve had lots of kids say things along the lines of:
“I never read until…” or “This is the first book I’ve read where…” or “I hate reading, but loved when we had to read Ender’s Game”
I think if we’re getting kids reading, we’re winning, so it’s worth it and it’s important.
Your protagonists lead very interesting lives that take place in worlds and situations far apart from mine and yours. If you could live in any literary world for a day, where would you choose?
This is probably super basic, but of course it’d be Harry Potter. Hogwarts? C’mon. Who doesn’t want to go run around a castle and perform magic.
I’d pick Hogwarts, too! Writing can often become a reflection of ourselves without realising. Do you relate to your protagonist in any way?
I think a lot of my protagonists display resiliency. Bad guys, good guys, morally ambiguous guys, my characters always push through, and I think that’s something that the world has really driven home for me.
There’s also the fact that I enjoy giving my characters some variation of physical ailment. Having ulcerative colitis, I want to see illness in media. I want to see illness normalized and talked about. It seems like it’s been swept under the rug for so long when in reality a GIANT chunk of our population struggles with some kind of ailment.
It’s very brave to openly discuss your own illness. Life brings us many struggles, from the physical, to the struggles we encounter as creative writers. What is your writing Kryptonite?
I try not to think of my own illness as a weakness, but something that helps motivate me. That said, I think my own writing Kryptonite would be lingering descriptions. I’ve got a lot of plot in certain books and I want to get from Point A to Point B as fast as possible. There’s a lot of times where my editor will dog-ear a page and be like “Now rewrite, but ten times slower.” And it’s really made me a better writer for it.
Do you have a belief, mantra, or critical piece of advice that you could give to aspiring authors?
Get writing! I think the most important aspect of getting from “aspiring author” to just “author” is the actually putting words on the page part.
I’d like to take this moment to thank Hannah Carmack for taking her time to join in my Q&A for the release of Take Your Medicine, her new novella available to read now! It’s been so much fun learning lots about Hannah and helping to promote her new novella. I’d definitely encourage you all to read it. I know I’ll be diving into it soon so watch out for my review. If you want to learn more about Hannah Carmack and her writing check out her social media links and buy the book below.
Take Your Medicine:
Goodreads: Take Your Medicine
Where to buy: https://ninestarpress.com/product/take-your-medicine/
Social Media Links:
Facebook: Hannah Carmack Author