Sex, Life, & Hannah started out as a manuscript I wrote in 2004. I’ve been a journal writer my whole life (I still have the first diary I ever wrote in, from when I was six). As you might have guessed there is a lot of content that has stacked up over the years. Well, back in 2004 I decided to do something with it. But where to start? I tried to think of a pivotal moment in my life that could be a launching point for everything I wanted to say, and it was–of course–the day my boyfriend of 5 and 1/2 years broke up with me. On New Year’s Eve. It had been a turbulent relationship (to say the least) so the break-up was not unexpected, but everything that happened after it was.
The first draft of the manuscript was very personal, I literally took almost all the words right out of my journal entries and made them into chapters. And the main character, very much me at that first draft, was nameless and faceless. Maybe because it all read too personal; I had to keep the main character anonymous to save face if I decided to publish it that way.
That manuscript sat for a while, and I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to do anything with it. But slowly, I started getting ideas. The stories, my journal entries, though completely raw, were true to life. Our worlds revolved around relationships, love, lust, the job we hated or wanted, trying to figure out what we needed in our lives, the friends we relied on, the parents we didn’t want to rely on. It’s what we talked about over coffee, drinks, shopping, or when we were in bed, bawling our eyes out to our best friend over the phone. My manuscript was life unfolding for women in their mid to late twenties. That moment in time, between being single and being married when things seem so insane, and painful, and right, then wrong; when our hormones are fired up for only one thing; when it feels like all we need to do is find The One to be happy…
In 2006, I published the first chapter of the book, now calling it: Hannah. An eight-page little diddy about a girl whose boyfriend breaks up with her on New Year’s Eve. I mainly did it as a promotional brochure for a book fair I was planning on exhibiting at later that year, but it set the tone for the manuscript I decided I wanted to eventually publish. The characters took on names, and voices, and backstories. It was less like a journal and more like a book, yet Hannah’s voice was still mine, still true to life; an expression of some of my most private thoughts.
I thought about publishing each individual chapter as separate books, but then settled on a nine-chapter novella, and in 2007, the first book in the Sex, Life, & Hannah series was born.
I get a lot of people asking me: are you Hannah? The short answer to that is: yes and no. In writing and re-writing my manuscripts and working with two editors, the characters have flourished and have taken off in some very different directions from my life. But I still use my journal entries and experiences for inspiration, and I still feel Hannah inside of me; living vicariously through me as much as I am living vicariously through her now.
In the summer of 2008 I started working on the next nine chapters of the Sex, Life, & Hannah series. You see, in Chapter 9 Hannah accidentally smashes into the back of her ex’s car, and then…we’re all left hanging. Even I needed to know what happens next so I started scribbling notes, and then outlines, and finally started working on Chapters 10 through 18.
The e-book is due out this year, and yes, I did say e-book. I have been doing a lot of research into digital publishing and I believe it’s the perfect platform for what I am trying to accomplish. If I was going the traditional print route we all would have to wait a lot longer to read about whether Hannah has a complete emotional breakdown in the hospital with The Ex or is able to pull herself together and say “no” to the on-again-off-again, unhealthy (yet very comfortable) relationship.
And this is where my blog begins. Stay tuned for updates about Hannah, progress on the chapters, e-book, print book, podcasts, and how you can get the scoop on what happens next…