I’m honored today to feature my first YA author’s interview!
When Blaze Publishing offered me the opportunity to interview the author of Paintbrush I was ecstatic!
Hannah Bucchin published her firts novel and what a novel! You can find Paintbrush review HERE.
I loved Paintbrush. I found it utterly charming and a success for her first published book (that I know of). I’m really grateful to Hannah Bucchin for taking the time to answer my questions.
I hope you’ll get to know her better and give her book a chance!
Some questions to get to know you better first:
1) First question about the child you were: how was little Hannah like? Did you always know you would write books one day?
I was a huge book nerd when I was little! My mom used to have to take my books away at night because I would stay up so late reading. I always liked to write, too – somewhere in my parent’s house is a shelf of notebooks filled with extremely embarrassing poetry I wrote in elementary school. Writing has always been a passion of mine.
2) What were your favorite books as a teenager? And now what books would you choose if you had to live alone on a remote island?
As a teenager I loved everything Sarah Dessen (and I still do!). The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series was a huge favorite of mine. I also read the Harry Potter series over and over again growing up – I think I’ve read each book five or six times. If I had to live alone on a remote island, I’d definitely bring The Princess Bride by William Goldman. It’s been one of my favorite books since the third grade (when I was probably too young to be reading it).
3) Could you describe yourself in five words?
That’s hard! If I had to pick I would say: Loyal, introspective, cheerful, friendly, restless.
About your writing process and Paintbrush in particular:
1) Was it easy being published? Or a long arduous journey that began years ago with a lot of re-writing? Was writing your first book like you imagined?
I’m a chronic procrastinator, so I never really had much faith that I could start and actually finish a book. After college, I moved to Bar Harbor, Maine for five months and told myself that those five months were all I had. If I couldn’t finish a book in that time, I would make myself move home and start a “real” career.
Well, luckily I finished Paintbrush just five days before I left Maine. It was such a surprise to me that I had actually written an entire book that I almost didn’t care about getting published at first – I was just so happy I finished it! After a few months of shopping my manuscript around, Blaze Publishing picked it up. And I’m so glad they did! By the time Paintbrush is published on July 11th, it will have been just over two years from the day I started writing the book.
2) What have you learned from your mistakes (if you did any)? What would you do differently now?
I’ve learned to not get too bogged down in outlining and planning. With Paintbrush, I spent way too much time on an outline that I didn’t really follow anyway. Sitting down and writing is the hard part, and I think too much outlining and brainstorming was really just a way for me to avoid getting down to the actual hard work.
3) Your worldbuildingwith the Indian Paintbrush Community Village for Sustainable Living and its members was vivid and seemed so accurate. I loved this community and its colorful characters. Did you live close by or in such a community? What inspired you to write about it? Where did the idea come from?
This community was largely inspired by place – specifically Asheville, NC and the mountains surrounding it. I currently live in Asheville, and the culture here is so unique. The Indian Paintbrush Community Village for Sustainable Living is a product of my imagination that was inspired by my time in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
4) One of the things I loved about all else in Paintbrush was the character gallery. They really made the story so interesting thanks to their habits, quirks etc. How do you choose and build your characters? How do you make them “flesh and bones”? And why did you choose these characters in particular (some are practicing yoga naked, other adults smoke weed while another cleanshis rifle etc. These are quite quaint characters 😀 )
I’m not sure any character is entirely based off any particular real-life person, but many of the habits and traits are based off quirks of people I’ve encountered in real life. When I create characters, the first thing I imagine is usually their dialogue – how they talk, what they talk about, if they’re sarcastic or serious, quiet or loud, etc. Once I imagine how a side character might speak or interact with my main character, the rest of the character (backstory, physical traits, habits) usually falls into place. Dialogue is my absolute favorite thing to write, and it’s the part of writing that comes most easily to me.
As far as why I chose these characters…it’s hard to say. I don’t usually consciously choose to write a character; it’s more like they sort of pop up in my mind, and then I have to write them into the story.
5) You write from dual POV in Paintbrush. Was it difficult to walk in Mitchell’s shoes? To be in his head with the gender difference? Did you take advices from male friends or family members? Was it more difficult than what you expected? Or did it come naturally? What is the key to write from multiple POV?
Multiple POV was much more difficult to write than I would have thought. The first challenge was to make each character’s voice authentically unique and separate. If I went back and reread and found myself forgetting whose POV I was reading, then I knew I had to rewrite. It was more difficult to write from Mitchell’s POV not necessarily because of his gender, but because my own personality and voice are much more similar to Josie’s. Overall, I would say the key to writing multiple POV is to take a few minutes to make sure you are fully in the right character’s frame of mind before you start writing.
6) Would you say you’re closer to Mitchell (always knowing what you wanted for your future) or to Josie (undecided)?
Much closer to Josie! I’ve always felt pulled in so many different directions and interested in everything. I’ve worked many different jobs in my life and all of them have had pros and cons. Writing is the one constant I’ve had – I’ve always loved to write, and I hope to continue writing for a very long time.
7) Reading about the romance was really sweet and heart-warming. I loved the slow burn romance/ childhood sweetheart story and the non-date/dates. Was it easy to write? Based on past experience?
I’m lucky enough to have been in the same serious relationship for four and a half years now, and some aspects of that relationship made their way into Paintbrush (Sean, if you’re reading this, don’t worry- I only used the good stuff!). The romantic element in the story most influenced by my experience is that initial feeling when you’re first starting a relationship, when you’re both extremely happy and very nervous all at once. Falling in love is awesome but also terrifying, and I wanted to convey that in my story.
8) In the book you’re featuring diverse topics (forgiving; to blend in or stay true to our nature; choosing your future, etc.). Why choose these particular topics?
Many of the themes in Paintbrush are based on real-life experiences I’ve had. In particular, I’ve always struggled between a constant yearning for adventure and travel, and a deep love for my home and family. I love being curled up on my couch with a book, but I also love backpacking across countries and swimming in oceans and hiking up mountains. Finding this balance – between loving home and staying connected to your roots while still exploring the world and finding yourself – was a major theme that I tried to explore throughout Paintbrush.
9) I absolutely adore the gorgeous cover. Who selected this little jewel? Who is the talented artist behind the cover?
I am so not artistic – when Blaze asked me what I wanted for the cover, all I could come up with was “watercolors”. Luckily, they hired Blue Sky Design who did a wonderful job with the cover. It’s better than anything I could have come up with!
10) Could you tell us something about your future books?
I can’t reveal too much detail now, but my current WIP takes place in a small town on the coast of Maine and follows the story of two very different sisters as they try to fix their broken relationship over the course of a summer.
Now some light and fun questions to end this interview:
11) Favorite quote?
“In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus
12) Guilty pleasure? Something you can’t resist?
Chickfila chocolate milkshakes. Also, watching The Bachelorette – all I do when I’m watching is sit there and make fun of the show. But I can’t stop watching.
13) You are walking on the beach and finda very old lamp. Of course you’re scrubbing it and a Genie you summoned inadvertently materializes in your kitchen. He grants you three wishes: what would they be?
1) To have enough time and money to visit every country in the world.
2) A never ending supply of free books.
3) And of course, world peace!
Thank you so much Hannah!