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Alyssa Palombo

The official website and blog of author Alyssa Palombo

The Borgia Confessions is OUT NOW!

Today is the day, at long last! The Borgia Confessions, my fourth novel, is finally out in the world!

After living this with book for so long, and putting so much work into it, and (lately) doing a lot of promotional stuff for it, it’s a little hard for me to believe that this book is finally out and on bookstore shelves!

I am so, so deeply proud of this book, and know without a doubt that it’s the best thing I’ve written to this point. It was inspired by so many things: the political situation in the United States the last few years and my desire to speak to power and its abuse, my own complicated feelings about Catholicism, my love of villains and villain origin stories, and perhaps most importantly, the fact that I’ve been kind of obsessed with the Borgias since I was a teenager. Infused in this book is my love of shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, as well as my love of metal music. And, perhaps most of all, my love of and fascination with Italy and its incredible history can also be found in the pages of this book – and the fact that it is my first novel to be published in Italy (it was released there on November 5th, 2019) is so incredibly meaningful to me as well. I really fell in love with Rome in particular while working on this book, and I like to think that love comes through.

Tonight I’m having a book launch party (details on the Events page; if you’re in the Buffalo area, come on out!), and I’m so excited to share this book with everyone. I’m looking forward to celebrating tonight, and tomorrow I have a day off to relax and chill and decompress from the craziness of launch day and the lead up to it.

I’m SO happy this book is finally available and making its way into the hands of readers, and I hope that you enjoy it!

 

Buy The Borgia Confessions:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

Audible

The Borgia Confessions Playlist

Somehow, there is now only ONE WEEK TO GO until the publication of The Borgia Confessions! Therefore today I’m releasing the final playlist for the book, the full The Borgia Confessions playlist! This one has both Maddalena and Cesare’s playlists combined (in story order) along with a few additional songs as well. Hope you enjoy, and I so can’t wait for this book to be available next week!

 

Maddalena’s Playlist

Today marks only TWO WEEKS until the publication of The Borgia Confessions! As promised, I have another playlist to share with you all today: the playlist for Maddalena Moretti, the second narrator of the novel. If Kamelot was kind of Cesare’s signature artist, then Halsey is Maddalena’s. Hope you enjoy!

 

 

Cesare’s Playlist

The Borgia Confessions will be out exactly THREE WEEKS from today! To help count down to publication day, today I’m releasing the first of three playlists for the book: Cesare’s character playlist. (There is…so much Kamelot). Check it out on Spotify!

 

 

Preorder Campaign for THE BORGIA CONFESSIONS

It’s now 2020, officially the release year for The Borgia Confessions, and February 11th isn’t that far off! On that note, I’m excited to announce my preorder campaign for The Borgia Confessions!

If you preorder the novel before release date, I’ll send you some of the book’s bookmarks (picture below and designed by my super talented best friend, Jennifer Hark-Hameister) and a signed bookplate!

The rules are simple:

1.) Preorder The Borgia Confessions in any format, from any retailer, before February 11th, 2020.

2.) Send me your receipt/proof of purchase at alyssa@alyssapalombo.com, along with your mailing address. I’ll then put the bookmarks and bookplate in the mail to you!

3.) Open internationally!

 

And that’s it! Who doesn’t love swag? 🙂

 

I’m so excited to share this book with you all soon. Happy 2020!

15 Facts About THE VIOLINIST OF VENICE

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the publication of my debut novel, The Violinist of Venice! It totally does not seem like it’s been four years since I first became a published author – it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long at all. So much has happened since then (including the fact that I’m somehow gearing up for the publication of my FOURTH BOOK – WHAT EVEN), and yet it still seems like it just happened.

So in honor of the fourth anniversary of this book I love so much, and that anniversary falling on December 15th, I decided to share fifteen fun facts about The Violinist of Venice:

 

1.) The working title was Maestro. On my first revision/second draft, I changed it to The Violinist of Venice. Before going on submission, my agent and I kicked around a few other title options to see if there was something we liked better than The Violinist of Venice, and there wasn’t, so we went with it. I love that title because it can refer to either Adriana or Vivaldi, or both.

2.) I retyped the entire book twice. My agent loves to tell this story: for each of the two revisions I did before querying, I printed out the whole manuscript, put it in a binder, and manually retyped the entire thing as I revised. This forced me to consider every single word and whether or not it was necessary, or if it was the best word. My agent found this admirable, but the two of us joined forces to break me of this habit – it’s definitely not efficient or practical time-wise, which I quickly found out when doing revisions on more of a deadline.

3.) Each version of the book got shorter. The original, very messy first draft was almost 600 pages. It got shorter (and, more importantly, tighter) with each revision it went through, from the ones I did on my own to the revisions my agent and I did before going on sub to the line edits my editor did.

4.) I first got the idea for the book from a dream I had. The dream was essentially the first chapter of the book. And the date on which I woke up from that dream? March 4th – Antonio Vivaldi’s birthday. I started writing the book that same day.

5.) I never had an edit letter for this book. By the time my editor bought it, the manuscript was pretty polished – I’d been working on it for five years (due to being in college at the time, as well as my very time-consuming revision process described above), and that was before the revisions my agent and I did. So my editor jumped right to a heavy line edit, and as this was my debut novel, I didn’t know any different. Only now do I realize how unusual this was. My books since then have all had edit letters, of course – they’ve all been much heavier lifts for my editor than the first one!

6.) There was one scene I worked on in the same place twice – sort of. The scene where Adriana and her father go to stay at the Foscari country house was originally written in my dear friend Lindsay’s dorm at Canisius College, our alma mater. I was a commuter student, and one day on campus I got caught in a MASSIVE downpour, got completely soaked through, and had to go to her dorm so that a) she could put my clothes in her dryer and b) I could borrow some of her clothes while mine were drying. So while waiting for my clothes to dry, I got out my laptop and did some writing. A couple years later, I was revising that scene in my last revision before querying while in her apartment in Maryland, where I was visiting her while she was in grad school.

7.) While I was working on the book, I only ever called it “The Beast”. I never referred to it by its title, or it’s working title – it was only ever “The Beast”, and all my friends knew it by that name, too. For a while after it sold, I kept forgetting that when people said The Violinist of Venice, they were actually referring to my book!

8.) My very favorite part of the book is Chapter 30, “Composition”. This is the scene where Adriana gives Vivaldi the first movement of a concerto she’s composed, and he tells her what he thinks and plays it for her. This didn’t get added until revisions (in the first draft, Adriana wasn’t a composer herself). I love it because I so understand all the nerves and feelings that come with sharing your work with someone for the first time.

9.) There’s a line in the book where Vivaldi says “We are both of us whores”. This is my friend and critique partner Caitie’s favorite line I have ever written to this day. When I signed her book, I wrote that line in caps across the title page.

10.) I finally went to Venice before starting the final revision before querying. At that point, I had done tons of research through books, the internet, and taking violin lessons myself. Seeing Venice and experiencing it was the last piece of the puzzle for me. It was completely magical, and Venice is my favorite place in the entire world – I’ve since been back twice more. While I was there, I went to see an orchestra perform Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, which was truly one of the most amazing experiences of my life – hearing the music in the place where it was written.

11.) I make color-coded notes for all my books. I have one notebook I carry around to jot down story notes as they occur to me, and each book gets its own color pen ink, so I can tell at a glance what book the notes are for. The notes for The Violinist of Venice were in dark red.

12.) The character most like me in this book is Giuseppe Rivalli. There’s a lot of me in Adriana for sure – the love of music being the big thing we have in common – but I realized at some point while writing this that Giuseppe was actually the most like me. I’m the friend who will try to talk you out of bad ideas, and when I can’t, I’ll go along to try to limit the damage.

13.) I’ve performed some of the music described in this book. I’ve performed the aria “Cosi potessi anch’io” from Orlando furioso, as well as the first movement of Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater. I’ve also sung in the choir and as a soloist for Vivaldi’s Gloria in D, which pops up a few times in the book.

14.) My favorite piece of music of all time is Vivaldi’s Concerto in B Minor for 4 Violins and Cello Continuo, which is Vivaldi and Adriana’s favorite piece in the book.

15.) There is a shout-out to one of my favorite bands in the first chapter. Chapter 1 ends with the line “I pulled my hood over my face and stepped outside into the late April rain, leaving him to think what he would.” This is a nod to the band Delain and their album April Rain, which I listened to constantly while writing this book. Most of the songs on the album are on the book’s playlist (which you can find here).

Bonus “fact”: If Adriana was a real person and around today, she would be first chair violin in a symphony orchestra and also playing electric violin in a symphonic metal band on the side.

A Bookish Gift Guide!

It’s time for the holidays again! I am of the opinion that books make excellent and thoughtful holiday gifts. So I’ve decided to put together a bookish gift guide that can help you pick out some great titles for the readers in your life based on other books, movies, TV shows, etc. that they like. Of course, I’ll also recommend which of my books would be the best fit for each reader based on interest! 🙂

Here we go:

If they like Game of Thrones:

My book: Gift them a preorder of The Borgia Confessions!

Fiction: From Unseen Fire by Cass Morris; An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir; The White Queen by Philippa Gregory; Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King; The Cruel Prince by Holly Black; Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake; The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George.

Non-fiction: The Deadly Sisterhood: A Story of Women and Power in Renaissance Italy by Leonie Frieda, Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses by Sarah Gristwood, Ten Caesars: Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine by Barry S. Strauss; The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England by Dan Jones; The Tigress of Forlì: Renaissance Italy’s Most Courageous and Notorious Countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de Medici by Elizabeth Lev.

 

If they like visual art or movies like Shakespeare in Love or shows like The Tudors:

My book: The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence

Fiction: The Other Alcott by Elise Hooper; Portrait of a Conspiracy by Donna Russo Morin; The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant; The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam; Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough; I, Mona Lisa by Jeanne Kalogridis; Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth; The Painter’s Apprentice by Laura Morelli.

Non-fiction: Bella Figura: How to Live, Love, and Eat the Italian Way by Kamin Mohammadi; The Ugly Renaissance: Sex, Greed, Violence, and Depravity in an Age of Beauty by Alexander Lee; Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson; Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation’s Treasures from the Nazis by Robert M. Edsel.

 

If they like music (especially classical music/opera) or The Phantom of the Opera:

My book: The Violinist of Venice

Fiction: The Mermaid’s Daughter by Ann Claycomb; Bel Canto by Ann Patchett; Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid; Marrying Mozart by Stephanie Cowell; And After the Fire by Lauren Belfer; Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones; Prima Donna by Megan Chance.

Non-fiction: Vivaldi: Voice of the Baroque by H.C. Robbins Landon; The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824 by Harvey Sachs; The Inner Voice: The Making of a Singer by Renee Fleming; Piece by Piece by Tori Amos and Ann Powers; The Violin: A Social History of the World’s Most Versatile Instrument by David Schoenbaum.

 

If they like Halloween, spooky stories, Tim Burton movies, and Hocus Pocus:

My book: The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel

Fiction: The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox; The Witches of New York by Amy McKay; The Hunger by Alma Katsu; Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo; The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw; The Diviners by Libba Bray; The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry; The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe; The Family Plot by Cherie Priest; The Devil and Winnie Flynn by Micol Ostow and David Ostow.

Non-fiction: Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey; Spooked: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach; The Witches: Salem 1692 by Stacy Schiff; I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara.

 

I hope this gift guide gives you some ideas for your holiday shopping! If you do buy anything you found on this list, do let me know – I’d love to hear what you picked. Happy holidays to all!

Authors & Inspirations: Kate Karyus Quinn

Today I’m excited to have on the blog my friend and fellow author Kate Karyus Quinn! She is the author of the YA novels Another Little Piece, (Don’t You) Forget About Me, and Down with the Shine (which was one of those books where I was ignoring everyone at a family party because I COULD NOT put it down), as well as the adult rom-com The Show Must Go On. Her YA novel in verse, Not Hungry, is out today from West 44 Books. She’s also got some very exciting projects coming up that she’ll be telling us all about. Welcome, Kate!

 

What artist (of any medium) has had the biggest influence on you as a writer?

I honestly have trouble pin-pointing one particular person who influenced me because I’ve always read widely, watched more television than is healthy, and squeezed a few films in between all those books and TV. And I really believe it ALL influences me.

For example, in high school there was a period of time when I was super into watching Lambchop’s Play Along with my little sister. I loved the songs and the silliness and the puppets. And at the same time I was really into rock music and would play my Stone Temple Pilots cassette tape (yes, tape!) over and over that started with, “I am smellin’ like a rose that somebody left me on my birthday deathbed – cause I’m dead and bloated.”

I think my work has that same mixture of humor, darkness, and absurdity.

 

Do you listen to music while you write? Why or why not?

I sometimes do. Most of the time I’m doing ten million things and just don’t think about it.

 

If you do listen to music while writing, share a few songs on your current writing playlist:

I actually have a record player near my desk so I’ll sometimes put on either Carol King “Tapestry” or Bette Midler’s “The Divine Miss M.”

 

Are there any musicians who have had a big impact on your work?

I love musicians who tells stories with their songs. My mom introduced me to Harry Chapin when I was younger and he was a great storyteller. I am also a big fan of Broadway musicals – which are obviously all about combining music and storytelling.

 

What was the last live concert you attended?

My husband got some free tickets to the Arianna Grande concert – so I went with my 9 year old daughter. We ended up leaving early because all the thumping bass made her stomach hurt.

 

What’s the farthest you’ve ever traveled for a concert?

I’ve never really traveled to attend a concert. I’ve gone to NYC to see musicals on Broadway, though. Does that count?

 

Share some of your favorite song lyrics:

Since I mentioned Harry Chapin, these are the beginning lyrics from Dogtown:

Up in Massachusetts There’s a little spit of land.
The men who make the maps, yes, they call the place Cape Ann.
The men who do the fishing call it Gloucester Harbor Sound,
But the women left behind, they call the place Dogtown.

 

Your favorite band is going to write a song based on one of your books. What band is it, and what should the song be about?

Well… I actually have taken most of my book titles from songs. My most recent young adult book DOWN WITH THE SHINE is from a song by the Avett Brothers.

 

What band is on your bucket list to see live?

I really want to see COME FROM AWAY – which is a Broadway musical that’s touring into my town this coming fall. It’s about a group of air travelers all detoured to the same small Canadian town due to 9/11 and how they come together and find meaning out of tragedy. I’ve heard it’s amazing.

 

You are magically going to be granted the ability to be a virtuoso on one instrument. Which do you pick?

Piano. I played as a kid and would love to someday pick it up again.

 

What are your all-time favorite TV shows?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Veronica Mars. Schitt’s Creek. The Good Place. Mad Men.

 

What TV shows are you loving lately?

The last thing I binge watched was Derry Girls on Netflix and now I am eagerly waiting for the next season.

 

Is there a TV show that’s had an impact on you as a writer?

Definitely Buffy the Vampire Slayer. My college friends and I were obsessed with it. Even though looking back there are parts that are problematic, I still love the mix of humor and drama and horror.

 

If you got the opportunity to write an episode for one show (past or present) what would it be?

I would love to write an episode of Buffy!

 

If Netflix were to option one of your books for a TV series, which book would you choose, and who would play your main characters?

I would choose my newest book, THE SHOW MUST GO ON, which is a romantic comedy. The main character is a mess of a person, but a very talented stage performer and singer. I think Anna Kendrick would be amazing in that role.

 

What are your all-time favorite movies?

The Joy Luck Club. Billy Elliot. Dirty Dancing. Bridget Jones’s Diary. American Splendor. Run, Lola, Run.

 

Who are your favorite actors/actresses?

Elisabeth Moss is amazing.

 

Which of your books do you think would make a great movie? Is there a book of yours you WOULDN’T want to see as a movie, and why?

I think all of my books would make good movies. I went to film school before I began writing novels and I tend to “see” my books play out in my head.

 

Are you a theatregoer? If so, what was the last play/musical you saw?

I saw Waitress in June and it was AMAZING!

 

What are your top five favorite musicals (if applicable)?

Hamilton

Waitress

A New Brain

Ragtime

Mathilda

 

You can go on a two-week, all-expenses paid writing retreat to the location of your choice. Where would you go, and why?

Oooh, I really want to go to the Outer Banks in North Carolina where they have a beach that is only accessibly by 4×4 and wild horses roam. It seems like such a pretty and remote location for a writing retreat.

 

What was the last book you read?

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary (it was great!)

 

What’s your favorite book you’ve read recently?

The Mars Room.

 

What are your very favorite kinds of scenes to write?

Dialogue!

 

When you need to recharge your batteries/refill the well as a writer, what forms of media do you most often turn to?

I read mostly. Or watch TV. But mostly I try to catch up on all the books I don’t have time to read.

 

What artistic/creative talents do you have outside of writing?

I’m starting to get into doing some graphic design, but I’m still very much a novice.

 

What artistic/creative talent do you wish you had?

I wish I could draw!

 

Let us know what’s coming up next for you: new books, new projects; what are you working on?

So many things!!

On August 1st NOT HUNGRY a young adult hi-lo book in verse releases. It received a starred review from Kirkus too!

https://www.amazon.com/Not-Hungry-Kate-Karyus-Quinn/dp/1538382695

On August 13th FIRE & FLOOD: Mount Olympus Academy Book 1 releases. This is a co-written paranormal young adult novel and can be pre-ordered right now for only .99

https://www.amazon.com/dp/product/B07VBZ6LSF/

On October 1st PILLAGE & PLAGUE: Mount Olympus Academy Book 2 releases. This is also available for pre-order.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/product/B07VCHK9QW/

Next spring ANTIHERO, a middle grade graphic novel that I’m co-writing with Demitria Lunetta, releases from DC comics. This is a really cool and different direction for me and I’m super excited about it!

 

Kate Karyus Quinn is an avid reader and menthol chapstick addict with a BFA in theater and an MFA in film and television production. She lives in Buffalo, New York with her husband, three children, and one enormous dog.

Find her online at katekaryusquinn.com

Sign up for her newsletter for exclusive content and giveaways! https://tinyurl.com/y9zz4hp6

Authors & Inspirations: Erin Hahn

Today I’m very excited to welcome YA author Erin Hahn to the blog! Erin’s debut, the gorgeous, swoony country music YA romance You’d Be Mine released from Wednesday Books in April of this year. Erin and I share an editor, so I was lucky enough to get to read an early copy of this wonderful book. Folks, if this one isn’t on your summer TBR pile yet, you’ll want to fix that, stat! The novel follows two young country music artists on the road for their summer tour, and sparks fly between heartthrob Clay Coolidge and daughter of country music royalty Annie Mathers. I laughed, I cried, I definitely swooned over this musical love story! So happy to have you, Erin!

 

What artist (of any medium) has had the biggest influence on you as a writer?

Oh. Good question! Song writers really influence me. Particularly ones that tell stories, like they did back in the 1970’s. I grew up listening to a lot of Harry Chapin, Charlie Daniels, James Taylor and Carol King. When I grew older, I listened to a lot of Counting Crows, Fiona Apple and Something Corporate… songwriters have a way of conveying a story in a lyrical and succinct way and I’ve tried to emulate that in my own writing.

 

Do you listen to music while you write? Why or why not?

Always. Music helps me to evoke certain emotions in my work. I find it easier to slip into a character’s brain when I have music pumping into my earbuds. I’m not much of an outliner, but I do create playlists for my characters and specific scenes when I’m drafting. Sort of like a soundtrack for the book. Music also tends to motivate and move me, physically, as I write. It helps me to match my characters and accurately describe how their bodies are reacting to something. For example, if I am writing something highly emotive, something where a character is furious or anxious or full of adrenaline, it allows me to feel the same and convey that state more perfectly onto the page for the reader.

 

If you do listen to music while writing, share a few songs on your current writing playlist:

Psh. Without context, of course…

  1. Rescue, Lauren Daigle
  2. Let Go, Red
  3. Bullet With Butterfly Wings, Smashing Pumpkins

 

Are there any musicians who have had a big impact on your work?

You’ll find in MORE THAN MAYBE, out in 2020, I talk a lot about Adam Duritz who is the lead singer and song writer of Counting Crows. He’s probably influenced me the most with his music.

 

What was the last live concert you attended?

I saw the Turnpike Troubadours this past winter. We saw them in an underground cavern in Tennessee and it was by far the coolest show I’ve ever been to. Bluegrass in a cave. Nothing better.

 

What’s the farthest you’ve ever traveled for a concert?

Tennessee! It was about an 8 hour drive? Maybe 9?

 

Share some of your favorite song lyrics:

time favorite is “And every time she sneezes/ I believe it’s love and oh Lord/ I’m not ready for this sort of thing.” “Anna Begins”, Counting Crows.

Honorable mention: “Lucy was pretty/ your best friend agreed/ Well, still/ a pretty good year.”  “Pretty Good Year”, Tori Amos

 

Your favorite band is going to write a song based on one of your books. What band is it, and what should the song be about?

I’d die if Kacey Musgraves wrote something for You’d Be Mine.

 

What band is on your bucket list to see live?

Smashing Pumpkins

 

You are magically going to be granted the ability to be a virtuoso on one instrument. Which do you pick?

Easy. Violin. Like Boyd Tinsley of Dave Matthews Band

 

What are your all-time favorite TV shows?

Bones, Once Upon a Time, Criminal Minds, Teen Wolf,  Timeless and BBC Sherlock.

 

What TV shows are you loving lately?

I loved Good Omens! I binged it in one afternoon. Otherwise, I don’t watch a whole lot of TV. When I’m able to, I like to rewatch old episodes of Criminal Minds or Dateline? I’m very boring.

 

Is there a TV show that’s had an impact on you  as a writer?

Not especially. Though I do love slow burn romantic arcs and would love to write a series with a partnership like the one between Booth and Bones that spans several books but has a satisfactory ending!

 

If you got the opportunity to write an episode for one show (past or present) what would it be?

Maybe something funny like New Girl or The Office.

 

If Netflix were to option one of your books for a TV series, which book would you choose, and who would play your main characters?

I would love it if they bought You’d Be Mine! To see those country kids perform on screen would be incredible! I’m not sure who I would cast, but lately I’ve decided that American Idol winner, Laine Hardy sings EXACTLY how I hear Clay Coolidge in my head!

 

What are your all-time favorite movies?

Empire Records, Sweet Home Alabama, While You Were Sleeping and Practical Magic

 

Who are your favorite actors/actresses?

Reese Witherspoon, Sandra Bullock, John Krasinski

 

Is there a movie that’s had a big impact on you as a writer?

Empire Records. My second book, More Than Maybe is 100% inspired by my love of this teen cult classic from the 90s.

 

Which of your books do you think would make a great movie? Is there a book of yours you WOULDN’T want to see as a movie, and why?

More Than Maybe would be pretty great. Super musical, super dramatic, super grand gesture of love at the end to make an audience swoon.

 

Are you a theatregoer? If so, what was the last play/musical you saw?

I wish I was more of one… having kids and living in the middle of nowhere means I see less than I’d like. I took my youngest to see Aladdin on stage in Detroit last winter.

 

What are your top five favorite musicals (if applicable)?

Les Miserables, Hamilton, Wicked, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat, Phantom of the Opera

 

Are there any visual artists you’re a big fan of?

I’m super uneducated in visual arts, but I’ve always loved Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. I used to live in Chicago and would visit it at the Art Institute every year.

 

Do you ever draw on visual art in your work?

Not really. I find some very inspiring and beautiful, but it doesn’t affect my writing.

 

Has a place you’ve traveled ever inspired you in your writing?

I always write places I’ve been or lived… I want to be as authentic as possible. Lately I’ve been writing a bunch of concert venues though… because that’s where I spent my youth.

 

You can go on a two-week, all-expenses paid writing retreat to the location of your choice. Where would you go, and why?

Well. I mean. I’d love to write a cozy Irish romance… if anyone wants to send me there for research.

 

Are you a podcast listener? If so, what are some of your favorite podcasts?

I’m trash for true crime podcasts. My good friend and fellow debut, Jenn Dugan got me started on them before my book released as a distraction and I’ve been hooked ever since. I love Crime Junkies and lately devoured Live and Die in LA.

 

What authors have most inspired you in your own work?

Too many to count, but it wasn’t until I read “Confessions of a Shopaholic” by Sophie Kinsella that I thought a career writing romance might be it for me. It was the first time I read a first person POV that sounded like me and it made me want to try it out for myself. I’ve been practicing it ever since!

 

What was the last book you read?

I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest. It was lovely!!

 

What’s your favorite book you’ve read recently?

I read Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares last spring and they rocked my world. Gorgeous world building and bittersweet romance. I haven’t adored a character like Lazlo Strange in a long, long time.

 

What’s a book you’ve loved that you feel more people should be talking about?

I want every person on the planet to read Don’t Date Rosa Santos it’s by newcomer Nina Moreno and it’s basically a Cuban MamaMia meets Practical Magic and I adored the shit out of it.

 

What are your very favorite kinds of scenes to write?

1. Kissing 2. Arguments 3. Kissing after arguments

 

When you need to recharge your batteries/refill the well as a writer, what forms of media do you most often turn to?

When I am spent, I will put on my favorite Ken Burns history documentaries and some needlepoint like I’m a hundred and five years old. I also love to watch Great British Bake-off.

 

What artistic/creative talents do you have outside of writing?

I like to paint signs. That sounds dumb, but I have nice handwiting and a steady hand. I like to doodle. I also danced for 11 years. Classical and modern.

 

What artistic/creative talent do you wish you had?

I wish I could paint. Like really paint. Also, I wish I could play an instrument. I never learned but (Lady Catherine DeBourgh voice) “I’d like to think I’d have been a great proficient.”

 

If you could have a drink/cup of coffee/beverage of choice with any three people alive in the world right now, who would you pick?

I’d love to drink gin and tonics with Reese Witherspoon, Kristin Bell, and Michelle Obama.

 

Let us know what’s coming up next for you: new books, new projects; what are you working on?

I just turned in my finished draft for my sophomore release, out next summer, MORE THAN MAYBE, which is another standalone YA romance about the son of a former British punkrocker who falls in love with an aspiring music journalist. His love song inspired by her accidentally goes viral and they have to navigate their feelings on a public stage, all while working together to save the dive bar they both work at. I’m also working on a spin off of that story, featuring one of the characters in her own love story and a super secret WIP.

 

Hilary Nichols photography

Erin Hahn spent the first half of her life daydreaming in a small town in northern Illinois. She fell in love with words in college when she wrote for the campus paper, covering everything from drag shows to ice fishing and took way too much liberty with a history essay on the bubonic plague.

She started writing her own books when her little sister gave her shade about a country music-themed Twilight fanfic. By day, Erin gets to share her favorite stories with her elementary students. By night, she writes swoons. She married her own YA love interest whom she met on her first day of college and has two kids who are much, much cooler than she ever was at their age. She lives in Michigan, aka the greenest place on earth and has a cat, Gus, who plays fetch.

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