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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