Blog Tour: Bold by Hannah Stewart {+ Giveaways!}

Tell us a little about yourself first.

Well, let's see. I am a Christian, and was a pastor's daughter for the first 15 years of my life. I'm now a student at the University of Akron, working toward an English major and Political Science minor with an end goal of teaching high school English. I've lived all over the country, including a five year stint in New York City where my family planted a church. I'm currently working as a cook at my parents' ice cream and BBQ shop and as an English tutor. British literature is my passion, especially Charles Dickens and Shakespeare - definitely Shakespeare. In my "spare time," I'm also an equestrian in the process of retraining my exracehorse, Moose, and have recently taken up acting as well. In other words, I'm a very busy person, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Who or what has had the most influence on you as a writer?

I would have to say my faith in our Savior has had the greatest influence on me as a writer, as well as every other part of my life. He's at the base of all of my stories, short and long. My writing is first and foremost to remind myself of His promises, and His truths are what I hope to convey. Without my faith, I would have nothing to say.

How much research do you usually put into your books?

It really depends on how much each book needs. If I'm writing about something I'm unfamiliar with, I'll do as much research as it takes to familiarize myself with it, often to great excess. Bold didn't require too much research outside of some revolving around injuries, most of which ended up being first hand in an unfortunate turn of events. As a side note, watch yourself around butchers' knives. They aren't very nice.

Do you base events or people in your books off of your life, or your friends' and family's lives?

Not off of their lives, per say, but you can definitely see evidence of them woven between the lines. I watch people a lot, and one of my favorite ways of making a character unique is by giving them a hash of the different mannerisms, speech patterns, and so on of the people around me. A character isn't really a character until they have their own style, their own way of doing things, and they almost always draw from
family and friends to get to that point.

What is your writing process? Do you write regularly at certain times or just when inspiration hits?

My writing process is all over the place. I typically have 2-3 works I'm rotating between at once to help ward off the heinous writers' block, and I try to do at least a little every day to keep myself from getting stuck in a rut, but what a "little" looks like varies broadly. Some days, it might be staring at a blank page for a few hours before penning a sentence or two and calling it a night, other days it could be plotting and filling out character webs, and on days when I'm really moving, a "little" could consist of a couple thousand words. It all depends on how tired I am, how much time I can set aside, and how inspired I am. I typically aim for about 7,000-10,000 words a week, unless I'm editing. Editing goes much faster, but I only do it a few times a year.

What keeps you motivated?

A couple of things, really. The biggest motivator is always my BETA readers - I typically have 20-50 for each of my projects, and they will throw a fit if I take too long to get an update sent out. It's always awesome reading their feedback, too, so that keeps me going. Almost equal to the pressure of my BETAs is my own drive to see where my characters take me next. I get extremely close to my characters, and it kills me to be away from them for too long. When a big scene is coming up, especially new character reveals, my typing speed will go up by a couple dozen words a minute.

What inspired your book?  How did it all start?

There are a couple of answers to this one. In many ways, it was inspired by my need for hope. My family and I were going though one of the hardest seasons of our lives, and I was desperate to remember God's promises, to see the light in the darkness even when it seemed like it wasn't there. But that would have been the base of any inspiration I had at the time. In a more direct way, Bold was inspired by the musical Les Miserables - it was the spark that lit the flame. But the way it all started is really quite... strange. I used to do some butchering work for my parents at our BBQ and ice cream shop, which was fine, but there was one thing I truly detested - cleaning ribs. One day, after I'd been suffering from a 6 month long bout of writers' block, while it was raining outside (perfect writing weather for me), I was stuck with a table of 40 racks of ribs to clean and prep. I had Les Miserables playing to help keep my mind off my work, when "A Little Fall of Rain" came on just as I was looking up through the rain-streaked windows. And just like that, I had a picture in my head. Inspiration. I hardly had time to rip my bloody gloves off before I was scribbling the thought down in my notebook for later. That night, I sat down to write what I thought would be a single scene short story... and it just kept going. Five years later, Bold is complete, and I'm still not entirely sure where it came from.

 Who is your favorite character in your book? Why?

Well, I hate picking favorites. Really, I do. I get so attached to all of them. But if I have to pick one, I'd have to say it's Ben. I've always loved him dearly, and I dare say I always will. He can be distant sometimes, but he really cares about everyone, especially Jesse. Their relationship is really something special. And I found out things about him over the course of Bold, things you readers will learn soon enough, that really broke my heart. Seeing him take the pain of his past and let it drive him forward was huge for my own recovery, and he'll always hold a special place in my heart.

Is there any part of writing that you don't like?

I loathe writing the painful scenes. Most of my readers don't believe me when I say this, but it's true. Writing the scenes with "feels," where characters are hurt and damaged often leads me to such a point of distress that I consider giving writing up all together. My closest friends have helped me through the roughest scenes, and at times they've been so worried at how hard I've taken these scenes that they've tried to talk me out of writing any more. The scenes are always very important, and I won't be giving writing up any time soon, but it takes a lot for me to get past them.

Where can I find you online?

 You can find me at the Breaking Shadows blog, at my personal writing blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Thank you so much for being my guest today!

Thank you for having me!

Holy Apple Crisps! Giveaway

Prizes: Two winners will receive a copy of Breaking Shadows: Bold for 70% off.
To Enter: All you have to do is post about the Bold release on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #HolyAppleCrisps. There is no limit to the number of entries per person, so share away! All entries must be in by midnight, December 29th to be counted.
Winners: The winners will be drawn at random on December 30th and announced on The Breaking Shadows Project.

You And Your BOLD Self Contest

Prize: One winner will receive a signed copy of Breaking Shadows: Bold free of charge.
To Enter: Read this popular scene from Chapter 2 of Breaking Shadows: Bold, and create your own artistic interpretation. Drawings, videos, audio recordings, written responses – whatever your form of art is, let’s see it! Entries must be sent to by midnight, December 29th to be counted. Once again, there is no limit to the number of entries per person, so get creative!
Winners: My top ten entries will be posted on The Breaking Shadows Project on the final day of the release party tour, December 30th, for voting. The entry with the most votes the following week, January 6th, will be announced winner.


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