Interview with Chris Hanna – author of In A Flash

I had the chance recently to sit down and speak with Chris Hanna, fellow Writer’s Ink member and author of In A Flash.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

In my early teens I really started to read a lot of books. I fell in love with science fiction and read every sci-fi novel I could get my hands on. Since my family did not have much money we usually picked up books second hand at flea markets or yard sales for a quarter each. Due to the age of the books I mainly read from the golden age of science fiction; Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert and Robert A. Heinlein.

Loving to read such fascinating and thought provoking speculative literature eventually led to the idea that I could do it myself. It was a decade later before I actually took the first step to do what it takes to be a writer, write.

What genres do you write in?

I thought I wanted to be a science fiction writer. In actuality I am a speculative fiction writer. The difference being that instead of creating a story around the science, you write about people and a ‘what if?’ scenario to advance the plot. For example; Robert A. Heinlein asked what if a human child was raised by martians? Would that person in fact be human since their thoughts would inherently be alien? The result was “Stranger In A Strange Land.” Probably the most recognized Heinlein novel. I’m afraid I am not educated enough to write hard science-fiction so I am more comfortable writing speculatively.

I realized long ago that my writing is innately morbid. Because I have a proclivity for the morose I have tried my hand at horror writing. It is fun because I do not have to try and hide the darkness. I can let it run free!

What is your favourite?

Speculative fiction, definitely. It is my first love.

What made you decide to self-publish your collection of flash-fiction and poetry?

To test the waters. The work was sitting in my folder gathering dust and was probably never going to be used in a regular market. Flash-fiction is a growing trend in Internet story telling and I wanted to try self-publishing. The hardest part was figuring out how to create the document. After much research and lots of trial-and-error “In A Flash” finally came to be.

You mentioned being approached by a publishing company for your short stories after seeing some of your posts on FB… how did that work out for you?

I find out today (July 20th, 2011) if McGraw-Hill Ryerson will be sending me a contract. I am just waiting to hear from the editor if the education committee is happy with my submissions.

I understand you belong to a writers’ group. What can you say about the helpfulness and support from being involved with other writers?

I think I would have given up if it were not for the group. They are there when I need that extra push to keep going when the journey seems futile. I am very self-critical and I find I can ease up on myself when I receive such positive feedback and support from my peers.

Do you have any advice for writers who might be contemplating the self-publishing route?

My only advice would be to work hard at self-promotion. No matter how brilliant your self-published book may be, it is not going to sell itself. This entails a learning curve for folks such as myself who may be too humble for their own good.