Quote of the Day: Who can you turn to when your life falls apart? The To-Hell-And-Back Club Jill Hannah Anderson’s debut novel that shows the power of connecting with others.
Jill Hannah Anderson is an author in the Brainerd lakes area, and I have known her for several years. We met in the area’s Newcomer’s Club and were in Book Club together. (We’ve both since dropped out of it.) It is a thrill to see someone work hard and achieve success in their art and live out their dream. This is Jill’s first novel, and it was a pleasure to read it, and now share it with you. Here is my Goodreads review:
The To-Hell-And-Back Club is Jill Hannah Anderson’s first novel. Between the pages, she has created a club that many of us would qualify to join. In her novel, Peyton has lost so much. Her three best friends were killed in a car crash. She’s feeling the quiet of an empty nest, and has separated from her husband. Peyton needs to find a way to reboot her life and find hope and happiness again. The author uses some good storytelling tools to move the story along, and keep a little mystery in it as well. The four friends had buried time capsules, which are revealed one by one throughout the novel. Peyton has some hurdles to clear before she can move onto a new life, and we grieve and celebrate along with her.
After I was done reading the book, I got to thinking about it, and the “Hell Club” as it affectionately known. So, I asked Jill a few questions:
What are your earliest memories of being a writer? (like journaling, storytelling as a kid, etc.)
I was raised with a love for books. My parents are book lovers and our family watched very little TV.
I started keeping a diary in Junior high, writing in notebooks, and kept it up until after I married. I also did a notebook journal for my children from the time I found out I was pregnant with them.
As an adult I took a writers class through the mail to write stories for children. That was my initial focus.
Where did you get the idea for the Hell Club? (not the book idea, but the club itself, it’s a very unique part of your story. It’s like Al-anon, but not quite.)
The author Sandra Kring was very helpful to me in my early stages of querying. We spoke on the phone a few times and she asked if I had a second book idea in mind. When I told her that story she said, “If you can figure out a way to link the two together, agents and publishers like series books, and it may help make the sale.”
When I thought about how I could link the two main characters from my stories together, I thought about the “Newcomer’s Club”, AA, and other groups that meet, and why they meet (their common connection) and came up with a group of women who had been through some tough times.
I initially called it the Crossroads Club, with a nickname of The To-Hell-And-Back Club. Then a fellow writer said, “Why not just call it that? It’s much catchier.” 🙂
What are some of the surprises about being a published author?
That life doesn’t change…yet it does. I STILL don’t feel like an “author”, and I don’t know that I ever will. I’ve spoken with many other authors who confess the same thing. It isn’t like becoming a mom, even though our books are our “babies”. A mother’s life most definitely changes!
I still go to work every day, try to enjoy time with family and friends, and the only thing that has changed (besides a tiny window of feeling like a mini-celebrity!) is that I have MORE work to do with marketing, etc. However, I am not complaining. This is a dream come true!
Book #2 is Molly’s story, Crazy Little Town Called Love. Molly is a character in book #1 who is a new member of the “Hell Club.” I have ideas for book #3, but nothing written yet!
Jill Hannah Anderson and Mary Aalgaard with Jill’s debut novel The To-Hell-And-Back Club
Jill and I reflected on our connection, and she wrote the following that sums it up nicely.
I know, see how everything in our lives, the decisions we make, can make a difference down the road? If I wouldn’t have joined Newcomers, I wouldn’t have met you and others, wouldn’t have had the idea for my book, etc.
Congratulations, Jill, on writing your book and going through the hard work of editing, finding a publisher, marketing, and now connecting with readers. You can find out more about Jill Hannah Anderson and her books on her website.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: Who is in your support network? Who would you turn to in tough times?
Mary Aalgaard writes theater reviews and supports the arts through her blog Play off the Page. She teaches youth theater workshops in the Brainerd lakes area, writes articles for regional magazines, and works with both seniors and youth in multi-generational programs to enhance quality of life and build community. You can follow her on her Play off the Page Facebook page, and @MaryAalgaard on Twitter.