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
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That was a much better title.
Life does change. And maybe feel a little weirder, right?
Congratulations on your first book, Jill.
Thank you, Alex. Yes, that is one of the focuses of the story…life changes, throws us unexpected curveballs, and it is all a little easier to deal with when you’ve got friends by your side. 🙂
Congratulations, great interview.
Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit
Thanks so much, Juneta. It is ironic that Mary and I met through Newcomers Club, and that I ended up thinking about that club in forming the “Hell Club” for my story. 🙂
Great story concept! When I think life has me beat down, I will remember Peyton’s life and feel much better.
Even though most won’t dwell on you being an author for long periods of time, there are those that will and will make you feel special.
Yes, Teresa. It is special. Many people just dream of finishing a novel and getting it published.