I am honored to have on my blog today
and her book Hannah, Hannah, One-and-Two
About the Author
Myndi Shafer is an author, wife, and momma of four. Born and raised in Kansas, she can drive a tractor and ride a horse – and look pretty doing it. As a child she carried a book wherever she went; as an adult she still does.
Myndi is the author of SHRILUGH: Book One of the Shrilugh Saga and THE DARKENING: Book Two of the Shrilugh Saga. Her third book, HANNA, HANNA, ONE-and-TWO, a stand-alone novel separate from the Shrilugh Saga, made its debut February 6, 2014.
Social Media Links:
About the Book
Paperback, 420 pages
Published February 3rd 2014 by Createspace
Twenty-two year old Johanna Cochrin’s world is broken. Eating mists ravage the plains, and wilder-than-most hunt and kill in all but the most protected lands. Sickness shadows the populace, and the minds of men are slipping. And even though there’s something she would do about it, she can’t. She’s a prisoner.
After witnessing her brother’s brutal murder, she’s spent the better part of the last decade in self-imposed silence, hell-bent on taking his secret to the grave. Even if that means living the rest of her life confined in a remote government compound.
But when she is kidnapped from that compound, her silence becomes a liability. Annabel Haier, the ruthless dictator of a fragile government, will stop at nothing to see Johanna back in her clutches and sacrificed to a time-altering Device. If Johanna is to survive, she must learn to trust people she has never met and share the secrets she never meant to share. And if she is to discover her place in the world, she must come to terms with her own mortality – a thing that has the power to save, or condemn her broken world.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Sure! I’m a farmer’s daughter who still loves wide open spaces and the smell of freshly tilled soil. I sing in the car and threaten groundings when my kids don’t sing along to American Pie and Bohemian Rhapsody. Before my first cup of coffee in the morning, I have the mental fortitude of a snail in hot sunlight. And I truly believe that good tiramisu is proof that there is a God and that He loves us.
What made you want to write a book?
This question is always a bit of a bugger to me because most author’s answers go something like: I always knew I wanted to write, from the moment I read my first Dr. Seuss rhyme at the prodigal age of 8 months. For me, it hit as a whim when I was almost thirty. The Hubster and I were taking a drive, and suddenly I found the words, “I think I’m going to write a book,” falling out of my mouth. When we got home that evening I wrote the first scene of SHRILUGH: Book One of the Shrilugh Saga.
Can you tell us a little about the characters in HANNA, HANNA, ONE-and-TWO?
The main character in HH1+2 is a twenty-two year old woman named Johanna Cochrin. At the age of sixteen her life was turned upside down when she witnessed her brother’s murder and was subsequently imprisoned. Her imprisonment was brought on by her refusal to tell her brother’s secret – a thing of monumental and supernatural importance – to her brutal and fragile government. When the book opens, we meet Johanna six years after his murder, and six years into her commitment to never speak again.
Nat Fraser is a brooding and stoic redhead who is out to keep the promises he made to his best friend – Johanna’s brother – before he died.
William Cochrin is Johanna’s grandfather. He is menacing and tough and self-serving, and the only father Johanna has ever known.
Annabel Haier is the dictator of the fragile government that rules over what used to be the North American Allegiance. It is now a broken system, ruled by a body of triumvirs, each with their own claim to a large parcel of land.
How do you come up with the character’s names?
For me, it’s pretty spontaneous. When I started writing HH1+2, my kids were watching Rescuers’s Down Under. There’s a lizard named Joanna in that movie; thus Johanna got her moniker. I named Nat after a character in one of my favorite books, The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I love Elizabeth George Speare’s Nat; I wanted to honor him by writing a character that I thought that Nat would respect. The rest of the names in this book were just gut-level decisions. A lot of this book was written from gut-level.
How long does it take you to write a book?
For-FREAKING-ever. Pretty sure I’m the slowest writer on the planet. I’m a steady writer – six days a week I make sure I get some kind of word count in – but my writing tends to wander, so after the rough draft is done a hell of a lot of time is spent pulling everything together, making it taut. Over the past three years, I’ve published three books.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Yep. Read. Read lots. Read books you love. Read books by authors you’ve never heard of. Read crappy books. Read magnificent classics. Read brand-spanking-new indie titles. Read comics and graphic novels. Read genres that don’t appeal to you. Read, read, read. If you’re not reading, your writing will suffer.
Do you have a specific time during the day that you find better to write?
For me it’s all about juggling the writing around my kids. I have four, ages twelve to two, so our home can be a bit circus-like. Basically, I just fit it in whenever I can – naptimes, bedtimes, when the kids are playing outside, when the Hubster is home and can watch them for a bit. It’s pretty piece-meal.
Have you ever written a character and realized you just didn’t like him/her and had to change them?
Oh, yeah. Yep. Especially in the beginning. It took me quite a while to get the hang of getting into a character’s head. Try, and try, and try again.
What books are you reading now?
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner, River’s Edge by Erin Keyser Horn, and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love playing and hanging out with my littles. We live at the pool in the summer. My daughter and I practice yoga together. I read, pretty much non-stop. And I waste a lot of time Instagramming. I’m @myndishafer if you want to follow me.
Is writing your full time job?
I work at writing (including all the social media keep-up and blogging etc, etc) about 20-24 hours a week. The rest of the time I’m a wife and momma.
When you read what format do you prefer?
I really don’t have a big preference. I love hardback books. I love paperback books. I love eBooks. I read on my Nook and on my computer and on my iPhone. I check out books from the library like a fiend. As long as there are words to be read, I’m a big fan.
Can you share a little of your current work with my readers?
Sure. Just keep in mind that it is unedited. This is from my current WIP, RECKONING: Book Three of the Shrilugh Saga.
Sunlight filtered through the canopy of Orchos’ Wood. Small and new, the fresh-green leaves on the Shrilugh trees basked in the afternoon sunlight. At dusk, they would begin to glow, their warm light a welcome thing after a month of darkness. The Darkening had passed; a new year begun. Adalhard Morgan was relieved. His mother had brushed it off as nonsensical superstition, but Morgan had always felt those long, quiet nights of darkness were cursed somehow.
Today, however, felt blessed. Orcho’s Wood was cheerful and bright – and not at all silent. Birds chattered as they dashed from branch to branch; a whisper of wind breathed through the rooftop of newly-grown leaves. And a song, sung with hearty effort in the raspy voice of an old man, echoed through the trees:
“OH! As I was a-goin’ o’er the Ovedlea mountains,
I met a bonny lass, she was cryin’ like a fountain.
I handed her my handkerchief, I let her snot my sleeve,
And she produced a shiny blade and robbed me clean indeed!
Oy! Hey-o, hey-o, she robbed me clean indeed!”
Morgan smiled as the man came into view. Stringy silver hair bounced as his head bobbed in time to the tune. Age had stooped his back; his clothes were patched and dirty. In one hand he clutched a half-empty bottle of something dark and murky; in the other, he clutched a rock. The end of the stanza was met with a generous swig from his bottle, followed by the heaving of the rock. Then he watched, silent and satisfied as the rock sailed through the arch of a strangely bent tree that was covered in hanging moss. Once it disappeared from sight, he picked another out of the bag that sat at his feet, helped himself to another long drink from his bottle, and began singing again.
“OH! As I sat there bleedin’ on the Ovedlea mountains,
A second bonny lass came and offered me a flagon.
Parched was I, I thanked her, and drank the bitter mead,
Swallowed too soon, realized too late, the bitch had poisoned me!
Oy! Hey-o, hey-o, she poisoned me, indeed!”
Swig, throw, brief silence, followed by a third verse about a maiden-fair riding on a stallion. So consumed with his singing, the old man didn’t notice as Morgan approached him from behind, moving with quiet caution. It wasn’t until his hand fell on his shoulder that the drunken serenader realized he wasn’t alone. Surprise cut him off mid-verse.
“Hey!” he cried, jumping at the touch and choking a little. He turned, nearly toppling over. Morgan caught him by the elbow, chuckling; sudden recognition softened the old man’s countenance. “Morgan!” he exclaimed, reaching for him. “Come to see your old man on his birthday?” His words were slurred; a mostly toothless grin illuminated his face.
Morgan laughed, hugging the old man. “Happy birthday, Da. C’mon. Let’s get you home.”
“Nope.” The word couldn’t have been more stubborn or good-natured. He kicked the large bag of stones that sat nearby. “Tradition is tradition. One rock for every year.” With that, he picked out a large stone and hurled it through the arched tree with surprising strength. It sailed through the curtain of moss, seeming to disappear into nowhere. “And I haven’t finished my song yet.”
“Every tree in this wood knows that song by heart, Da. She buys your soul, you wander for eternity, she’s the death of you…”
Drunken passion etched the old man’s words. “But you have to sing it, boy, otherwise they’re just words.”
“You’ve had enough singing for today.” Morgan picked up the bag of stones and slung it over his shoulder, grimacing when it smacked his back with a heavy thud. But he was grateful for its weight; that meant less rocks to go and fetch later, after his father had succumbed to a drink-induced sleep. “Let’s go home. I have a present for you.”
Those words perked the old man up. “Is it good?”
“Oh, it’s very good,” Morgan grinned, nodding at the bottle in his father’s weathered hand. “You won’t even have to chew it.”
The old man paused, considering.
“Six hundred years, Da. You should celebrate with something better than that moonshine murk you’re drinking now.”
The old man remained silent; Morgan kept his eyes steady. There was a time when he could not have bent his father’s will. But age and time had reversed their roles, and after a couple more moment’s thought, he said, “Alright. I’ll forgo the rest of the rock throwing this year. But next year,” he pointed a gnarled finger at his son. “I’m throwing them all.”
“Every one,” Morgan promised.
“I’m holding you to it, boy.” The old man’s countenance darkened. “Six hundred years, Morgan. It’s coming. It’s heavy; I can feel it settling in my bones.”
“Nah, you’re still spry,” Morgan disagreed, steering him deeper into the woods, toward home. “I’d say you’ve got a good three, maybe four-hundred years left in you.”
The old man’s swagger had disappeared; his footsteps were slow, shuffling. “Nearly 500 of those years I’ve watched this Door.”
“Not sure that you could call what you’ve been doing ‘watching’, Da.”
“Who will watch it when I’m gone, Morgan?”
“Where are you planning on going?”
“Morgan.” The old man stopped, grasping his son’s arm with a strength in his bony fingers that demanded attention. Urgency shone in his eyes; his voice quieted to a harsh whisper. “Morgan, you know as well as I do I haven’t much time left. I know you vowed never to take on the responsibility of that god-forsaken Door, but child. It’s in your blood. It’s who we are – who you are. If you don’t do it, who will?”
“Father.” Morgan patted the old man on the shoulder, trying not to show the lurch he felt in his stomach at his father’s words. “It’s your birthday. Don’t upset yourself. Let’s go home, enjoy some good drink. You can finish your song and throw your rocks at me, if you like. All six-hundred of them. Then tomorrow, if it’s still troubling you, we’ll talk about the Door and its keeping. Alright?”
“I have your word? We’ll talk tomorrow?”
“You do. We’ll talk tomorrow.”
The old man seemed to think about it, and finally nodded. “Alright, Morgan, my boy. Alright.”
If you can recommend one book for someone to read what would it be?
Just one?? How do you pick just one?? Oh, man. I loved The Movement of Stars by Amy Brill. Truly a beautiful story. And I re-read The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough every four years or so. I devoured The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway for the first time about a month ago and thought I didn’t like it…until I kept thinking about it, and thinking about it, and waking up in the middle of the night to think about it, and discovered that it’s actually a damn good book that I love. I LOVE it when a book sneaks up on me like that. Oh! Just one more, okay? I lurrrrve Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. So so so so much. It’s a series that I’ll re-read and re-read, and still be re-reading when I’m eighty years old and living in a retirement village.
Thanks so much for having me here and letting me prattle on about myself. <3 <3 <3 Myndi
Anytime Myndi I was very happy to have you on the blog today 🙂
Thank you for stopping by my blog today to check out this amazing author and her book!
If you are interested in being a part of the Author’s Spotlight ~ Please check out all the details HERE