Writer Interview: Briana Hansen

Briana Hansen

Briana Hansen

Briana currently lives in Los Angeles, CA but grew up in Indianapolis with her older brother, who is now a lawyer. She is a huge dog lover and often sits for people’s dogs. In fact whilst I interview her she has a mini Australian Shepherd sitting at her feet. Briana has a chosen-sister who’s her best friend. She adores and admires her, least of all because she went to the Naval Academy and is a jet pilot (along with her husband). Briana herself isn’t married but lives with her wonderful boyfriend. She doesn’t have children yet but is hoping to get her own mini Australian Shepherd soon. As we interview she tells me a lot about the wonderful people in her life, and how interesting they are. But as we talk more about her I discover that she is very interesting herself. She has had some pretty cool jobs. She’s been a Party Princess and a dress up character on Navy Pier. She was a professor at Xavier University, after graduating the same University. She has a degree in Philosophy, Politics and the Public. As well as writing, she produces and acts too.

Now Briana pursues comedy full-time, lives for fun and makes the most of anything fun that is thrown her way. She lives on a shoestring budget (and on a prayer). She has a passion for athletics and is obsessed with yoga.

I was lucky to book some time with her in-between dog sitting and the other hundreds of things she’s up to.

INTERVIEW

1.What are you working on right now?

I’m finishing off my third book called “30 Things I Learned Before 30,” which will be out April 1. I’ll be doing a ton of marketing for that book, which is a creative endeavour unto itself. But I also continue to write, produce, and act in a bunch of different comedy projects all the time.

2.Can you tell us a little something about it?

I can tell you I’m nervous about it. There are parts that are embarrassing and vulnerable and, the more I edit it, the more I try and convince myself that I shouldn’t even go through with the publishing. But I think that’s the nature of art, especially how you feel about your own artistic endeavours. So I force myself to push forward. I think we put too much pressure on our art always being “perfect” but it’s the pursuit of perfect that makes us better and allows us to evolve and grow. So even though there are major parts of the book I’m hesitant about sharing since they no longer seem relevant… I’m still doing it. I figure I really believed in them at the time I was writing it and if there’s a slight chance it might be entertaining or fun for someone else, it’s worth keeping in.

3.Tell us, why do you write? Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I have to write. It’s a compulsion. My body starts getting pissed if I’m not expressing myself creatively. I’d better be in the midst of some other wonderful, major creative project if I’m going to get away with not writing. Writing is my home base. It’s how I both relax and get excited. It’s how I get out my thoughts and feel any sense of control over this world. It’s how I can manage my perspective and check in honestly with myself. As long as I have a pen and paper (or a computer if we’re getting heavy duty) my over-active imagination is calm and my spirit is happy.

4. When I write, I require Jaffa cakes (and lots of them), do you have a writing must-have?

Yummy for you! My writing must-have is, as silly as it sounds, quiet. I can write in public if the ambient noise is overpowering everything, but I typically put on headphones to drown it out. I get distracted by conversations and find people so fascinating, I often just will people-watch rather than focus on the task at hand. I need non-lyrical music if I’m going to get in the zone. Mostly, too, because I want to hear the voices in my head and not be distracted by those around me. I also love incense and good smelling oils and such.

5.What is your favourite book?

Oh, too hard a question! Truthfully, “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama had a profound impact on me. But there are so many others that impact me differently. Most recently, Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic” and I can’t put down Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken” (even though it’s often very graphic and very depressing).

6. Which author’s career, alive or passed on, do you admire most, and why?

Kurt Vonnegut. He grew up in Indianapolis (like me) and I love his extremely conversational and surprisingly hilarious style. He was also extremely prolific and made a point to say that not everything he wrote was great. I think there’s something really human about that. It takes the pressure off making everything you produce your magnum opus.

7. Tell us something about yourself…an annoying habit or party trick perhaps? Can you speak a foreign language or have a hobby?

I play saxophone well. I haven’t played in a while since I now live in an apartment and don’t want to disturb my neighbours, but I’m looking into options for a sax-mute (that I can afford) so I can do that more. It’s a form of creative expression that I have no intense investment in. I just get to get lost in the music and the moment without judgement or worry. I speak conversational Spanish, which usually surprises people. And my only party trick is that if you show me a picture of a cute puppy or a dog in a sweater, I’ll very likely cry because I’m overwhelmed by the cuteness. My boyfriend’s parents had a heyday with this particular trait yesterday for a good hour. We were looking at poodle mixes and mostly puppies and I couldn’t handle it and- oh god- I’m starting to cry again just thinking about it.

8.Do you have a blog, website or social networking account people can go to if they wish to learn more about you or your work?

Facebook: Briana Hansen                                                                                                                           Website:www.brianahansen.com                                                                                                                Instagram: @thebrianahansen                                                                                                      Twitter:@thebrianahansen

I try and keep all or some of them always updated with my work.

9.What are your writing plans for 2016?

Oof. Survive? I’m finishing off this book then will solely focus on marketing it. I write for a comedy show called “After Dark with Julian Clark” so I’ll be whipping out some sketches for them throughout the year. Julian is also my writing partner. We wrote three pilots at the beginning of this year, so we’re working on getting those out there along with some other pilots I’ve written and produced. He and I are working on a feature as well that will hopefully be done in the next month or two. Meanwhile, I’ve been tinkering with a couple more ideas for short form books, so I’d like to have a draft of another book before the end of the year AND have done a major rewrite and edit on one of my existing book drafts so maybe I can even publish one more before the year is out. Basically, my writing plans are overtaking my sleeping plans.

10.And now, for the most important question of all: Jaffa cakes – love them or hate them?

I’ll be quite honest with you… I’ve never had them! I had to Google them to know what you were talking about. BUT! After looking at them, it seems to be like they’d be right up my alley and I’ll have to see if I can find them somewhere and give them a little taste. Maybe they’ll have the same inspirational spark on my creativity they do on yours 🙂

To support Briana and her work, please visit the links below:

Facebook: Briana Hansen                                                                                                                           Website:www.brianahansen.com                                                                                                                Instagram: @thebrianahansen                                                                                                      Twitter:@thebrianahansen

It was a honour to interview Briana, she is down to earth, hard-working, talented and a real joy to chat with. Thanks Briana 🙂

 

 

 

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Writer Interview: Jonathon Mcluskie

Jonathon Mcluskie

Jonathon is twenty-five and has grown up in Manchester, UK. He studied at Wellacre Technology College and received over ten GCSE’s at grade A-C. With a thirst for knowledge, he went on to study History, English Literature and Classical Civilizations at Eccles College, and then on to the University of Central Lancashire. Whilst studying he worked as a part-time bartender and is now a warehouse worker, a job that requires hard labour. He has a passion for rugby and American football. He has a beautiful sister who lives in Thailand with her husband, where they both teach English. Jonathon lives with his six-month old Cocker Spaniel, named Toby, who he describes as a cute trouble-maker.

INTERVIEW

1.What are you working on right now?

Right now I’m working on the sequel to my first book, Fractured Realm: A Fight for Justice. As well as a sci-fi novel, I’ve always had a deep love for the sci-fi genre, reading a great variety of books, from futuristic detectives, to all out space battles with slaughter on a grand and bloody level.

2.Can you tell us a little something about it?

The working title to my second book in the Fractured Realm series is, Blood from Distant Shores. It carries on from my first book, which to those few who have read it, ended with a great many loose threads. While bringing clarity to some of these cliff hangers it also introduces a great number of new characters and continues the story. I’m hoping to have it done by the end of the year.

3.Tell us why do you write? Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I started writing three, four years ago. I was on holiday in Thailand, backpacking up in the northern province of Chiang Mai. I had just finished the last book that I had taken with me and found myself stuck with no means of entertainment as I couldn’t find any book shops that had books written in English and my IPod had been destroyed during a slip on some rocks. So I thought why not try and write my own book, it would be a new challenge and I felt I had read enough books that I could give it a good go. I draw my inspiration from the annals of history, I studied classical civilizations and modern history at college, before continuing my studies at the University of Central Lancashire. History is filled with many tales of heroism and treachery, with numerous colourful characters and legends.

4.When I write I require Jaffa Cakes, (and lots of them), do you have a writing must-have?

My writing must, would have to be….chocolate hobnobs and a hot coffee

 5.What is your favourite book?

My favourite book would have to be Storm of Iron, by Graham McNeill

 6.Which author’s career, alive or passed on, do you admire most, and why?

I would have to say that my favourite author is Graham McNeill, for one he’s written my favourite book. Secondly, because almost every novel he’s written has had such an impact upon me. Most of his work is fantasy or sci-fi based and centred around the Game Workshop universe. Yet each piece he’s written has gripped me and gotten me so emotionally invested in the characters and story he’s telling that I have those genuine moments of shock which force me to close the book, leave the room, run a cold shower and cuddle myself and cry as I weep for the loss of a character.

7.Tell us something about yourself…an annoying habit or party trick perhaps? Can you speak a foreign language or have a hobby?

I have a few hobbies, I play in a five aside football league on Wednesday’s, we take it seriously, but it’s also a nice excuse to have a catch up with some old friends. A guilty pleasure of mine is martial arts films, anything with Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung or Donnie Yen is a must see for me. I speak a little bit of Thai, as well as French and German.

8. Do you have a blog, website or social networking account people can go to if they wish to learn more about you or your work?

I happen to be in the process of setting up my own blog, as for social media, I have a twitter account which anyone is free to follow @McluskieJ

 9.What are your writing plans for 2016?

My writing plans for 2016 are to get the sequel to my first book published, whilst also making significant head way with my sci-fi novel.

10.And now, for the most important question of all: Jaffa Cakes – love them or hate them?

How can you not love a Jaffa cake, the spongey base, the bitter dark chocolate cover, complimented by the sweet orange jam hidden beneath.

To follow Jonathon and his work please use the link below:

Twitter: @McluskieJ

A footballer, rugby player, warehouse worker, speaker of Thai, French and German – is there anything the man can’t do? And now talented author. For all these reasons it was an honor to sit down and interview Jonathan. Plus he has excellent taste in junk food 🙂 Thanks again Jonathan!