Author Interview : Hannah Beckerman

Today on Eve’s Chick Lit Reviews, I am glad to be interviewing the very lovely Hannah Beckerman about her debut novel, The Dead Wife’s Handbook which is out today! Thank you for answering my questions and Happy Publication Day, Hannah!

'Today is my death anniversary. A year ago today I was still alive.'

Rachel, Max and their daughter Ellie had the perfect life - until the night Rachel's heart stopped beating.

Now Max and Ellie are doing their best to adapt to life without Rachel, and just as her family can't forget her, Rachel can't quite let go of them either. Caught in a place between worlds, Rachel watches helplessly as she begins to fade from their lives. And when Max is persuaded by family and friends to start dating again, Rachel starts to understand that dying was just the beginning of her problems.

As Rachel grieves for the life she's lost and the life she'll never lead, she learns that sometimes the thing that breaks your heart might be the very thing you hope for.

1. Could you tell us more about your debut novel, The Dead Wife’s Handbook?

The Dead Wife’s Handbook is the story of 36-year old Rachel, who’s died unexpectedly and is now watching the lives of her loved ones as they come to terms with her death. It’s a story about love, loss and how you measure a life well-lived.

2. What was the inspiration behind it?

The inspiration behind The Dead Wife’s Handbook was two-fold: firstly, that sense of unease you get when a former partner (even one you don’t want to be with any more!) gets together with someone else, and all the complicated feelings that can provoke. And the idea was also largely inspired by how I felt after I’d been lost my job and was reassessing the things that I thought were genuinely important in life.

3. Did you always know you would be a writer?

I’ve always enjoyed writing and reading. I studied English at university and a large part of being a TV producer involves different forms of writing: scripts and programme proposals. But ever since I was young I’d fantasised about writing a novel, so this is a bit of a dream come true.

4. If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

I used to work in TV, first as a producer and then as a Commissioning Editor of Arts and History programmes. I left to start writing, so if the writing doesn’t work out I suspect I’d go back into TV.

5. Do you have any rituals when it comes to writing?

My only regular ritual is coffee! I can’t start something without a cup of coffee, even if I don’t really fancy one. It’s just one of those silly habits I’ve got into and now I can’t seem to break it!

6. What is the best thing about being an author?

I really love working on my own, which I think is probably a pretty important trait for a writer. I like being lost in a story and in character’s lives and the feeling of there being a parallel world - that of the book I’m writing - going on in my head at the same time as real life.

7. Which book do you wish you had written?

Only one?! That’s hard. There are so many books which, when I’ve finished them, I wish I’d written. Can I be greedy and have everything Jane Austen ever wrote?!

8. Do you have a favourite book or maybe, a favourite author?

I don’t have either! I tend to read books not because they’re by a particular author but because I like the sound of the individual title / synopsis. But there are certain authors I always look forward to reading a new book from: Nicole Krauss, Sarah Waters, Julian Barnes, Paul Auster to name just a few.

9. A piece of advice for my lovely readers who are thinking of becoming writers?

Write, write and write some more. In my experience you have to write quite a lot of dross before you start writing something even vaguely acceptable. And, like any skill, I think it takes an awful lot of practise.

10. Lastly, what are you working on now? Tell us more about it?

I’ve just finished the first draft of my second novel so I’m beginning to edit and revise that now (which, as any writer will tell you, can be a long and torturous process!) The subject is under wraps at the moment, but suffice it to say, I hope it’ll be another book that’s big on relationships and emotion.


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