I’m inspired by people in unusual circumstances, particularly difficult circumstances that will be hard to overcome, and the characters who are able to overcome them. I’m also inspired by particular places where I would like to spend a lot of time-because I’m going to spend months in that place while writing my story there.
What is the strangest piece of research you discovered?
I’m not sure if this is the strangest, but the most frightening piece of research I ever discovered was the high number of common, garden variety sociopaths who exist in our society–which make up 4% of people in our world. It makes it easier for me to write a conceivable story with plenty of bad-guy models, but it doesn’t make me comfortable about living in this world.
How important is it that your books should be written in a Christian context whilst still appealing to the non-christian market?
I don’t start out writing a book with a specific spiritual journey in mind. That takes place because I’m a Christian, so as I work a story out in my mind, the spiritual journey becomes a part of the story simply because that’s how I think. I don’t think a Christian novelist can separate from her spirituality to write a story. I don’t set out to please Christians or irritate nonChristians, I just write what I write, and it happens to be from my Christian worldview.
How do you keep each character role straight in your mind while mingling them in with the whole plot?
I write a character sheet, and build on that sheet as I get to know the character throughout the book. Then I can refer back to that sheet throughout the story.
How do you start a novel?
I start a novel with characters who interest me. Those character sheets must begin first, and once I develop a character who is most interesting to me, then I’m able to begin the book. I’ve tried to begin my stories with plot first, and that never works. Even though I write what most might call plot-based novels with suspense and romance, the plot must come naturally from the characters I’ve already brought to life.
About Hannah Alexander
Hannah Alexander is the pen name for the writing collaboration of Cheryl and Mel Hodde. They chose the name “Hannah Alexander” to incorporate their two names into one. They have read that Hannah means “her hope is in the Lord,” and Alexander means, “servant of mankind.” Mel and Cheryl live in the Missouri Ozarks, where they like to set the majority of their books. Connect with Mel and Sheryl on their website and on Facebook.
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