Regina M. Hansen is a writer and Master Lecturer of Rhetoric in the College of General Studies at Boston University. With the release of her debut novel due in just a few weeks, I had the chance to sit down with Dr. Hansen at home for a quick interview to discuss The Coming Storm, inspiration, Anne of Green Gables, and advice for prospective authors.
The Coming Storm follows a fifteen-year-old girl fiddler, Beet MacNeill, who has to save her beloved family members from an ancient threat. Set on Prince Edward Island, where the author was born, the novel is inspired by both stories from the island and the respective cultural folklore that the book’s characters would be familiar with.
Why you may ask, did we sit down at the author’s home? Because it’s my home, too — she just so happens to be my mother! Get to know Regina M. Hansen a little bit here.
Angelina Kemmett: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Regina Hansen: Louisa May Alcott, Shirley Jackson, Toni Morrison, Ray Bradbury, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Diana Wynne Jones, Edgar Allan Poe, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Charles de Lint, Bette Greene— all for different reasons.
AK: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
RH: Since I knew you could be one.
AK: What was your inspiration for The Coming Storm?
RH: I was inspired by the landscape, music, and stories of Prince Edward Island, where I was born and spent the entire summer with my grandparents during my childhood and teen years, and still visit with my family.
AK: Is the name “Beet” a music pun?
RH: No! She’s named after a great aunt I never met. Her name was Beatrice and she had red hair, so I thought the nickname was cool.
AK: What’s your favorite thing about P.E.I.?
RH: The smell. It just smells really good there. That, and my family.
AK: Writing a book set on P.E.I., did you think of Anne of Green Gables?
RH: I gave Beet red hair because of my cousins and grandmother, but then I thought of Anne. If people want to think it’s because of Anne, that’s ok with me! Anne of Green Gables, with monsters!
AK: On the topic of Anne, what is the best Anne of Green Gables adaptation?
AK: I can’t think of P.E.I. without thinking of Cow’s Ice Cream. What’s your favorite flavor?
RH: It’s toffee ice cream with caramel and chocolate. [A.N.:Called Gooey Mooey!] Always a chocolate-dipped cone.
AK: What inspires you, generally?
RH: My family and people who do the best with what they are given — which is what Beet does!
AK: What are your writing essentials?
RH: I like to write outside on a nice day in the shade. If I can’t be outside, then someplace with people. Especially Bloc Cafe and the Somerville Public Library. I always write longhand, then type, and go back and forth the whole time. I like an iced chai latte or a regular tea, and nice pens. I like Uni-Ball. I have a Cross fountain pen for journaling and use Paper Mate Flair pens for drawing.
AK: Sort of off-topic, but you know I usually write my articles about movies. What is your favorite movie?
RH: It’s a Wonderful Life and My Favorite Year.
AK: What are some of your favorite TV shows?
RH: Northern Exposure, when it was on. Then Star Trek (some series more than others), X-Files, and Gilmore Girls. I just started watching Doctor Who for the first time.
RH: I like all music, but “Let It Be” is my favorite song.
AK: What would Beet like to listen to today?
RH: She would listen to and like everything, and try her hand at anything. She would be impressed by the musicianship of different artists and want to meet musicians.
AK: What are you most excited about when The Coming Storm is released?
RH: I’m excited for people to read my book who aren’t related to me by blood! I’m also excited about hopefully getting to meet people — kids who read the book and other authors.
AK: What’s next for you?
RH: I’m writing another book right now, but I can’t tell you anything about it.
AK: Do you have any advice for people who want to be authors?
RH: Don’t give up. Never give up. Just because someone doesn’t want it, that doesn’t mean no one does. I thought that. Even if you feel like it’s never going to happen, don’t give up if it matters to you. You’ll be surprised what happens.