Author Spotlight: Hannah Kelly

Meet Hannah Kelly!  Hannah is a senior creative writing major (with minors in history and gender and sexuality studies) receiving her BFA from Emerson College about to publish her book entitled As Most Things Are. The book will be published through the Wilde Press branch of Emerson's Pub Club! Hannah also wanted to share some interesting facts, which include that she is a twin, she has “a pet cat who’s evil,” and she is “really, really good at fake sneezing.” Here's what Hannah had to say about her book:

What inspired you to write As Most Things Are?

I don’t want to be cynical and say “deadlines,” but since most of the stories in the book originated (in some form or another) in creative writing classes, I’d be lying if I said deadlines weren’t a big motivator. 

In more inspirational terms though, I’d say that I’m interested in the fantasy of memory— how memory is itself a form of storytelling, how memories can spiral out from moments of trauma, and what that spiral looks like. I’m also hugely inspired by nature and, of course, themes of female sexuality. Often a specific piece of art will inspire my individual stories, and the collection includes a story that was born out of a song, one that came from a photograph, and at least one from different short story. 

Graphic provided by Pub Club

You decided to donate all proceeds to Planned Parenthood. What was your motivation behind choosing them to receive your donations?

I was trying to think about a charity that would match the themes and tone of the book, and since many of the stories focus around young and teenage girls often in situations where they’re either exploring their own sexuality or dealing with the consequences of motherhood, Planned Parenthood seemed like a good choice. Basically it comes down to the fact that I think all of my characters would benefit hugely from having a Planned Parenthood near them. I kind of like the idea that these stories, often about young women in crisis, will actually have a chance to help real-world women in similar situations. It’s the least I can do for the characters, since I put them in those situations in the first place--they’re not suffering in vain. 

To donate to Planned Parenthood, follow this link

What was the biggest challenge in writing As Most Things Are?

I think that the biggest challenge was being vulnerable. Fiction writing is interesting because nominally you’re not writing about yourself, but of course, in reality, everything people write is, in some way, about themselves. I really had to train myself to not be afraid of that vulnerability, that emotional honesty, and to write stories that are unashamedly important to me. 

The biggest success?

I really enjoy these stories. There’s sort of this taboo about complimenting your own writing, though typically it’s not even an issue for me because when I read old work all I tend to see are the mistakes, the things that could’ve been handled better, but I think to me, the biggest success of this collection is that there are certain stories which I can read and be like “that’s a good story.” 

Is this the first time you have been published?  If so, how does it feel?

I’ve had some smaller things published in different places, but this is the first one that feels very big, if that makes any sense. Honestly, I’m so thankful for all the people who contributed to this being a possibility and am beyond humbled that people saw something worth publishing in these stories. There’s nothing better than the knowledge that something you’ve written has emotionally affected another person. 

Is there anything you wish you could change?

I’m a perfectionist, so there are always things I wish I could change. I’m currently applying to MFA grad school programs, and a number of the stories from this collection are in my writing sample, and I’m still editing them, still changing things. In general though, I’m pretty happy with the collection and I don’t think there’s anything big that I would change. 

What is one thing you want everyone to know/keep in mind about your book?

I’m sure there’s something, but my mind is going blank at the moment. I guess keep an open mind, a couple parts get a little weird. 

Anything else you would like to add? 

Just, please enjoy the book if you choose to purchase it, and come to the launch on Dec. 11!

Graphics provided by Pub Club

Bonus Questions: 

What is your Hogwarts house? 

I’m for sure a Ravenclaw with a bit more Slytherin mixed in than I like to admit. 

What is your favorite class that you have taken at Emerson? 

I’m currently in Peter Shippy’s Contemporary Fairy Tales class which I really can’t recommend highly enough. If you’re into weird magical shit, it’s for sure the place to be. 

Favorite place in Boston to visit/write in? 

I’m in love with the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It’s probably my favorite place to visit in Boston. As far as writing goes, I do the vast majority of it in my bed, which is perhaps a little less exciting. 

What is your go-to restaurant in Boston? 

Even though I know its a little bit basic I love the Dumpling Cafe. It’s open late, they have great food, and if you order take out it’s ready for pick up in like fifteen minutes. 

What is something you like to do for fun? 

I’m a huge crafter and love knitting, crocheting, sewing, and embroidering in my free time. Honestly, if you want a hat or scarf, I’m your girl because I legit have more than I know what to do with. 

If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be and why? 

Oh my god, this is such a hard question. I might have to go with David Bowie because he’s a big part of the thesis paper I’m currently working on and because he seems like one of those people it’d be impossible to have a bad time with; but honestly if you asked me the same question in a week I’d probably have a different answer. Maybe Shirley Jackson because she’s my favorite writer and would probably be a good conversationalist in that fast-talking, chain-smoking, 1950s kind of way. I know that’s kind of cheating and saying two people, but I’m sticking to it. 

 

I'd like to offer a HUGE congratulations to Hannah and all the hard work she put into writing As Most Things Are! It's truly a must-read! 

Make sure to stop by Pub Club's book launch to purchase your copy of As Most Things Are for only $8.00!  And, in addition, remember that all the proceeds from Hannah’s book will go to benefiting Planned Parenthood! For more information about Pub Club's book launch event, check out our article!

Graphic provided by Pub Club