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Q&A with Hannah Lynn, Author of Queens of Themiscyra

Q&A with Hannah Lynn, Author of Queens of Themiscyra

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Hannah Lynn is the author of Queens of Themiscyra.

Hannah Lynn is a multi award winning novelist. Publishing her first book, Amendments – a dark, dystopian speculative fiction novel, in 2015. Her second book, The Afterlife of Walter Augustus – a contemporary fiction novel with a supernatural twist – went on to win the 2018 Kindle Storyteller Award and the Independent Publishers Gold Medal for Best Adult Ebook.

Born in 1984, Hannah grew up in the Cotswolds, UK. After graduating from university, she spent 15 years as a teacher of physics, first in the UK and then Thailand, Malaysia, Austria and Jordan. It was during this time, inspired by the imaginations of the young people she taught, she began writing short stories for children, and later adult fiction.

With over 20 publications spanning a number of genres and translated into half a dozen languages, Hannah has proven herself to be both an accomplished and prolific author.

Now settled back in the UK with her husband, daughter and horde of cats, she spends her days writing romantic comedies and historical fiction. Her first historical fiction novel, Athena’s Child, was also a 2020 Gold Medalist at the Independent Publishers Awards.

Hannah’s latest novel, Queens of Themiscyra, is publishing in paperback on May 7. The story follows two of the most legendary Amazons, Hippolyte and Penthesilea, in a rich, resonant amalgamation of geopolitical conflict, court intrigue, romance, and sisterhood, all colliding in single question: should one save her family at the expense of her people?

These retellings are so intriguing. Get to know Hannah as she talks favorite novels, writing mythological retellings, TBR list and more!

What are some of your favorite novels?

This is such a difficult question to answer, because I have so many. And it’s very dependent on what kind of mood I am in. Still, there are some books I return to time and time again, such as Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro, Hamnett by Maggie O’Farrell, and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.

When did you know you wanted to become an author? 

While I always dreamt of being an author, during my younger years, and my early 20s, it felt just that; an unattainable dream. It was not until I was older that I realised that if you want to make a dream reality you just have to keep going and give it all you have. For the last twelve years I have been doing exactly that.

What do you enjoy the most when writing historical fiction?

There is so much I enjoy about the process. I love immersing myself in these worlds and learning about the settings and landscapes in which my stories unfurl. There is such a rich abundance of inspiration out there, I love creating the images in my mind and crafting the descriptions of everything from the buildings to the clothing. For me though, my favourite part of writing is always developing the characters; building their personalities, relationships and watching them evolve as they navigate the trials of the plot.

When you approach your mythological retellings, what are some key aspects that you always like to include in your stories?

I like to make my characters as real as possible, and that includes giving them very human flaws. In the case of Queens of Themiscyra, Hippolyte and Penthesilea are daughters of Ares, and physically such powerful women, but that does not mean that they cannot be beaten or broken. I like to show that it is possible to be strong and have weaknesses or to feel weak, and yet show great strength.

As far as the stories themselves go, I always try to include as many scenes from known mythological tales as possible.

What inspired you to write about the Amazons in Queens of Themyscira?

The Amazons are such interesting characters, because they do not have their own story in mythology. They appear in several places of other mythological tales, such as at the end of the battle of Troy, but they themselves were lacking their own cohesive timeline, or story focused solely on them. That was why it was so important for me to write it.

What are you currently reading and what’s on your TBR (to be read) list?

I am currently reading the last part of Elodie Harper’s Trilogy, The Temple of Fortuna. I have absolutely adored this series and have been reading this last book unusually slowly for me, as I just don’t want it to end! 

I think like most people, my TBR is forever growing and full of books I hope to read soon. Two on that large pile are Girl, Goddess, Queen, by Bea Fitzgerald, and House of Odysseus by Claire North.