Interview: Hazel Woods, Author of This Is How I'd Love You

AuthorHazelWoodsFolks, please welcome New Mexico author Hazel Woods to the blog. She’s just released her debut novel, This Is How I’d Love You, a tale set in 1917, on the brink of WWI. Sit back and enjoy!

Who are your non-writer influences?

My non-writer influences are all of the ghosts from the past.  I think family history is really compelling.  Trying to imagine the people who lived and laughed and grieved and struggled long ago, but without whom we would not exist, is exhilarating.

Which ancient or historical works have you not read and periodically kick yourself for not having made time for them yet?

Oh, man.  Two of the most shameful omissions are Beowulf and The Travels of Marco Polo.  I’m sure there are many others.

In my experience, some of the best fiction is based on facts and history. How do you build your research into your fictional works?

I think it’s important to try to have a distinct time when I stop researching, and just write.  My imagination needs space to incorporate what’s been learned.  If I keep going back to the research, I end up being too literal.  For me, if I don’t have a hard and fast end date, I will just keep researching and never write the novel.

WoodsThisIsHowI'dLoveYouIn this age of publishing, self-promotion is really necessary for the author. What do you enjoy most about advertising yourself and your works? What do you find most challenging?

I love being able to connect with readers.  Writing is such a lonesome endeavor.  It’s fun to finally have a dialogue about the work.  It’s tough for me, on the other hand, to be a salesperson.  There are so many amazing books published and never enough hours in the day—I find it difficult to insist that my book be on the top of someone’s list.

What were you like as a kid? Did your kid-self see you being a writer?

As a kid, I was solely a reader.  I loved books more than anything else.  But it wasn’t until I was about sixteen that I realized all of those books that I loved were written by actual people.  I suppose I was a bit dense.  But the library was such a magical place filled with so much goodness, that I’d never stopped to consider what preceded the library in the supply chain–that place where the books were actually written.

If you were asked to create the syllabus for a college class in historical fiction literature, what books would be on there as required reading? As passing discussion?

To be honest, I don’t have a very extensive list which is due to the fact that I don’t seek out historical fiction exclusively—I simply read for great characters and compelling drama.  That said, I’d recommend anything by Hilary Mantel; I loved  The Orphanmaster by Jean Zimmerman and The Twelve Rooms of the Nile by Enid Shomer.  Two other favorites are Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks and Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather.

What do you do when you are not writing?

My biggest joy is my family—my two kids and my husband.  I am still an avid reader. I love to play tennis, eat cookies, and sew.

About The Book

As the Great War rages, an independent young woman struggles to sustain love—and life—through the power of words. It’s 1917 and America is on the brink of World War I. After Hensley Dench’s father is forced to resign from the New York Times for his anti-war writings, she finds herself expelled from the life she loves and the future she thought she would have. Instead, Hensley is transplanted to New Mexico, where her father has taken a job overseeing a gold mine. Driven by loneliness, Hensley hijacks her father’s correspondence with Charles Reid, a young American medic with whom her father plays chess via post. Hensley secretly begins her own exchange with Charles, but looming tragedy threatens them both, and—when everything turns against them—will their words be enough to beat the odds?

Places to Find Hazel Woods

Website

Twitter

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