Hannah Mary McKinnon was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland and moved to Canada in 2010. After a successful career in recruitment, she quit the corporate world in favor of writing. She now lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and three sons, and is delighted by her twenty-second commute.
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What does your writing space look like?
It all depends on which stage I’m at with a book. I plot at my dining table, write my rough draft on a laptop in the spare bedroom that has a dodgy internet connection, research and edit in the office I share with hubs, before sitting in my living room with the manuscript on my Kindle and the laptop next to me, editing as I go. Moving from space to space makes me think differently, and it’s really rather neat. Speaking of neat – I have to have a tidy workspace or I freak out. Listen, we all have our quirks…
If you could spend a day with another popular author (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Oh, gosh, I’d love to spend the day with my wonderful friend, Hank Phillippi Ryan. We met briefly at Bouchercon 2019 in Texas, and teamed up for First Chapter Fun in May of 2020. We speak on the phone at least weekly and text almost daily, and I’d finally like to meet her properly in person, despite it feeling like we’ve known each other forever. She’s such a great person and a brilliant writer. A total inspiration. I gave her a cameo in Never Coming Home.
How do you celebrate when you finish your book?
Hmm…good question. When I send my editor her first draft I typically take a few days off, laze about watching TV, read (shocking!), and go for long walks. Technically the book isn’t finished of course, as there will be multiple rounds of edits, but handing in that first version feels significant. Then I celebrate by starting the next one, lol. Yikes, just reading this back makes me think I should celebrate the milestones properly before eyeing the next one. It’s a terrible habit!
Is there something you do/have while writing that helps your process? (Music, snacks, etc.)
I try to stay away from the snacks as food + sitting on my butt a lot = terrible combo. I sometimes listen to music as long as it’s quiet and instrumental as I find lyrics too distracting. What helps me most is setting myself a writing schedule in terms of daily word count, and/or chapters to write and edit, that I stick to. It keeps me on track and I love beating deadlines.
What book are you currently reading?
I can’t tell you. Seriously! A fantastic friend and author asked me to read her next book and I’m ridiculously excited, but I can’t say whose novel it is. After that I’ll read Poison Lilies by Katie Tallo, and In the Dark We Forget by S.G. Wong. Both are Canadian authors and I can’t wait!