Well-known author Kristin Hannah (’83) pulls from Northwest roots
She may have been born in Southern California, but award-winning author Kristin Hannah (B.A., 1983) calls Western Washington her home. She moved here when she was eight years old, and decided to attend the University of Washington in Seattle when it was time to go to college.
Becoming an author wasn’t always the plan. Hannah graduated with a degree in Communication and began working at an advertising agency in Seattle. She then decided to go to law school at the University of Puget Sound. It was in her final year of law school that her mother told her, “But you’re going to be a writer.” Surprised by her mother’s declaration, they collaborated on a book while Hannah’s mother was in the hospital nearing the end of her battle with cancer.
Although Hannah said she was always writing in any profession that she was doing, her fiction writing subsided as she practiced law and got married. It wasn’t until she was put on bed rest for five months when she was pregnant with her son that she discovered a newfound passion.
By the time her son was born, Hannah had finished the first draft of the novel she started writing with her mother, and she has written more than twenty since – almost one per year since 1991, spending several hours per day writing.
“It’s a job,” Hannah said. “I sit down and treat it like a job – you can’t do anything with a blank page.”
Hannah’s nineteenth book entitled “Firefly Lane” was a career-changer, featuring two young girls, one of which attends the journalism program at the UW. Her newest book “Fly Away” is the only sequel she’s ever written, continuing the storyline of “Firefly Lane.” Her novel “Home Front,” which is set in Western Washington, is currently being developed into a film by Chris Columbus and hit number one on the New York Times best seller list.
Hannah has won numerous awards, including the Golden Heart, the Maggie, and the 1996 National Reader’s Choice Award. She resides on Bainbridge Island with her husband who works in the film industry, with her son closely following his footsteps and making his way up the ladder in Los Angeles.
Hannah has stayed true to traditional publishing, but says she may jump on the Twitter bandwagon soon. Her best advice to budding authors: To read, and more importantly, write a lot.
“I got the dream that every writer wants,” Hannah said. “I got really lucky and I worked hard.”