Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Author Interview: Han Nolan, Author of Crazy

Today we have Han Nolan here to answer a few questions about her recent release, CRAZY. Han is also the author of numerous other novels, including A Summer of Kings, When We Were Saints, and If I Should Die Before I Wake.

What compelled you to take a look at mental illness in the way that you did?

With any story that I write it's the characters who dictate how the story is going to go. So the way I approached mental illness in this story, with the voices and the humor as well as the tragedy of the situation, is because of who my characters are, especially Jason and his father. Jason just needed the voices in his head as a way of coping with what was going on in his life--it was just a natural choice given who Jason was and what was happening.

What kind of research did you have to do for Crazy?

Of course I had to research mental illness with a focus on schizophrenia, but I also researched the legalities of the foster care system, and the legalities of hospital care for the mentally ill and people without insurance, just to name a few subjects. I am constantly researching when I write a story, from the smallest details to the larger subjects.

What was the most difficult part about writing this book?

Getting the story, and the main character right. The father's story was much stronger than Jason's in the beginning and I really had to write and rewrite my story for a couple of extra years to get to know who Jason was so that I could tell HIS story, and not his father's.

If you had characters talking to you inside your head like Jason, what would they be like?

I think they'd be funny and they'd be trying to talk me out of my fears, or depression or whatever it was that was causing me to invite them into my head, but maybe there would be one voice that would be poking at me and telling me what I'm doing wrong--I think we all have that voice in our head.

Which of your books is closest to your heart?

They all are dear to me for different reasons, maybe because I like the main character so much as I do in A Summer OF Kings, or I like how the story turned out, and the memories I have associated with writing the book, such as in Born Blue, or I like the humor and the setting of the book as in Send Me Down A Miracle. I like them all for different reasons but just like with children, I don't play favorites.

Which writers/books have influenced you most as a writer?

I'm never sure how a book has influenced my writing because I don't try to write like anyone else but I do have some favorite writers and I'm sure in some way they must have influenced my writing. I love Flannery O'Connor, John Steinbeck, Mary Oliver, Charles Dickens, Carson McCullers, and Annie Dillard.

You can find Han at her website:

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