TILL IT STOPS BEATING - HANNAH R. GOODMAN
Seventeen-year-old Maddie Hickman has always coped with anxiety by immersing herself into the latest self-help book. Then her grandmother is diagnosed with cancer, and she spirals so far down that she almost risks losing everything she holds dear. From applying to college to solving the mystery of why she detests jelly doughnuts to writing a novel for her senior project and reconnecting with an old flame (or two), the ever-mounting stress leads to an unexpected road trip where she is forced to listen to her wildly beating heart. It is only in the back of a convertible with pop music blasting, that she discovers what she needs in order to really live.
MM: Hello everyone, thanks for hanging out with me @MartinMatthewsWrites for another author interview. This time we're talking with Hannah Goodman and her book TILL IT STOPS BEATING.
HG: Thank you Martin! So happy to be here with you!
MM: My pleasure. Before we delve into the book, tell us a little about yourself, Hannah.
HG: I’ve been in the publishing game for a long time! Till It Stops Beating is my fourth novel, but it’s the first one not self-published. It’s the fourth book in a series of books about a self-help book junky teenage girl. I started writing the first book in the series, My Sister’s Wedding, when I was 15! While I do love writing YA fiction, I also write creative non-fiction pieces on mental health and the writer’s life. Writing about anxiety and my writing life has been liberating!
MM: I see -- I also began writing seriously at 15. Seems like a good age to begin. So, okay, you've been a teacher, tutor, coach and counselor of teenagers...You sound like you might know your stuff. Tell us a little bit about the book.
HG: Till It Stops Beatingis about anxiety, cancer, and…jelly doughnuts...
MM: Wait -- huh? Donuts?
HG:You have to read it to learn exactly how the jelly doughnuts play a role! Though there are serious topics, the main character, Maddie, is funny and has a way of keeping her humor even while things are truly falling apart around her. It’s also a love story—not just romance but family and also friendships.
MM: Keeping your humor while everything falls apart, I think that's a skill we wish we all had. I know I do! Tell us a little more about Maddie and some of the other people in your story.
HG: Maddie is 17 and she wants to move on from her first love, Justin, but her methods haven’t worked thus far—self help books and bad love poems. Her two best friends, Peter and Susan, want her to get out of her pity party and live a little, so when an old friend emerges and wants to date Maddie, they are very encouraging…only the timing is a little wonky as Maddie is kind of falling apart over applying to college and her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis…everything kind of goes awry and Maddie winds up driving across country to that first love, Justin. I think I might have over-introduced some characters and given away plot! Anyway, those are all the main characters but there are other important folks along the way.
MM: Often it's the journey that's interesting. I think there's a lot here to entice readers to find out more about Maddie's journey. Where did the idea for the book come from?
HG: My own struggles with anxiety during my senior year of high school. Also, my own heartbreak(S).
MM: Write what you know, huh? What's the message behind the book?
HG: I really am hoping that the subtle message of not being ashamed of mental health issues is clear. That’s most important to me.
MM: Me too, I lost my best friend this year to suicide due to mental health issues. It's a topic that's close to my heart. I appreciate you speaking out on it. I'm sure many people out there do. Let me switch gears here and ask about some of your writing influences.
HG: Growing up, I wanted to be Judy Blume. So, she was an initial source of inspiration. I think my work is most influenced now by my life and all the stories I hear from clients and students.
MM: That's a great resource opportunity! Speaking of resources, can you share what are you currently reading?
HG: This is funny to me because I am on this classics kick—my 10-year-old and I are reading Moby Dick!
MM: You may want to skip the 40 pages or so on different whale species, but have at it! What’s been the hardest part of publishing for you?
HG: The writing is the easiest part. It’s the marketing and all that goes along with it. As a writer published by a small publisher, it’s really hard to get your book seen. Everything helps!
MM: Such as this interview! Are you working on another novel? Can you tell us anything about it?
HG: Yes. I have two more Maddie books in the series. The next one is about post-high school life when you put college on hold and her mental health struggles. The final book in the series is about her life as a writer…she gets a book deal very young (totally not inspired by my life, obviously!).
MM: Wow -- Maddie for days, people. Check it out, folks, I'll post the links below. Hannah, it's been great chatting with you about Till It Stops Beating.
HG: Thank you so much for having me. The chance to talk about my work is so important, and I am very grateful for your time!
Often referred to as “the teenage whisperer”, Hannah R. Goodman’s twenty-year career working with teenagers includes the titles teacher, tutor, coach, and, more recently, mental health counselor. Hannah has written essays about mental health for various online publications. Her work has appeared on MindBodyGreen, OC87 Recovery Diaries, and The Mighty. Till It Stops Beatingis her first novel with Black Rose Writing.