The Survivalist’s Daughter (published in June 2013)
The Night before Christmas
Thank you, Hazel, for the honor of allowing us to interview you for Minecraft Books.
Hazel Hart, a member of Kansas Authors Club, has won awards for her short fiction, including “Amanda Marie,” published in Kansas Voices, and “Confessions,” in Words out of the Flatlands. Both stories have also been included in a collection of short stories, The Nancy Nolan Show.
Hazel has two published suspense novels, The Night before Christmas and Like Mother, Like Daughter , one young adult novel, The Survivalist’s Daughter, and co-authored two books of short stories, Dark Side of the Rainbow and Edge of Nowhere with Bonnie Eaton aka B.J. Myrick.
Hazel has taught English composition for a community college since 1998 and is currently working on a series of books that focus on helping students better understand the rules of writing.
1. What was your first published book?
“My first published book was The Nancy Nolan Show, a collection of short stories about a talk show host and her effect on viewers and guests.”
2. Why do you enjoy writing as an indie author?
“I enjoy the freedom to publish my book when it is ready. When I was submitting to agents and editors in search of a traditional publishing contract, I had to wait months for a reply. In my last attempt, I met an editor at a writing conference, pitched my novel, and received his permission to send it to him for review. After eight months or so, I wrote a letter asking if he had reviewed the book. He did not respond. A couple of months later, a news story broke that was connected to my novel’s story line. I wrote again, pointing out the connection and how the time was right to market the novel. I asked for the return of the manuscript if the editor was not interested in publishing it. He did not respond. About fifteen months after the original submission, I sent a letter demanding the return of the manuscript. When I received it with a form rejection, it was obvious the novel had never been read. Not a single page had a bent corner or any other evidence that it had been touched. That experience had me saying “never again,” to the traditional publishing process.”
3. The biggest challenge to being an indie author in today’s publishing world?
“My biggest challenge is connecting with readers. I think it might be a bit easier for genre and nonfiction writers, but my stories do not fit neatly into bookshelf categories. Most have a female protagonist who is somewhat of a loner and a storyline with an element of suspense.”
4. A favorite fan review or memory?
“When I published the e-book of my fourth novel, The Survivalist’s Daughter on Kindle, I offered it free during the launch. About three weeks later, someone published a review, and my heart sank. “Preachy!” the heading said. The brief paragraph explained why. I was in shock as I had been trying to encourage people to think, not tell them what to think. Not only was it rated two stars, it was the only review!
Then a few weeks later, someone posted another review, this time with five stars and a heading that read “A hidden treasure! Great book!” followed by a paragraph of praise. Talk about ecstatic! I didn’t come back to earth for several days. At last, there was something to offset that horrible first evaluation.”
5. Advice for new writers?
“Write and then rewrite. After you have written, find a circle of writing friends. Critiques groups are wonderful if the members are honest and kind. Both qualities are important. If your friends tell you only what you want to hear, you may end up publishing something before it is ready. If they are not kind, you may become discouraged.
“Relentless” is how I refer to B.J. Myrick, one of my close writing friends, a term that best describes her persistent reminders that it is time stop procrastinating and get back to work on a book. Every writer could use a relentless friend like her.”
6. Goals for writing in the next year?
“My first goal is to keep to a writing schedule. Nothing gets done without that. I am working on two very different series. The first series chronicles a family of women and their adventures. The first book is set in 1855, Kansas Territory. The second series is my first attempt at nonfiction. The working title for this series is Write to Fit and will consist of brief books that concentrate on specific areas of writing, from the basics of putting a sentence together to the fine points of an effective style.”
7. Anything exciting or new coming out soon?
“To borrow and twist a saying: Excitement is in the eye of the beholder. The plan is for the first book in my Write to Fit series, Basic Sentence Structure, to be published in September, 2014. I’m excited. Are you? If you are a student struggling to get rid of the sea of red marks on your essay saying “run-on sentence” or “fragment,” you should be.”
To check out my books, visit my Amazon author’s page at
To find out what is happening now visit my blog at http://seasonedaspirer.wordpress.com/