See the interview with first place BoB winner Mariane Holbrook here, and second place winner Allison Egley here.

Sally Hanan has been a FW member for a VERY long time (almost 15 years!), and though she hadn’t entered the Writing Challenge in a few years, she submitted an entry this past March. That entry took the top spot that week, and NOW has been recognized as third place in Best of the Best. Read on to learn more about Sally, her entry, her publishing successes and dreams, and her connection to the people of FaithWriters – and more.

JOANNE SHER: First of all, congratulations on your BoB win! What was your reaction when you found out you were third place in Best of the Best?

SALLY HANAN: I was very surprised, to be honest, as I hadn’t placed at all in the quarterly ratings. It was a lovely notice to get in my inbox.

JOANNE: Your winning piece, Royalty Enshrined, is such a beautiful, imagery-rich poem. How did it come together for you? 

SALLY: I’m a bit of a dreamer when it comes to what goes on in my head, and I saw it before I put the words down. The correlation of seeds heading off matched what was going on in my own life—our baby (age 24) was making plans to leave and our oldest child has already been gone for a few years. It’s like a wind blows through and carries them off, and it’s now up to them to plant where they will and become who they will.

JOANNE: Ohhh – can I relate (guessing I’m not the only one!) You have been at FaithWriters since 2005 – though your presence over the past nine years or so has been felt more in the FaithWriters Facebook group than on the actual site. What motivated you to enter for the first time in several years? Will you be back? What is it about the FaithWriters family that makes you stick around as you do?

SALLY: The FaithWriters family has truly been a lifeline for me, a lovely fit in so many ways. The talent, encouragement, laughs, and ongoing celebration matches no other social media group I’ve joined since, in that I started as a baby writer and wrote my way into better writing alongside incredible people.

I’m not sure what made me enter after so long. I think I was tired of doing boring work stuff and wanted to remind myself of what else was inside me, scratching to get out. Another part of it was that I’d gotten back into reading some really great fiction again, and it was inspiring to fill up with so many beautiful words. I wanted to see if I could write something as descriptive.

I’m sure I’ll be back from time to time. FW has a piece of my heart. 😊 

JOANNE: We love you too 🙂 Have you always enjoyed writing, or is it something that developed later? What is your favorite genre to write in?

SALLY: I’ve always loved words. My English teachers encouraged me all through my school years, but I stopped writing for many years while I raised my kids. Once they were fairly self-sufficient, I jumped straight back in. Writing makes me feel more alive.

I like writing women’s fiction because of the way the words can dance and reach into the soul, but I also love writing Christian nonfiction because words can give people so much understanding to a confusing topic, and they can also give great encouragement to someone feeling stuck or not good enough.

JOANNE: So true! How about reading? What’s your favorite type of book to read? Who are your favorite authors?

SALLY: I love good women’s fiction. Not too wordy, not too smarmy or too loaded with romance that it blocks a good story, not too depressing. I’m averaging about a book a week now that the kids are gone.

My current favorite is Diana Gabaldon. Her writing is magical, and I just haven’t found anyone else who can match the way she breathes life into every scene. Other writers I’ve enjoyed lately are Fredrik Backman, Gregory Boyle, Olivia Hawker, Rachel Kadish, Tara Westover, and Liana Moriarty.

JOANNE: Tell us a bit about you and your family.

SALLY: I’m an Irish immigrant. We moved here in 1995 after winning a lottery visa, and our kids were five months and three years old at the time. We moved to Austin and have never left. The weather here is fantastic compared to the temps and constant rain of home. I was a stay-at-home mom for many years and now I’m free to do what I want when I want. It feels divine. 

JOANNE: Sounds wonderful! What are your hopes and dreams for the future, both personally and professionally?

SALLY: I’d like to write many more nonfiction books. I already have three out in the big world, but I’m always planning new books in my head. We’ll see which ones make it out. 

I’ve written a few novels too, and I thought the latest one had a chance of getting published, but it never worked out. I might go back to it at some point and iron out the things that didn’t work in it. I’ve started three new ones….

I love doing heart healing ministry and life coaching with people, so I’ve been thinking a lot lately of starting a video course on it. Maybe that’ll grow into speaking opportunities.

I’ve had a writing and editing business for about ten years now, and it’s going well. The last few years have been more interesting in that I’m also doing typesetting and cover design. It’s always exciting to help an author see his/her book on websites and to be able to feel the real product of possibly years of effort in one’s hands.

 Long term, my personal Scripture is that God will make me a blessing to others. That’s my biggest hope and dream for my daily and future “being.”

JOANNE: Where can folks connect with you? 

SALLY: FaithWriters Profile

Facebook: Personal Page    Writing and Editing Business: Inksnatcher    Pick Your Life

Inksnatcher website

Pick Your Life website

Twitter

Instagram

JOANNE: Anything else you’d like to share?

SALLY: Overall, life is about trying everything and then keeping on with what is enjoyable. No one is great at anything starting out, but there is always a way to get better, learn more, understand more, and enjoy it all in the journey. Hard stuff always happens, but when it comes to writing and beautiful words, they make everything better. They infuse the soul like a hot cocoa on a snowy day. We can be those writers serving up the cocoa.

JOANNE: Love this! Thanks so much, Sally, for sharing with us. Congrats again, and i am praying your ministries, and everything else, will be a success and glorify the Lord.

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