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Interview with Hannah Tunnicliffe

Hannah Tunnicliffe is a self-confessed nomad. She has previously lived in Canada, Australia, England, Macau and, while travelling Europe, a campervan named Fred. She currently lives in New Zealand with her husband and two daughters, having happily ditched a career in Human Resources to become an author. When she is not writing or reading she can usually be found baking or eating and sometimes all four at the same time (which is probably somewhat hazardous). She is founder and co-author of the blog Fork and Fiction, which, unsurprisingly, explores her twin loves - books and food. Season of Salt and Honey is her second novel.

What is a typical working day for you?

I don’t have a typical day and I tend to resist routine. But most days consist of the following ingredients: a strong cup of tea (or four), procrastination, being delighted by my kids, being exasperated by my kids, going to a library or café, attempting to write one thousand words, answering emails, eating baked goods, posting photos on instagram (usually of the baked goods), smooching my guy, laundry, cooking, dishes… rinse and repeat.

What are your three favourite books of all time? And why?

Answering this question is so hard it is almost cruel. I’m going to choose the books I have read again and again:Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver, Potiki by Patricia Grace.

Which author do you admire most? And why?

Barbara Kingsolver. She continues to develop her style book after book, always pushing and growing and learning. Her work is accessible and unpretentious, warm and honest; her characters complex and hopeful. She effortlessly weaves social and environmental issues through every one of her books and her work is always heartfelt and authentic and intelligent.

What tips would you give aspiring writers?

All of the usual simple but surprisingly difficult truths: Get it down, even if it seems bloody awful, you cannot edit a blank page. Suspend your inner critic. Laugh regularly; it’s all going to be okay.

What’s your most memorable experience at a Literary Event?

Watching the waiata performed for Patricia Grace at the closing of the Auckland Writer’s Festival, 2014. The singing was unaccompanied, searing, sweet and beautiful. It left me tearful and breathless.

If a movie was made of your life what three songs would you want on the soundtrack?

Something from the Rumours album by Fleetwood Mac, an Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong duet, a tune by Fiona Apple.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would talk to her in the voice of Cheryl Strayed, author of the book “Dear Sugar” – i.e. “Oh, honey. You cannot believe the life you have on the other side of this pain and worry! You don’t even have to do anything, it’s just there, waiting! So worry a little less, huh? Especially about being fat, it really is a complete waste of time. Be kind to yourself. You, my darlin’, are enough. “


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