Layne welcomes Hannah Whitten for a chat about her new sisterhood-centric fantasy novel FOR THE THRONE, the power of being your own biggest fan, and how Adam Driver brings people together.

Shop Hannah’s books in the official Unlikeable Female Characters Bookshop (or here’s the B&N link if you want to get your hands on that sweet sweet special edition).

Episode Transcript

LAYNE: Welcome to Unlikeable Female Characters, the podcast about women who don’t give a damn if you like them. I’m Layne Fargo, and today I have a guest that I’ve been wanting to have on the show literally since our very first episode, Hannah Whitten.

So Hannah has been writing to amuse herself since she could hold a pen, and sometime in high school figured out that what amused her might also amuse others. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, making music, or attempting to bake. She lives in an old farmhouse in Tennessee with her husband, children, two cats, a dog, and probably some ghosts. And if you don’t follow Hannah on Instagram, what are you doing with your life? You can see her beautiful farmhouse there.

So her latest book For the Throne, which is the sequel to the New York Times bestselling For the Wolf, is out June 7th. And we are going to fangirl all about it today. Welcome, Hannah!

HANNAH: Yay! I’m so excited.

LAYNE: I’m so excited too. So we know each other from Pitch Wars 2017, way back in the day. We’ve been internet friends that whole time, but we have never spoken to each other until now.

HANNAH: That’s so bizarre to me still. It didn’t even occur to me until you mentioned it, because I feel like I keep up on internet friends with so many of my friends that I’m like, what do you mean, I’ve never actually seen this person in real life?

LAYNE: Yeah. Yeah, totally sure. Yeah. It feels like it, but no, this is the first time, so it’s very exciting. But yeah, we go all the way back to—am I remembering this right? Our first like real interaction on Twitter, I forget who posted. One of us posted something about Adam Driver, Kylo Ren, and then the other one was like, oh my God, I love Adam Driver! And the rest is history.

HANNAH: I think it was one of those games that people used to play whenever they were applying for things like Pitch Wars. So it’s like, post a GIF of the facecast for your main character or whatever. And I posted Adam Driver, and you were like, hello?

LAYNE: Adam Driver brings people together. That’s what I’m saying.

HANNAH: He sure does.

LAYNE: Yeah. So you had a character in For the Wolf, and also For the Throne, who was somewhat inspired by Mr. Driver. And then the character of Rob in my Pitch Wars book Temper was inspired by him. And I just kept trying to put him in books. I don’t know. He’s very inspiring.

HANNAH: That is one way to phrase it, yes.

LAYNE: So inspiring. One of the highlights of my life so far was when I went to see him in Burn This, Rainbow Rowell was there sitting, like, a row ahead of me.

HANNAH: I would have combusted.

LAYNE: Yeah, it was a lot. I had a lot of feelings. But so at intermission I went up and fangirled at her, and then we ended up in the bathroom line talking about Adam Driver and how many characters in books he’s inspired, and how he’s basically our modern-day Heathcliff. It just seems like he’s muddy and will throw you over his shoulder. That was really a highlight of my life.

HANNAH: There’s more than one. There’s many people that are like, yeah, there’s lots of Adam Driver photos on my Pinterest.

LAYNE: There’s enough of him to go around. He’s a very large man.

HANNAH: Did you see the Buzzfeed article—I think it was Buzzfeed—whenever Burn This was happening, that was just like critics talking about how overwhelmed they were by the size of Adam Driver? “I was so flustered by the size of his quads that I spilled my purse everywhere.”

LAYNE: Seriously. I saw that show, and I was in the third row, and he is so much larger even than you would think.

HANNAH: I mean, that’s just information I don’t need to know. My peace is so fragile.

LAYNE: Okay. Okay. But we should talk about your book, not just Adam Driver for 40 minutes. So we’ve talked about For the Wolf many times on the show, I’m like always beating that drum. Love that book, one of my all time faves. And I’ve read like 10 different versions of it.

HANNAH: You have, wow.

LAYNE: And they’re, like, all my faves.

HANNAH: I was thinking about that today. I was like, yeah. it’s changed so much, the first time you read it to the final form.

LAYNE: The first time I read it, he turned into an actual wolf, right?

HANNAH: He was a werewolf at one point, yes.

LAYNE: But he’s not now.

HANNAH: There’s still people that are like, what the fuck? He’s not even a werewolf?

LAYNE: You need to write that werewolf AU fanfiction of your own work.

HANNAH: I’ve already written the college AU, so.

LAYNE: I know.

HANNAH: That was so much fun. I want to do it again, but I can’t think of the setting for Solmir and Neve. I don’t feel like they would fit the college one.

LAYNE: I feel like a company where she’s, like, his boss or something, or he’s this guy brought in. So I don’t know, like they’re like thrown together, and they’re both very dominant. That’s a free idea. Feel free to take that.

HANNAH: Thank you.

LAYNE: Maybe a little James Spader Secretary thing, but Neve is James Spader.

HANNAH: Like the full spice AU.

LAYNE: Yeah. Yeah. This is why I told Kristen not to come to this interview because I’m like, Kristen, it’s going to be unhinged fangirling for the entire time.

HANNAH: Yeah.

LAYNE: Yeah. Yeah. Okay, okay, okay, but tell us about your books, please.

HANNAH: Yes, I can do that. Okay.

For the Wolf is an adult romantic fantasy that follows Red, who is the Second Daughter of a cold, wintry kingdom on the border of the Wilderwood, which is this magic forest that is guarded over by the Wolf of the Wood. And also maybe some monsters, people don’t really know. But anytime that a Second Daughter is born, she gets sent into the woods, never to be seen again. Nobody knows what happens to her, nobody really cares. It’s mostly just to maintain the status quo and make sure everybody’s cool. So Red has grown up resigned to this fate, but once she finally enters the Wood and meets Eammon, who is the Wolf, nothing is what she thought it was.

And For the Throne follows Neve, who is Red’s twin sister. While Red was supposed to be a sacrifice, Neve was always raised to be the queen. Neve makes some extremely questionable decisions over the course of Wolf, attempting to get her sister back, attempting to exert some sort of control over her life. And Throne is essentially that meme where it’s like, me sowing—fuck yeah! Me reaping—what the fuck??

LAYNE: Yes, she does make some choices. My perfect little control freak. I love her.

HANNAH: I’ve told people before that writing Red made me be like, huh, I think I have depression. And then writing Neve made me be like, huh, I think I have control issues.

LAYNE: Why do our books have to call us out like this? They teach us so much, and we don’t want to know it.

HANNAH: Yeah, I could have done without that, actually. Thank you.

LAYNE: So since this is Unlikeable Female Characters, I definitely want to talk about the ways in which our girls are, uh… I mean, I love these characters, because they’re messy, and they make bad choices, but they’re still very relatable. Like we talk a lot on the show about how, even if someone’s not quote unquote “likeable”—which is some patriarchal bullshit in the first place—they can still be relatable. And you do such a good job of setting up, like even when they’re making these choices where you’re like, no, sweetie, no! Like, you understand.

HANNAH: Something that I’ve always really gravitated toward whatever I’m reading, and writing is wanting every decision that someone makes, regardless of the space that they’re filling in the plot—like whether it’s your antagonist or your main character or a side character or whatever—like every decision that they make, I want to be something that you can understand how they got. So even if it is an objectively bad decision, you can trace how they came to make it. And just from the jump, both Red and Neve were very flawed characters, and I wanted that. I didn’t want to write those characters, like, oh my flaw is that I’m just too pretty.

LAYNE: I’m clumsy, whoops.

HANNAH: Yeah, I wanted real deep flaws. I wanted to give myself the challenge of maybe writing people that might be hard to root for and seeing if I could make you do it. Which with me, I definitely kinda felt that pressure—and with Solmir too—of tangling yourself up in a knot and then having to see how you’re going to undo it. It’s both the plot of the book and the experience of writing it.

LAYNE: Yeah. So Solmir is a very bad, very sexy man.

HANNAH: Truly the worst. Just awful.

LAYNE: I got one of my friends, who’s also obsessed with Adam Driver, hooked on For the Wolf. And I was telling her that the next book was about Neve and Solmir and, like, how hot Solmir was. And she was like, but he’s evil. And I was like, have you met me? Come on, girl.

HANNAH: Yeah, he’s like—I feel like his evil is not so much a world-shattering evil and more like a very personal kind of evil.

LAYNE: Yeah. Just makes him hotter, honestly.

HANNAH: Like, selfish. And that I feel like is something that I wanted to give most of the main characters. Like I feel like of the—oh, we’ll call Red and Eammon and Neve and Solmir main characters for purposes of discussion— but selfishness is a trait that all of them have. Eammon, not so much in Wolf, but you see it more in Throne. I wanted them to have that and be able to use it in a way that is not inherently bad, because caring for yourself and making that a top priority isn’t a bad thing.

LAYNE: That seems like a good segue to talk about our religious trauma. Let’s do it.

HANNAH: Oh boy.

LAYNE: So I was raised evangelical, as I know you were as well. And there are a lot of those themes in your books, about good versus evil and purity and all that stuff and how it’s bullshit. So I love that. I love that.

HANNAH: Yeah. The spark of the original idea that became Wolf was about taking fairytales that do have a lot of emphasis on purity and messing with that. And I wanted to make it clear too—Wolf is very much more romance than Throne is like, they both have romance in them that are very central parts of the plot, but I would argue that Wolf’s central plot is the romance, whereas that’s not necessarily the case in Throne. But since I was writing a romance, I wanted to make it very clear that this was not like a first love situation. These people are adults that have had experiences, that have been with other people. And that’s not, like, a weird thing to overcome, i’s just expected because they’re people.

LAYNE: I always loved that about Wolf, that Red is not this, like, blushing virgin. She’s got some experience, including with her sister’s betrothed.

HANNAH: Correct me if I’m wrong, I think that in the first version of Wolf that you read, Neve was in love with Arick at the beginning, and Red was still—they were still sleeping together. That was one of my biggest notes as far as unlikeableness goes. And I do think it was a good editorial note, because since it was literally thrown at you in the first couple of pages, like I totally understand how that can make her hard to root for, for some people.

But I was really glad whenever I was working with my agent in particular, she was like, I want Red and Arick to be together, but I feel like you are shooting the sisterly bond in the foot by starting out this way. So that was a very good editorial note, and I’m glad that I changed it. But definitely from the beginning, Red was not written to be likeable. Red was extremely traumatized, and she acted in a way that someone who was traumatized would.

LAYNE: Yeah, cause she’s grown up knowing that she’s going to be a sacrifice, like that’s her purpose. Which would definitely give you a certain fuck everything, nothing matters vibe.

HANNAH: She lives her life, even though as the book goes on, she is given a second chance at having a life. That’s not the way that she would operate were that not her reality. Like, she is someone who actually cares very deeply, but at the beginning of the book, she chooses not to let that part of herself be known, cause what’s the point?

LAYNE: Yeah.

HANNAH: Whereas Neve cares very deeply about literally everything.

LAYNE: Yeah, too many things. You need care less, babe.

HANNAH: Everything she has ever been presented with, she has had big feelings about it.

LAYNE: What other notes have you gotten that were about their likeability or root-ability? I’m so curious.

HANNAH: I never necessarily got notes on Neve’s likeability. More notes on how to, like I was saying before, make it more clear how exactly she got to where she is. There were some earlier drafts where—the way that the story came out and, obviously the way that the published books came out as the way that they’re best and the way that I’m happiest with them. But earlier in the process, Neve’s storyline in Wolf particularly was less about being manipulated and more about just being like, fuck it.

And again I think that was a good change to make where yes, she knows that she’s being manipulated, but she is allowing it to happen because it furthers her own ends. So it was nice to be able to massage that storyline and get to a good middle ground of being able to keep that element of, she does not give a fuck, and also she is being fed wrong information on purpose.

LAYNE: I think that’s something readers forget sometimes, because they have way more information than she does. Like they’re getting Red’s POV in the woods.

HANNAH: It’s so funny. There’s people who love that and people who hate that. Like watching The Office or something and you get secondhand embarrassment? Watching people do just the wrong thing. And some people love that, and some people cannot stand it, and both are valid. And I feel like you can have both of those reactions and still enjoy the book.

LAYNE: Yeah. I just see, female characters in particular, they get judged for not being fucking clairvoyant and knowing everything. It’s like, she doesn’t know! You’re reading both these POVs, but people would be like, oh, why did she do that? And it’s cause she didn’t fucking know.

HANNAH: And even if she did know, she has dug herself so deep into what she believes is right, and what she thinks should be the way that things are, that nothing—and you see it later in the book, nothing Red tells her is going to make her think that she’s wrong. She has gone so far in legitimizing everything in her own brain that she’s able to turn aside anything that Red tells her about how she might be wrong. So that was a big thing to interrogate and overcome in Throne, is Neve realizing her own inability to ever accept when she is wrong, both about Red and about other stuff.

LAYNE: What if she’s always right? No.

HANNAH: What if she’s never actually done anything wrong in her life?

LAYNE: What if she’s never done anything wrong in her life, that’s what I’m saying. I love her.

Let’s talk a little bit about your publishing journey, which I know has been winding, cause I’ve been around for most of it.

HANNAH: Yeah. Okay, so, I drafted Wolf in late 2016. And at the time I knew nothing about publishing at all, and I wrote it as New Adult, was the intention of the original draft.

LAYNE: Just like still not a thing, unfortunately.

HANNAH: Still not a thing. That was right around the time that all of the ACOTAR books had been reissued as New Adult. So I was like, oh, okay, that’s the level of readership that I’m going for, somewhere in between that upper YA and adult space.

So I wrote it as New Adult, and once I figured out how publishing worked and started looking to query, I was given the advice that, hey, New Adult’s not actually going to be a thing, you should age this down to YA. So I was like, okay.

So I did, but I never felt like the book fit there very easily. It was always a struggle to shave it down into the parameters of YA. But that’s what I queried with, that’s what I got into Pitch Wars with. So I queried and signed with my agent as YA. We edited it, and we went on a sub round as YA. And we had a bunch of really close calls. I failed four acquisitions. And all of the feedback that we got from them was that it did not fit in the YA market because it was either too complex, it was too long, the characters read too old. So I was like, oh yeah, that tracks.

So my agent and I talked, and I was like, hey, I actually originally wrote this as New Adult. How would you feel about me just going fully adult? Because now that crossover fantasy is getting to be more of a thing, we see more of these books that are meant to hit in that space that New Adult was supposed to, but they’re being published as adult. So I edited it, which ended up adding back in a lot of original stuff that I had cut and giving myself more space. And once we did that and subbed it as adult, it sold in like a month.

LAYNE: To an amazing editor.

HANNAH: Brit Hvide at Orbit, who also edits N.K. Jemisin.

LAYNE: No big deal.

HANNAH: I still fangirl over that, and have a hard time believing it. I try not to think about it too much, especially whenever I’m turning in drafts, because I’m like, what if N.K. Jemisin right before I did? Going from that to reading—that’s terrifying.

LAYNE: Yeah, that would be intimidating. Oh my God.

But yeah, I’ve been watching this whole time, since Pitch Wars and I just—

HANNAH: Yeah, hearing me whine.

LAYNE: No! I, look—I loved this book so much in the beginning. Like I read the—I think the werewolf draft, I read it on a plane. I was like on a business trip for my old job, and I was flying from Chicago to San Francisco, and I read the whole thing on the plane. And then I’m like waiting for the shuttle at the airport, just like screaming at you in Twitter DMS, like embarrassing.

HANNAH: Oh, I remember that!

LAYNE: But I’ve loved every version that I read of it, honestly. It’s been really cool to see the development of it. And I remember being in your DMs too, being like what if it was adult? And you were like, I’m thinking about it.

HANNAH: It’s been one of those things that was literally always in the back of my mind, because even whenever we were categorizing it as YA, like whenever I was querying and stuff, it was like, okay, but after this, I think I want to do adult fantasy. So that’s always kind of been the end goal. It worked out really, really cool that that’s where I ended up. And it’s where I intend to stay.

LAYNE: Yes. Yes. I did want to talk also about your kind of like branding and marketing as an author, because I’m constantly in awe of your online presence. I know you hate Twitter right now, as we all do. And once it becomes Elon Musk’s Twitter, we’re all gonna fuck off into the sun. But you have so much joy and confidence in your world and your characters, like from way back.

HANNAH: Thank you.

LAYNE: Way back when we were in Pitch Wars and all through this, the way that you talked about your work online, it was just so clear that you were your own biggest fan. And so by the time your book came—

HANNAH: That’s probably still true!

LAYNE: Yeah! But I think that’s incredible. Cause by the time your book came out, it was like you had this built-in fanbase and you hit the—you were an instant New York Times bestseller. People were so excited about it, and so invested in it, myself included.

And I think it’s really hard, for women especially, but just like artists in general to talk about their work with that much confidence and joy and just fucking enjoy it. So like, how do you do it? Tell me.

HANNAH: Well, it’s funny, because I feel like I’m trying to relearn that now. You get the peek behind the curtain, and it’s so weird whenever you’re on a publishing schedule too. If you’re doing a book a year, which is what I’m doing right now. Right now, I am promoting Throne, editing The Foxglove King, and drafting book two in the Nightshade Crown trilogy. So my focus is very scattered.

Before, whenever I was querying and editing Wolf, it was my focus. I lived and breathed those characters, especially because I had no idea how writing a book worked. So it took me forever to revise, and I was doing it so intensely that it just took up all my brain space. So it just felt very natural that’s what I talked about online. Especially since the entire reason that I joined Twitter is because whenever I Googled, how does publishing work? It was like, you should join Twitter.

LAYNE: How does publishing work? Twitter.

HANNAH: Yeah, unfortunately. So I am trying to learn how to recapture that joy. And I think that being your own biggest fan is pretty essential to being able to survive.

LAYNE: Yeah.

HANNAH: If you’re lucky, you get a really good agent as an advocate, and you have people within your publishing house that are advocating for your work and who hopefully love it just as much as you do. But at the end of the day, you’re the one who’s sitting down to work, and you’re the one who’s owning the product that you put out. So you have to really believe in it.

And part of believing in it is being willing to learn and to change it. And not being precious about not wanting to edit things, cause you know if you’re trying to serve the story, sometimes serving the story means you throw out 10,000 words, even if they have really clever turns of phrase that you want to use. I reuse stuff all the time, cause I had to throw it out in the other drafts.

But yeah, I think using social media and online branding in a way that is joyful for you is the key, and not forcing yourself to do stuff that you don’t enjoy. So like, I enjoy being unhinged online. Making Canva graphics. Those are fun things for me. So I continue to do those things. Meanwhile, if I had to get on TikTok, I would take a long walk off a short pier. That’s not going to be fun, so I don’t try to do it.

LAYNE: Yeah, I keep hearing more and more about how we’re all supposed to be on TikTok, and I’m like, I quit. I’m going to be 40 in a few years. I can’t do this. I can’t do it.

HANNAH: I do like to do reels for Instagram, but even that I’m like… this is too much.

LAYNE: It’s a lot. It’s a lot. Yeah. But you have such a strong aesthetic. It just seems like you live your brand, like your cute farmhouse with all your like kind of witchy, like woodsy decor. And I don’t know, I just love your aesthetic.

HANNAH: I think, too, that so many people are trying to create an aesthetic that is not actually something that you enjoy and something that you live, for lack of a better term. It’s always gonna feel like work. And it’s usually not going to come across as authentic. Just lean into the stuff that you like, regardless of whether it seems like that’s what’s trendy or whatever. I feel like that’s good advice, both for branding and for your own writing. Don’t force yourself to write something that you personally are not enjoying, because if there is no joy in it, people can tell.

LAYNE: Yeah, I’ve been struggling with that over the past few years. My Pitch Wars book, I got an agent right away, and it sold really fast. And then the book came out, and it just didn’t hit. Like, there were a few people who liked it, but it didn’t sell very well. And I loved that book.

HANNAH: That is so bizarre to me because I still think about Temper all the time.

LAYNE: Oh, thank you. I think it just—I don’t know, I didn’t really know how to market it.

HANNAH: It’s just like luck and timing and stuff that is completely out of anyone’s control.

LAYNE: Yeah. But that was really weird for me, cause it was something that I did love and believe in so much. And then my second book, They Never Learn, there are things I love about that book, but I was fucking miserable the whole time I was writing it, and it came out and my publisher didn’t market it at all. But I’ve had the opposite experience, where people online really got ahold of it and it’s been like a good word of mouth success. And it was really confusing to me for a long time. I was just like, okay, so, this book that I loved with all my heart flopped, and then this book that I was ambivalent about and didn’t think was as good, people love. So what does that mean?

I’m finally getting back into a place where I’m really joyful about what I’m working on. But I had a lot of false starts because, if I was enjoying something too much, I was almost like, oh this means it’s going to flop. Like, I have to be miserable. And then, you know, the fucking pandemic and all that shit.

HANNAH: The world falling into flames.

LAYNE: It’s no big deal. No big deal. Yeah.

HANNAH: It doesn’t help anybody. I have been really lucky, in that I had a similar experience with Wolf where I really believed in that book. There were so many places in my publishing journey where it made sense to give up on it, but I never could make myself do that.

And I think that some of it is because of the place that I was at whenever I drafted it. I was drafting Wolf right after I had my first kid and was really deep in postpartum depression and anxiety and OCD, like just a delightful cocktail of mental illness and, you know, sleep deprivation also. So I quite literally needed something to distract my brain long enough to keep myself alive. And Wolf was that thing for me. It provided an outlet for me to both have some fun and an escape. But also through the process of writing it and revising, it made me realize that I needed help. So I went to therapy and I got medicated and now I’m good. I still struggle with those things, but not nearly to the point where I did.

And I think because, like Wolf itself, the story and the characters had become such a talismanic thing for me, I had a very difficult time letting go of it, when all advice would have told me that’s what I should be doing. And I got really lucky in that when it was published, people really latched onto it, in ways that me or my publisher were not expecting. It was a shock for everybody, I think how much people really took to it.

But publishing is one of those things, like the pendulum can swing at any point. So I get nervous sometimes about putting that much of myself into something else that I’m working on because it’s like, okay, what if this is the thing that flops?

LAYNE: I have to say as someone who’s known you, even though this is the first time we’re speaking, but who’s known you for many years now, I wasn’t surprised at all when it came out. That was what I expected to happen. Because it’s so impressive how, even though you changed the category, you changed a lot of plot elements, that emotional authenticity and the core of those characters stayed the same through all of these different drafts. And that’s what people are responding to, I think.

HANNAH: Yeah. Yeah. And I try to just write that way generally. And so that’s what I’m clinging to is, okay, if I can stick the emotional landing on all these other things, like all the other balls that I have in here, then it’ll find the people who it needs to.

LAYNE: Yeah. Do you want to tell us a little bit about what’s next for you? I know you’ve mentioned you’re writing a trilogy. Very exciting.

HANNAH: So my next project is the Nightshade Crown trilogy, which starts next March. Which is earlier than I thought it was going to be. I just found out like last week, cause I was thinking it was gonna be summer because Wolf and Throne have both been June. But no, this one’s March!

The Foxglove King is the first book. It’s a completely different world from the Wilderwood books. It is about a girl named Lore, who is a poison runner in this bustling, opulent harbor city that has, like, very Versailles vibes. And she can channel the magic of death, which is something that she has kept hidden because that is illegal.

But she gets caught, by accidentally raising a horse from the dead. And she thinks okay, this is it. And she gets taken to the castle, but the king is like, hey, listen, I actually need you to work for me, because there’s an empire that is about to invade, there’s something mysterious that is killing all these villages that they can’t figure out what it is. So they want her to like, raise these bodies and ask them what is going on. But nothing is as it seems, there are plots afoot. And there’s a love triangle.

LAYNE: Yes. Okay. Which problematic boy will I be obsessed with in this book?

HANNAH: They’re all so problematic and just very calibrated to my taste. So I feel like you’ll have a very hard time.

LAYNE: Oh, no!

HANNAH: There’s Gabe, who is a monk. He’s a celibate monk with one eye, who was a duke, but his father basically gave their duchy over to the emperor of this encroaching empire. And so he was like cast out after that, because in the religious system of the Nightshade Crown, it’s very much like the sons bearing the sins of the father kind of thing.

So now he’s a monk. He’s one of the Presque Mort, who are this cadre of monks that can channel death magic. They’re the only people that are allowed to do it. But because he is technically a duke, he becomes Lore’s guardian within the court. Like he has to escort her to stuff.

LAYNE: Oh, no.

HANNAH: They tell everybody that she is his cousin, but people are like, I don’t think he is her cousin.

LAYNE: The vibes are too strong.

HANNAH: The vibes are too strong. But there’s an only one apartment situation. Not only one bed, there’s two beds, but they have to live in like the same suite of apartments. So there’s that.

And then there’s also Bastian, who is the prince, who is our suspect that Lore has been brought into the Citadel to stay close to him, watch him, because they think that he is feeding information to the empire. And he is just a bisexual menace, he is the worst.

LAYNE: I love him already. I think he’s going to be my boyfriend.

HANNAH: He is so much fun. I love writing him so much. He’s very funny, very dry. He’s here for a good time, not a long time.

I’ve had the most fun writing this book, cause like thematically, it’s probably darker than the Wilderwood books, dealing with some really heavy stuff like heavy theology in this one. We’re talking a lot about evangelicalism in this book. We’re going all in. But also I have had more room to be, like, funny. And have more bantery characters and stuff, even as this super heavy stuff is going on around them. And it’s very different, cause there’s a huge cast of characters. But I think it’s going to be good. And I think if you like the Wilderwood books, you’ll like this one.

LAYNE: I’m very excited, and I’m excited that it’s coming out sooner. Though that’s two books in one calendar year. That’s intense. I’m sorry.

HANNAH: I am hoping to be able to move into doing two books a year soonish, because Wilderwood just earned out.

LAYNE: Congrats! That’s amazing.

HANNAH: So hopefully I can write full time very soon. And once I do that, I have a whole Google Doc of ideas that I’m just going to throw at my agent and be like, here’s all the things that I would like to write.

LAYNE: I’m very here for it. Okay. So could you tell everyone where to find you on the Internet if they want to look at all your beautiful aesthetic photos?

HANNAH: I am @hwhittenwrites on both Instagram and Twitter.

LAYNE: But mostly Instagram.

HANNAH: But mostly Instagram, like I’m around on Twitter, but I’m trying not to be.

LAYNE: Same. It just keeps pulling me back in. Ugh.

HANNAH: I feel like I just need something else that I can mindlessly scroll.

LAYNE: Yeah.

HANNAH: And I’ve been trying to train my brain to go to Pinterest to do that instead of Twitter.

LAYNE: It doesn’t make you filled with rage and anxiety at least.

HANNAH: Yeah. It doesn’t make me feel like what’s it all about, is there any point?

LAYNE: Yeah, that’s good. That’s good. That’s like the least we ask of our social media.

HANNAH: I would look at pretty kitchens instead, please.

LAYNE: Thank you so much, Hannah. It’s so great to finally speak to you.

HANNAH: Yes, it’s so exciting!

LAYNE: And by the time this airs, For the Throne will be out. There is an amazing special edition from Barnes & Noble, if you want extra features, and I know that you do. There’s like a short story, and—what else is in that one?

HANNAH: There’s a short story, there’s an interview, and there’s interior art, like on the inside flaps.

LAYNE: Okay. So yeah, go get that from Barnes & Noble, or you can buy the regular version. Or just buy both. Like, just fucking buy both! That’s fine.

All right, thank you so much.

HANNAH: Thank you!

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