This week’s interview is with romance author JC Hannigan! Find out more about her at https://www.jchannigan.com/ Thank you for listening to this episode of the Spoonie Authors Podcast! This podcast is part of the Spoonie Authors Network, an initiative dedicated to building community among disabled creatives. Join the community by participating in the Spoonie Authors Chat on Twitter at 1PM EST every Sunday – just search for the hashtag #SpoonieAuthChat.
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Dianna Gunn: Hello, and welcome to the Spoonie Authors Podcast, a podcast dedicated to exploring the life and stories of disabled authors on the last Friday of every month. I’m your host Dianna Gunn and joining us today is J.C. Hannigan. J..C Hannigan is a chronic pain warrior and an author who writes contemporary romance stories with intriguing characters. Her rock star romance novel, Off Beat, is available now. Hello JC!
J.C. Hannigan: Hi!
Dianna Gunn: I’m really excited to have you on the show. Let’s start with you telling us a little bit about your novel, Off Beat.
J.C. Hannigan: All right, well thank you so much for having me, for starters. I’m really excited to be here. Um, my book Off Beat is actually the first book in my Forgotten Flounders series. It’s a rock star romance series featuring like a member, each member of the band kind of thing. The first book is a story about going home and finding the strength to forgive yourself for your past mistakes: their secret babies, family drama, angst, and plus all the good stuff we love in romance. So like, smokin’ hot chemistry and all that fun stuff. Yeah, that’s pretty much, you know, Off Beat, the first book in the series, so that introduces you to all the characters. And we start out with Callum Jacobs, the frontman of The Forgotten Flounders, and his second chance at love with his high school sweetheart. So, I’m currently working on Book Two, which is his younger sister and one of his bandmates so…
Dianna Gunn: Awesome. I seem to be hearing a lot about rock star romance these days. Seems to be an in thing.
J.C. Hannigan: It is, it is a pretty fun genre to escape in, be it like writing it or reading it. But I feel like with mine, it takes them home, so you’re not really—in this book anyway—you’re not really like on the road with them and they’re not like—they’re coming home, so they’re still people and they’re still having like problems that you like you and I would have. But they kind of have to have them in front of their fan base, you know like, people watching them, I guess,
Dianna Gunn: Yeah, the fun part of being a celebrity… not.
J.C. Hannigan: Yeah. [laughs]
Dianna Gunn: It’s one of my favorite things about being an author like the level of fame I would have to get to, for people to recognize my face like that, and to be followed by the paparazzi; it’s just not going to happen for me and I love that.
J.C. Hannigan: Yeah, see, I’m the same way. The more followers I get, the more attention I get, the more shy I get, and it’s hilarious because you want to grow as an author and you want your books to get out there, but when you’re like, socially shy [laughs]. It’s kind of like a little bit intimidating, that aspect of it, but…
Dianna Gunn: It’s scary to, you know, I’ve heard some horror stories of things that have happened to YouTube personalities I follow. And when you have, you know, a family, that’s twice as scary.
J.C. Hannigan: Yep. Yeah, it is, yeah, yeah, we won’t get into all the dark stuff of the internet [laughs].
Dianna Gunn: Yeah we are quickly derailing into a whole different podcast conversation, but let’s get back to the book. So what inspired you to write Off Beat?
J.C. Hannigan: So, a lot of things inspired it, family love loss, music, mental health, and multiple exostosis, which is my chronic pain bone condition. So Off Beat features my first book with a child who has my bone condition, so it’s pretty exciting to me. You know, and this series is going to tie in to my other series. I’ve written about 12 books, so they’re all going to tie in through this connection, like, through these little facets, but big facets, I guess.
Dianna Gunn: So, is your other series also a romance series or…?
J.C. Hannigan: Yeah, I have a couple of new-adult romantic suspense series like the Collide series is more new-adult romantic suspense and then my Damage series is mature young adults contemporary romance, and then my Rebel series is a small town of contemporary romance, so they all have elements of romance in there. [laughs]
Dianna Gunn: Awesome. Hey, we all do what we do well, you know, you have the romance, I have the body horror. [J.C. laughs]
J.C. Hannigan: Both are needed, though I like to escape in that too, so…
Dianna Gunn: Oh, absolutely.
J.C. Hannigan: I got to read something other than romance every now and then, too, so…
Dianna Gunn: Yeah. What was the biggest challenge of writing this book? I guess you’re, you know, this is no new rodeo for you, but each book does bring its own challenges.
J.C. Hannigan: I would say the biggest challenge was probably trying to figure out how to stitch in Cal and his father’s mental health and alcohol dependency issues without, like making it completely about it. Like, when I tell a story, I want to tell it without the labels, so like I want to tell it through the emotion circumstances and accompanying consequences. So, that was probably the hardest thing to do.
Dianna Gunn: That makes sense, and is this the—another question that is not on our list—but is this the first book that you’ve included a character with your condition in?
J.C. Hannigan: Uh, multiple exostosis? No, I actually included—I slipped her in real quietly in the Rebel series, and she’s getting her own book there in probably, in 2022, I would say. And, yeah, Sam Dobrowski [from the Rebel series] has the multiple exostosis condition that I have, as well as my bleeding condition. I gave her both. So…
Dianna Gunn: How kind of you!
J.C. Hannigan: I know! I was so nice. I was just like, “You’ll get both Whammies here.” [Dianna laughs] But uh, she represents a lot of my struggles that I had growing up in her book, her and Tommy’s book. It’s gonna be really good. Well, they’re all really good, but you know what I mean, like, that one’s really close to my heart because it’s kind of, you know, the woman with MHG. Whereas this one’s close to my heart, Off Beat, because I’m introducing the children with it. And my kids both have the condition too. So, one that’s fairly close to my heart here, and yeah…
Dianna Gunn: I think, something you touched on there is: every book is close to your heart, it’s just always a different way.
J.C. Hannigan: Yeah, there’s always like one or two or even many more things that make it different and important in those ways. So, it’s, it’s a fun experience for sure, I think, writing books.
Dianna Gunn: Absolutely, I mean, if it wasn’t, why else would we do it, right?
J.C. Hannigan: Yep [laughs].
Dianna Gunn: It certainly takes a while; it’s no short term, no short-term hobby [laughs].
J.C. Hannigan: It’s a process [laughs].
Dianna Gunn: So how do you balance, writing all of these books, marketing, and then having kids who also have their own conditions that you need to help them with?
J.C. Hannigan: I’m not a very good juggler, like a lot of stuff, like, falls out of my hands, and I let it go too. So, like, sometimes I’ll slip, I’ll mess up on deadlines for myself or, you know, like I’ll, I’ll have to let things go to do at all, I guess. Like, you can never do everything. And if the kids have medical issues that need the attention, then the book stuff goes aside, or if something’s going on with the family, then the book stuff goes to the side. But I’m always writing, so I just sometimes forget to do the marketing bit [laughs]. I guess what I’m saying is I’m not very good at all of it [laughs].
Dianna Gunn: That’s fair. There’s a lot of—being an author is not just one job, it is many jobs, especially when you’re self-published, I gather?
J.C. Hannigan: Yes, I’m independently published, so I do all the marketing. I do have a PA, so she helps out and that’s great, but it does… Yeah, like wearing all those hats, it can, it can get difficult. I would, I can totally foresee only needing like—having difficulties doing interviews regularly, timewise, like… I don’t even know how I find the time to do some things [laughs].
Dianna Gunn: Yeah, and there’s always more and more demanding out on our time. It’s crazy how, you know, things haven’t even really slowed down during the pandemic for all of us who work online.
J.C. Hannigan: It got worse.
Dianna Gunn: Yeah, it actually sped up for a lot of us who work online, and it’s this total disconnect because I know lots of people who work, you know, out in the real world who have had, like this like enforced like two or three or however many months off, and their lives have just slowed the fuck down. And [J.C. laughs], yeah…not I [laughs].
J.C. Hannigan: No, not me either. My kids are doing the virtual learning, so that’s been fun, like, yeah, just trying to switch it up every once in a while. Like my schedule—my live—like the time that I go live or the time that I do stuff will have to flip on its head totally to try and, you know, do it during a quieter time. It’s just crazy trying to, trying to adjust to so many different things happening, I guess, like with the pandemic. So, I think everybody’s in that boat though, like, we’re all kind of just floundering [laughs].
Dianna Gunn: Yeah, I don’t, I don’t believe anyone who says they’re doing well at this point [laughter]. They’re lying, either to me or to themselves [laughs].
J.C. Hannigan: You’re hiding in the pantry eating cookies too; just don’t deny it, okay?
Dianna Gunn: Yeah, like, I don’t know anyone who’s really doing well. I mean, obviously, there’s, like, the 1% of humanity that’s, like, made billions of dollars off this pandemic, but I don’t know any of them.
J.C. Hannigan: Yeah, I don’t know any either.
Dianna Gunn: They wouldn’t like to know me, I would, I would talk to them a lot about what they should be doing with their money, and I’m pretty sure I would very quickly fall out with those circles [laughs].
J.C. Hannigan: Yes, same I’d get I get blocked real fast on that.
Dianna Gunn: Yeah, I might even be blocked by one or two of them already [laughter]. I don’t think so, but like, what advice would you give to other disabled writers who are looking to become authors?
J.C. Hannigan: I would say go for it. I know a lot of the time it’s the financial things that keep us from exploring our dreams, but it doesn’t cost anything to write your stories, so get started and write them. And then you can join writers groups on Facebook for guidance and Wattpad, I think, Wattpad, is a resource that people use, you know, like there’s definitely ways of getting your stories out there on the cheap, if you’re financially stuck, and there’s people out there that will help you too. So… just do it! [laughs]
Dianna Gunn: Exactly. Just do it.
J.C. Hannigan: Just do it.
Dianna Gunn: And there is always a place for your stories, and I will say quickly for anyone who is looking for a community of writers, we also have the Spoonie Authors Chat on Sundays, which you can find by looking up the hashtag #SpoonieAuthChat, and that’s a lot of fun. It happens almost every Sunday, and that’s a really great way to get to know not just writers, but some editors, and generally people who are in the industry and kind of sort of have an idea what’s going on, but only kind of sort of—publishing’s kind of confused.
J.C. Hannigan: It changes all the time [laughs].
Dianna Gunn: Yeah, it changes all the time, and it’s very confusing, and like, traditional publishing is this whole other mess.
J.C. Hannigan: I don’t even know how to get into that.
Dianna Gunn: Yeah.
J.C. Hannigan: It’s good to find those faces where there’s support and people who will help you out for sure, so definitely join that group. I think I’m a part of that, and I love it. I’ve heard of so many groups on Facebook right now though.
Dianna Gunn: I’ve kind of stopped using Facebook for anything other than like the messenger. Yeah, sometimes I’ll scroll like when I’m on the desktop, and I’m talking to someone in Messenger, but…
J.C. Hannigan: It’s definitely one of my least favorite social medias to be on, but I’m still on it way too much [laughs].
Dianna Gunn: Well, it’s kind of unavoidable.
J.C. Hannigan: Yeah, it’s mostly everybody’s primary one.
Dianna Gunn: All right and our final question: Where can people go to find out more about you and your books?
J.C. Hannigan: People can go to my website jchannigan.com You can also find me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. The links to all my social media accounts are on my Instagram, so if you want to access them that way, you can, really easy [laughs]. I’m pretty much everywhere, like I said. Have a bit of a social media problem [laughs].
Dianna Gunn: I think we all do at this point, at least one [laughs]. The pandemic has certainly changed—if anything, has changed it’s our relationship with social media.
J.C. Hannigan: That is so true.
Dianna Gunn: Yeah.
J.C. Hannigan: I found it’s been both really good and really bad. Like, a great way of staying in touch, but just, it’s hard to be off, but then because, you know, it’s a pandemic, and you’re not doing your usual stuff, it’s even harder to be off, I guess. If that makes any sense.
Dianna Gunn: Yeah. My best Social Media Pro Tip: I’ve seen a lot of people quitting Instagram; my pro tip is instead of quitting Instagram just follow more dogs and cats than people. I follow way more pets than people, and Instagram is a place of joy for me. I scroll through Instagram every night before bed and look at as many dogs as I possibly can and boop each one of them on the snoot, because I do not have a dog. [J.C. says, “Awww!] And it is very good. It provides much serotonin, and we all need to serotonin wherever we can get it [laughs].
J.C. Hannigan: That’s a good tip, actually, is follow more pets than people.
Dianna Gunn: Yeah.
J.C. Hannigan: I know I follow a lot on Instagram, too, and TikTok, too. I found this uh, it’s called, I think she’s called useless farmer or something or the useless farm, and she’s just got all these like, animals that are, you know, not, I guess, fan favorites like llamas and stuff [laughs]. So I just watch those videos before I go to bed.
Dianna Gunn: Cute animals. They make the world so much better.
J.C. Hannigan: They do [laughs].
Dianna Gunn: All right, thank you so much for joining us. This has been a lovely if somewhat off the rails conversation.
J.C. Hannigan: [laughs] Thank you… thank you for having me.
Dianna Gunn: I wish you all the success in the world.
J.C. Hannigan: I wish you the success in the world too.
Dianna Gunn: Thank you for listening to this episode of the Spoonie Authors Podcast! This podcast is part of the Spoonie Authors Network, an initiative dedicated to building community among disabled creatives. Join the community by participating in the Spoonie Authors Chat on Twitter at 1PM EST every Sunday – just search for the hashtag #SpoonieAuthChat. That’s # Spoonie A U T H chat.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai. Edited for clarity by Cait Gordon.