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author shanna bell

With a love for paranormal storytelling, author L.M. Hatchell blends Celtic folk tales, mythological legends from many cultures, and contemporary settings to create inviting settings in which her characters work to stop the bad guys from ruling the world. Join us for a Q&A with the author of THE MIDNIGHT TRILOGY and THE GUARDIAN.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a Dublin girl through and through. By day I’m an accountant (a fun one, I swear), and in the evening I explore magical worlds in my head. I’ve two miniature humans who keep me on my toes, and an infinitely patient other half who thankfully doesn’t take it personally when he gets ignored in favour of imaginary people.

What led or inspired you to start writing fiction? And how did you end up choosing your specific genre(s)?

My mam instilled a love of reading in me from a very young age. When I was in school I used to write stories and pass the pages around my friends in class, and I loved thinking of unusual ways to twist English assignments into something creative. I don’t really know what happened after that to make me forget about writing, but it was only about six years ago that an idea for a story came into my mind out of the blue. I played around with it but never made any serious attempts to write it.

Then my uncle was over for dinner and mentioned a phrase that immediately caught my attention — three minutes to midnight. It stuck in my head, and I was so driven by it that I started reading up on how to write a book so I could give it a proper go. The story changed from the original idea, but it ultimately became my very first novel.

Urban fantasy was a natural choice for me because I basically write what I like to read, and it’s the genre that holds my heart more than any other. I love that you can incorporate facets of so many different genres within it and create magical worlds with plots that keep you on the edge of your seat.

What’s your next upcoming book? What’s it about?

The Guardian’s Legacy, book two in my Celtic Curses series, is due to release in November. The series centres around an ancient feud between the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Fomorians. Aisling, the Guardian, is tricked into releasing magic back into Ireland and has to deal with the consequences when old myths start coming back to life.

What has been the most challenging part of being an indie author? How have you tackled that challenge?

Patience. I have none! One of the big things you hear in indie publishing is how great rapid release is as a strategy. There are authors literally churning out a book a month, and good books at that. Unfortunately, I’m not a quick writer, and I had to accept from a very early stage that it wouldn’t be a workable strategy for me if I want to do this long term.

That can make it harder to build a following and maintain visibility, particularly as I only had one series starter to promo until recently. I’ve had to remind myself regularly that every step forward, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction. I also took my books wide at the end of last year, and coming out of KDP Select helped hugely as I felt less pressure to keep up.

What has been the most fulfilling part of being an author?

I love learning, and being an indie author offers infinite opportunities to do it. You don’t just have to worry about the craft side of things — you’re also responsible for publishing, marketing, everything. I thrive off learning the different sides of the business. I’ve also been lucky enough to meet some amazing people in the industry and built up an amazing support group that I’m extremely grateful for.

Tell us a bit about your process. Where and when do you write? What’s working for you?

I wrote my very first novel just after having my first child, and I’ve been writing consistently since. It’s given me perspective when it comes to my process as I’ve had to learn to be very flexible and make the most of whatever time I get. Ideally, I aim to write every day, even if it’s just a couple of hundred words. They all add up.

I’ve got myself set up now that I can plot, write, and to some extent, edit on my phone if needed. It’s not the quickest or most efficient option, but now that I have a young baby again, it’s allowed me to keep moving forward. I also find that certain parts of the process (e.g., first drafts) are easier for me if I do them on the phone as I don’t overthink as much.

What tips do you have for other authors working on their books?

Every word counts. It’s easy to get daunted by that blank page, and to psyche yourself out (I still do it now!), but start putting one word down at a time and eventually you’ll get there. My first book was written by me setting myself a goal of 200 words a day. I still work to a similar goal now, even though I can generally get more done. It just means that on days where you’re struggling, you can still achieve something, and that something counts every bit as much as the rest.

What was it like working with the Two Birds team?

I love working with Michele because I know exactly what I’m going to get in terms of quality. The clean, structured approach to the edit gives me confidence that the work is taken seriously, and I love the willingness to explain changes/suggestions as it all adds up to helping me improve going forward.

How did you end up choosing to work with us? What is the most helpful tip you can offer to authors looking for the right editor?

A beta reader pointed me in the right direction and it was backed up by recommendations elsewhere. I shopped around to get a number of sample edits, but ultimately, this felt like the best fit.

My biggest tip would be to get a sample edit and trust your gut. I’ve worked with other editors at various stages over the past few years, and it can be extremely stressful when things don’t go well. Look for someone who works well with your style, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Where can authors and readers connect with you, and find your books?

My website is and all my books are listed there, as well as a short story to give a sample of my writing. I’m also on Facebook and Instagram under L.M. Hatchell, and my books are available at any retailer who will have me! 😊

Have questions about the editing process? We’d love to chat with you and help you figure out your next steps. Contact us to set up a free sample edit.

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