My mother was the major influence in forming my homeschooling experience. She was always trying out new things, adding and replacing and experimenting. After the first few years, we mainly settled on Sonlight curriculum. I really enjoyed its emphasis on reading and its scope of the whole world in history. Still, there was no telling from year to year what Mother may have found to try out in language arts or PE or art.
Two other major factors were that I was the oldest in a large family, which lent itself to learning to do a lot of school independently and in partnership with the sister just younger than me, and moving to a community when I was 13 where the public school allowed us to join classes just for music.
How did homeschooling prepare you to write?
In writing assignments, while I was given parameters and specific assignments, I was also given plenty of freedom and was able to enjoy writing. It was never about a word or page count, or regurgitating a book or article in paraphrase. Sometimes I didn't like the assignment ("Comment on a current event? But I don't want to read any of these articles in the newspaper."), but there was always enough leeway to use creativity, and the biggest emphasis was just 'Get it finished.'
What caused you to start writing?
I've always loved reading and stories, and it just seemed natural to try my hand at making my own. Besides that, I have had great encouragers from my youth in family and friends. I am reminded of Dad bringing home information and an entry form on the 'Written and Illustrated By' contest for kids where the winners were published. A family friend helped by typing up the words; Dad sewed the pages together in a cover; the librarian looked it over before I sent it off. I didn't come near winning, but still have that bound copy of Hungry Joshy.
What inspired Should Any Calamity Befall?
One of our assignments in High School was to listen to a set of history tapes. In them was a brief mention of the Tripolitan War, which intrigued me as a whole chapter in history I had never heard of. Later, when I decided to write a historical fiction novel, that event presented itself as an interesting point to start at and a good excuse to do some reading on it.
One might also say Stephen Bly's Nathan T. Riggins series was an inspiration. Growing up, I really enjoyed the humor and adventure in them, and admired the way his character Nathan was just a Christian boy living out his faith, in fellowship with the Lord in an everyday type of way.
Would you give us a synopsis?
It is 1804, and Ezra has just come to Boston for apprenticeship to a merchant. Despite his high intentions, he and the other apprentice, George, just can't seem to stay out of trouble. Even dressing for Sunday is not free from disaster. Their master has finally had enough. He sends them on board his ship the Opulence to learn some discipline. Ezra is mortified, but George is terrified. He has lived near the sea his whole life, and knows the perils of sailing. He prevails on Ezra to enter into a vow to each other that, come what may, they will come to each other's rescue should any calamity befall. And plenty of calamities lie ahead: storm, squid, and disgruntled shipmates to name a few. As he gets farther and farther from home, Ezra strives to do right in the face of every difficulty. But the closer they draw to their destination, the Mediterranean, the closer they draw where Rais Majid and his pitiless corsairs prowl the the waters. Through it all, Ezra must lean on God.
Who will enjoy Should Any Calamity Befall?
If rollicking misadventures catch your fancy, if you enjoy characters whose camaraderie is touched with humor and occasional wrangling, if you yearn for cleaner adventures in the Young Adult section, this is for you.
Where can people buy your book?
It should be available through Barnes and Noble as well as Amazon. You could find links to buy it at ambassador-international.com. Or you could try my website, hannahchristensen.net.
Do you plan to write more books?
I hope to. I'm a slow finisher, so it's hard right now to know what will come to fruition. Two stories I hope to try my hand at eventually are a princess trying to raise allies to defend her dowry land, and a band of warriors defending their city and country with inspiration drawn from Robin Hood and King David's mighty men.
Where can people connect with you online?
The best place I have right now is my website, Octopencil, at the address hannahchristensen.net.
Any final thoughts?
May Jesus Christ be glorified.