Hannah E. Rials 

ABOUT ME I was actually 12 years old when I started Ascension. I woke up from a dream with the idea of writing about a community of vampires. It was around the time when the whole Twilight series was hot and binge reading the series was a “thing.” I read the whole series in a week and that is where the idea of vampires got in my head along with similar books like Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. All of this inspiration prompted me to pick up a pen and begin writing my own book. ​ Needless to say, Ascension evolved quite a bit over the years and took on new forms as I wrote it. As I look at the final book, I marvel at how the book grew up with me. Ascension may be my first book, but it is certainly not my last! Currently I am a creative writing student at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I am part of the Honors College there and have even started a creative writing club there. ​ I love my family and they mean everything to me. I feel super blessed that I have the parents that I have. My parents, Tim and Becky Rials, are my biggest supporters and cheerleaders. As a family we are also one of those “Crazy Corgi People” and we adore our two Welsh Corgis, Buddy and Noel. Along the way I have had many amazing mentors who have motivated me and kept me on track. Pam Hix has helped me develop and edit Ascension for the last six years and she is like family to me. She can get as emotional about this book as I can. Children’s book author and publisher, Valarie Budayr, has been another strong mentor and influencer during this whole process and her opinion and encouragement means the world to me. ​ I am also Christian who loves God and many people don’t understand that, as a writer, you can still be a fantasy/vampire writer and still maintain your Faith. I’ve gotten a lot of pushback from people who think that being a fantasy writer and being a good Christian is not possible. I plan to show them otherwise. :) ​ If I was to give advice to anyone dreaming of writing their own book, I would tell them that persistence is key. Writing a novel is the hardest thing I have ever done and the degree of difficulty is pretty high. But it is totally possible too! It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and you have to be determined to keep going even through the murky parts of the creative process. Create stories that you don’t want to let go of and ones you are willing to see all the way through to the publishing process. And in the moments when you lose sight of the end of the rainbow and you feel like everything you’ve written is any good, you can’t give up. I feel like I am living proof that dreams do come true. Write on.
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