My #BeReal guest today is J.C. Hannigan.
She was born with a chronic pain bone disorder called Multiple Hereditary Exostoses and I imagine writing was not only a way to cope with her world but it obviously fueled her passion to bring worlds to life for us.
She writes romance that is full of REAL emotions and it works and it’s beautiful and it feels REAL because it isn’t all perfect and easy.
Love isn’t a Band-Aid, it’s not a cure all. You can be madly in love with someone and your demons can still come out to play. ~J.C. Hannigan
I think it’s natural for humans to feel ashamed or guilty of any bad feelings or thoughts that they may have. It’s why so many people gloss over their lives on social media, posting only the good things, when they’re suffering inside. It’s like they’re ashamed to admit that they aren’t happy, that things aren’t as perfect as they seem on their Facebook timeline. The idea of presenting yourself as anything less than your absolute best is unfathomable.
Generations before us preached that you shouldn’t air your dirty laundry for everyone to see. Every time I hear that sentence, I want to ask…why not? Everyone has dirty laundry, except for maybe people living in nudist communities. Then again, they’re barer to the world than any of us, right?
Embracing the darker side to life, the heavier truths, is hard for a lot of people to do. It’s hard and it’s scary because we know how judgmental others can be. Judging is something that everyone is guilty of doing, to some degree or another. Some are gentler than others about it, while others…less so. We fear the ones with ruthless comments, with words that sharply jab us in our most vulnerable places. And so, we hide. We had our darker truths with glossed over images and forced smiles.
When I started writing novels, I didn’t want to focus on just the good emotions and wonderful things that life has to offer. That’s everywhere I look. I wanted to write about the darker side of life because pretending that it doesn’t exist will not make it go away. I refuse to pacify myself by ignoring the heavy, uncomfortable truths.
Apparently, it’s taboo for someone who writes romance to say that. I’ve been told that romance should be all about happily ever afters and good feels, that I can’t honestly call myself a “romance writer” because of the amount of darkness in my work. I call bullshit. I believe that’s damaging, that it paints a false, unattainable picture to love. That’s not what love is. Love isn’t always perfect; in fact…it’s the most imperfect, unexplainable emotion out there.
I feel like we are constantly presenting the perfect side of love, like a glossed over social media presence, and that a lot of people reading will wither with the thought that they’re doing it wrong. They must be, because their relationships are not paved in gold the same way all these literary relationships are. They must be, because their darkness spills over into their relationships, and love hasn’t healed them the way it has all these popular characters in books.
That’s wrong, though. Love isn’t a Band-Aid, it’s not a cure all. You can be madly in love with someone and your demons can still come out to play. Acknowledging that side of humanity – the raw, broken side of humanity – is important to me because all voices deserve to be heard, all stories deserve to be told. I hope to give my readers a real portrayal of human nature and love and relationships.
Humans are imperfect, and so is love. But we’re all worthy of love.
What does being real mean to you?
To me being real means taking ownership of my thoughts, words, and actions. It means keeping true to myself by acknowledging why I am thinking, speaking or acting the way that I am.
How do you think people see you when they only have an image to go by?
I think people see me as young. Maybe a little bitchy or judgmental (thanks chronic bitchy resting face).
J.C. Hannigan’s love of reading was spawned from a very early age. She inhaled novels with an unquenchable thirst. Eventually, that love of reading turned into a love for writing. She started to pen stories at the tender age of nine while sitting at her white desk, pencil posed over lined paper, writing countless stories about a girl, her best friend, their horses and the adventures they’d have going on trial rides together. Born with a chronic pain bone disorder called Multiple Hereditary Exostoses, she didn’t get to play sports or run amuck like her siblings and peers. Writing kept her company amid a world of surgeries, bad pain days, and isolation.
She started a blog when she was fifteen-years-old, chronicling the challenges of high school, dating, and coping with her chronic pain bone disorder. That blog went on to win a Bloggie for Best Teen Weblog, and J.C.’s ego inflated quite a bit over it (enough to continuously mention it even today).
J.C. currently resides in a small town in Ontario with her husband, their two sons, and two dogs. When she isn’t trying to wrangle kids and dogs, she can be found writing. In addition to writing new adult romance and suspense novels, J.C. writes a blog for the MHE Coalition, discussing the struggles of living with Multiple Hereditary Exostoses. She also contributes to several other websites, including her personal blog, the OCH Literary Society, and she is the content manager for Stigma Fighters Canada. Through her writing, J.C. brings to light awareness of mental health and social challenges. Her writing has been described as edgy, bold, poignant, and raw.
Other hobbies of J.C.’s include hiking, camping, binge-watching shows like Outlander, Game of Thrones, The Vampire Diaries, and The Walking Dead, eating dill pickle chips and daydreaming of traveling around the world. J.C. adores interacting with readers, so don’t hesitate to reach out and say hi! She tries her best to respond to every message. To learn more, visit her on Facebook and follow her personal blog of random ramblings.