Author Spotlight: Hannah Reynolds


© Robbie Fay

June 4, 2021

We are pleased to feature author Hannah Reynolds and her debut YA novel, THE SUMMER OF LOST LETTERS (Razorbill/ PRH), coming out on June 15! Enter to win a copy.

cover design Maggie Edkins

Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for teens.

Hi! My name's Hannah, and I am 1) very messy 2) a stress-baker 3) the fourth-most organized person in the friend group 4) obsessed with fancy dresses I cannot afford 5) a former bookseller and 6) a writer. I write for teens because as a teen (and now), reading books made me so incredibly happy, and I think there's nothing more powerful than making people smile and laugh. I think it's also important for teens to see examples of characters reaching for the stars and getting them; reading about strong, empowered girls and women as a teenager changed my own life for the better.

Congrats on your debut YA novel, The Summer of Lost Letters! Tell us about it and what inspired you.

Thank you! The Summer of Lost Letters is about Abby, a 17-year-old girl who discovers a package of old love letters to her late grandmother. She learns they came from a wealthy man on Nantucket fifty years ago, so she wrangles a summer job working at an island bookstore in order to dig into family secrets. While there, she crosses paths with Noah, the grandson of the man who wrote the letters, who emphatically does not want Abby investigating his family. It's a romantic, banter-filled, beachy romance, featuring mother-daughter relationships, Jewish identity, and lots of books. (And a golden retriever). (And ice cream).

As a teen, I longed for adventure and was fascinated by my family history. I was also absolutely convinced I would never, ever find the kind of love I read about in romance novels. So I set out to write a book about a girl like me - who got everything she wanted. I was also inspired my own family history, and the way the effects of the Holocaust can linger for generations.

Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?

Long and winding! Almost ten years ago, I wrote three adult novels under a penname, Allison Parr. They were about twenty-somethings making their way in New York City, and I worked directly with my publisher, without an agent. Unfortunately, I burned out (writing books while working a demanding day job is hard, no surprise). It took me years to write another book I was proud of: a YA fantasy novel. I signed for it with my agent, but it didn't sell. Next up came The Summer of Lost Letters - which thankfully found a home.

Did you have a playlist or song while writing your book?

Mostly I listen to whatever's on shuffle. I will say, for The Summer of Lost Letters, I listened to an awful lot of Six: The Musical and Taylor Swift. Nothing I like more than women bonding together (especially while wearing fun 16th century dresses).

What projects are you working on now?

I'm currently working on the standalone sequel to The Summer of Lost Letters, about Shira, Noah's cousin. She arrives on Nantucket for Hanukkah, but a winter storm traps the rest of her family on the mainland for the night. She shares a taxi home with her neighbor, who is also her former crush and current nemesis (think Georgiana and Wickham). When they realize his house is out of power, Shira reluctantly agrees to let him stay with her for the night - during which they strike a scandalous bargain!

What advice would you give to your younger self? Is this the same you'd give to aspiring authors?

Be patient and don't take things personally! Also, don't be afraid to advocate for yourself: no one is going to get mad at you for doing so. And no one else is as invested in your success as you are, so fight for it!

And yes, 100%, I think I would give that advice to both aspiring authors, current authors, and my current self!

 What is one thing most people don't know about you?

I can be very shy. I'm pretty extroverted and I love talking to strangers and meeting new people, but I hate talking about my book in public or with people I don't know. I have to write out scripts before I talk to professionals about The Summer of Lost Letters.

One thing everyone does know is that I'm obsessed with chocolate and pizza, which maybe just means I'm real basic.

Where can people find you online?

I'm on twitter as @allison_parr (vestiges of the old pen name), Instagram as @hannahelisawren, and you can find out more about my books and me at

Hannah Reynolds grew up outside of Boston, where she spent most of her childhood and teenage years recommending books to friends, working at a bookstore, and making chocolate desserts. She received her BA in Creative Writing and Archaeology from Ithaca College, which meant she never needed to stop telling romantic stories or playing in the dirt. After living in San Francisco, New York, and Paris, she came back to Massachusetts and now lives in Cambridge.

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  1. Your book sounds fantastic, Hannah! I can’t wait to read it. And the cover is really, really appealing. Congrats!

  2. I am SO excited for this book!
    Megan S.

  3. This book sounds fantastic. Congratulations on your new book!

  4. Congratulations! Your book is already on my wishlist. Love, love the cover!

  5. Nice interview. Sounds like a great story and I love the cover!


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