Pack Your Bag
This is a new feature here on the blog. Many of you know that I am a travel advisor and often I wonder about people's travel habits. I was looking for a new way to feature authors on the blog and at the same time, learn something a little different, from a different angle. So, with out further ado, the first segment will feature Jill Hannah Anderson, author of The To-Hell-And-Back-Club. 

Tell us a little about your current WIP?

It is book two in The To-Hell-And-Back Club series (don’t ask if there will be a book three as I’ve got a hundred ideas but not a word written down yet!) called Crazy Little Town Called Love. The story is Molly’s, a character from the “Hell Club”, and her story of what drove her to join the club.
Here is a short blurb:

Crazy Little Town Called Love features fellow Hell Club member, Molly O’Brien, and her story. Molly’s cushy life tanks when her long-time boyfriend loses his job and bails on her, along with their underwater-mortgaged home. Selling her designer shoes and purses on eBay can only float her for so long. It’s time to shed the acrylic nails and roll up her sleeves.

She needs a place to live and a new job—and the answer to both may be in a little town called Love. A town where her deceased mother grew up, a town where a woman Molly never met has willed an old General Store and home to Molly’s family...a town with secrets. Molly is embraced by the townspeople, including Jackson, a bossy thorn-in-her-side-turned-fun boyfriend. They introduce her to Love’s uniqueness: bar stool races down snowy hills, fish-house parades, harvest field dances…and it is at one of these get-togethers where Molly is first attacked.

Apparently not everyone is happy to have Molly in town.

What are you currently reading for pleasure?

I have had very little time to read in the past few months, but I try to have one print book and one eBook going at all times, and try to have a few new releases, and older books. I just finished Every Last Lie, by Mary Kubica, am currently reading Lemongrass Hope, by Amy Impellizzeri, and next up is Where the Sweet Bird Sings, by Ella Joy Olsen, Everything We Left Behind, by Kerry Lonsdale, Before I Go, by Colleen Oakley, The Orphan’s Tale, by Pam Jenoff…I could list another twenty in my TBR stack!

What are your absolute “must-have” items to pack for a trip? Do you have a favorite brand of luggage, carry-on, giant purse to count as your one personal item? Are you a Roller or folder?

First of all, I can’t imagine going back to the old luggage without wheels, can you? I’m good with any brand or type of luggage, as long as it has wheels. Next up for me are the updated wheels that turn every which way.

My carry on has to be large enough for my small laptop to type and read on, and plenty of snacks and water. I am a huge snacker and drink so much water that they tested me for diabetes years ago!

I roll up my clothes and tend to go for comfort instead of style. I absolutely have to have my tiny fan for white noise at night, face wipes, and I keep playing cards, clothes pins (to close up my half-eaten snacks!), plenty of lotion, and slippers in my suitcase at all times.

Do you travel for research? If so, what was the best research trip you took?

No research travel…yet. J

Do you enjoy reading books highly focused on destination?

I haven’t really done that, but when I travel to places I’ve read about in a fiction story I think back to book(s) I’ve read that take place there. For example, Dollbaby, by Laura Lane McNeal, which takes place in New Orleans. When my husband and I went to New Orleans last year, I thought back to that book. Same with when I visited plantations in the south, it was sad, yet fascinating, to go through the slave buildings, and thought back to The Kitchen House, by Kathleen Grissom – my favorite book! 

Tell us about one of the best trips you ever took.

I was divorced, working two jobs 60+ hours a week, with two teenage daughters, and really needing a break. My mom asked me to go to Ireland with her. It was tough to take ten days off, but I’m so glad I did! I’m an only daughter, and my mom and I had never gone anywhere alone together, so this trip was long overdue!

We are Irish, my mom still has some relatives there, and although it was a trick for me to drive on the opposite side of the road, and the first day was an adjustment with the time zone, those days with my mom were priceless. Beautiful countryside, and a perfect traveling companion, what more could I have asked for?

Tell us about one of the worst trips you ever took.

Ugh, this is an easy answer! I read this question to my husband and he knew right away what trip I’d mention. We didn’t even have to leave our state of Minnesota to have this god-awful time! I even wrote an article about it for a woman’s magazine I write for.
Our (too-short) summers are hectic. Two years ago, we had a rare three-day weekend free.  He had canoed part of the Mississippi earlier in the summer and it sounded like a fun and relaxing (my one request for the weekend) trip. Unfortunately, we picked the hottest weekend of the summer. And we put our canoe in miles north of our plan, which meant more miles to paddle in the heat. And we couldn’t find our campsite and had to paddle back upstream. And I got heat exhaustion. And we forgot the pump for our air bed.

And the best part? When we reached our destination, we realized we’d left my car keys back at the headwater where our truck was parked!

Tell us 3 places that are on your bucket list to travel to.

Realistically? New York and the New England states. I’ve been to both, but my husband hasn’t. Also the Grand Canyon, and definitely Alaska.
Wish list that probably won’t ever happen? Egypt, Paris, and Africa.

Thank you so much Jill!! 

I asked Jill to provide some pictures from trips she took. She said picture #1 is her trying to conquer her fear of heights as she parasails above Lake Tahoe with her sister-in-law. It didn't work. She's still petrified of heights, but keeps challenging herself. :) Way to go Jill!!

#2 is the beginning of their long weekend canoe trip, early on, when she was still smiling in the record heat!

#3 is a photo from Ireland, the trip she made with her mom.

#4 is Jill and the three girlfriends (who inspired the book!) on one of their endless trips together over the past twenty-five years. This one was a meal on the ocean in Sandwich, Massachusetts.




  1. Thanks so much, Barbara, for hosting me and my book today! I appreciate being the first in your sparkling new blog. :)

    1. These were some fun but challenging questions you answered and I loved what you said & the photos you included. I've gone parasailing w/ my kids in the Bahamas and boy what an invigorating experience. Looking forward to visiting my town's public library & checking you out! ;)
      Stay well,
      Sarah Patt


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

I've been reading, reviewing, and blogging over on Facebook