Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Growing up in a bi-racial blended family in Toronto, I can remember well the shelves of books around the house. More importantly I remember the extensive collection of books on tape. That’s right, books on cassette tapes. I was obsessed. From Harry Potter to Anne Rice, Jurassic Park to Kinsey Millhone, Paisley loved them all. But as a nerd trapped in the body of athlete, basketball is where I dedicated most of my time.
When I was 18, left her hometown to play basketball for the University of Ottawa. I graduated in 2012, and headed to Germany to play professionally. While there, I began to write my first full length novel. In the fall of 2014, I hung up my basketball shoes, and went back to school. I spent a year in college before becoming a personal trainer and CrossFit coach. While still writing, of course.
A couple years later, I realized I wasn’t done with basketball, and started training again. In the fall of 2016, I signed my second professional contract, this time in France. Basketball gave me the freedom to write nearly full time.
In my final year of professional basketball, I published my first novel, Magic Required.
Now, I live in Ottawa, I am still a trainer, and sometimes moonlight as a basketball coach. I have a YouTube channel called HannaH’s Over Invested, and my third novel is coming out on May 4th.
I still listen to audiobooks, though no longer in cassette form, and I still lace up my shoes to play some ball when I can.
What is an issue or topic you are passionate about or would like to see changed?
I can’t remember a time I wasn’t interested in social justice, even if I didn’t have the vocabulary for it when I was younger. I remember reading A Picture Book of Rosa Parks in grade 4. I have also always been very aware of the social inequities women face. These have been issues that I have always been passionate about, and I think they were sparked by my feminist mother, and my black father.
I believe that the fastest way to create large social change right now is through stories. For many people, the Huxtables and the Banks were the first black families in their living room, and Nichelle Nichols, in her role as Lt. Uhura, was the first black scientist they met. The inclusivity of these shows and others such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supergirl, and Star Trek is important not only to the communities they represent, but necessary to those who can learn about and from them.
I hope that with my little-known fantasy novels, I create positive change in media.
In terms of sports, when I was head coaching, it was always with a boys’ team. I acknowledge that there is a need for women to coach women. I know that I would not be a coach if I had not had strong female coaches. I also know that I challenge societal ideals when I walk into the gym with a u17 boys’ team, and that’s important too.
What specific strategies would you like to see parents, coaches, or sport administrators do to improve diversity in sport or progress your cause?
I think it is happening, and I think the scale of change we are all striving for takes time. Right now, the best thing we can all do is self-reflect on our actions and behaviour, acknowledge that we are not perfect, that we will make mistakes, and actively learn.
If you had 25 words worth of advice to share, what would you say?
Be humble enough to learn. Be brave enough to be vulnerable. Be bold enough to stand up for what’s right. Unashamedly be who you are.
A therapist. Find a therapist. And go into looking for one, knowing you’re doing a very brave thing and it won’t always feel easy. Maybe you’ll find the right one in the first try, maybe you won’t. But it’s worth it. Understanding yourself will help you be successful.
Additional Content Created by Hannah
HannaH’s Over Invested
BLOOD, KIN, AND CURSES