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Fanbase Press Interviews Hannah Nicole Maehrer on the Recent Release of Her Debut Romantasy Novel, ‘Assistant to the Villain,’ with Red Tower Books

The following is an interview with Hannah Nicole Maehrer regarding the recent release of her debut romantasy novel, Assistant to the Villain, through Red Tower Books. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Maehrer about her creative experience in bringing the world and characters to life, how TikTok skits inspired the story, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the release of Assistant to the Villain! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s overall premise, and what was its inspiration?

Hannah Nicole Maehrer: Thank you so much! Assistant to the Villain is a romantic comedy fairytale adventure about a morally gray villain’s office and the slow-burn romance between him and his sunshine assistant. Throughout the novel, Evie (the assistant) and her Villain boss must follow clues to figure out who in the office is betraying The Villain to the heroes of the story. The inspiration came originally from a series of TikTok skits that developed into a plot and storyline about a sunshine assistant who works for a grumpy villain. Many of the characters and the romance developed there first! But I’ve always loved the idea of a story that humanizes villains in a comedic way, especially with a romantic plotline and a character who is their total opposite.

BD: What can you share with us about your creative experience in bringing this story to life and transitioning it from TikTok to the written page?

HNM: Truly the most fun I’ve ever had creatively. Writing this story came very easily from the start because I had been daydreaming of these characters on the page for months while doing the skits. I knew their responses, I knew their wants, hopes, and dreams. So many things that I couldn’t include in the skits (because there’s only so much you can do with just you and an iPhone camera) was finally brought to fruition in writing the story. It felt like the story I was always meant to tell, writing it felt like being home.

BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Evie’s story will connect with and impact readers?

HNM: Evie is special to me because I wrote her when I was discovering new things on my own mental health journey. So many things were being thrown at me at the time, and I feel like I processed a lot of it through Evie. She’s a character that wants to please everyone, but still never feels like she’s doing enough or “the right thing.” Always feeling a little bit on the outside of things when she just desperately wants to be a part of the story. I think we can all relate to that longing for acceptance, but the fear that you’ll never really get there. Her story is about overcoming that and truly learning to accept yourself and lean on those that love you for simply being you.

BD: What makes Red Tower Books the perfect home for this story?

HNM: Red Tower is a new and fresh imprint with all these incredible stories I’m honored for mine to sit beside! I think Assistant to the Villain is different in the way that the comedy is such a central part of the story, it almost reads like a romantic comedy with fairytale adventure weaving throughout. Red Tower is likewise a creative and fun new medium of works, and I think Assistant to the Villain found its perfect home there.

BD: Do you have any plans to expand Evie’s story to subsequent books or other entertainment mediums, if given the opportunity?

HNM: We are continuing her story in two more installments of the Assistant to the Villain series! And thank goodness for that, because I am not ready to say goodbye to her; she’s such a part of me now. I don’t believe I ever will.

BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?

HNM: Book 2 is in the works right now! I’m having even more fun with it which I didn’t think would be possible, but these characters and this story is a constant delightful surprise for my mind and creativity. I’m learning to roll with it and enjoy the heck out of it!

BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Assistant to the Villain and your other work?

HNM: TikTok is where the series and story began, so you can find a ton there under the username @hannahnicolemae. But you can also find compilations of some episodes on YouTube. Eventually, the whole video series will make its way on there, as well. And I frequent Instagram to share lots of news, as well, so follow me there at @hannahnicolemae.

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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