FEATURE: CAFE AT 46 OLD STREET COVER REVEAL & INTERVIEW WITH HANNAH CAO

Hello friends! We’re so excited and honored to be revealing the cover of Cafe at 46 Old Street by Hannah Cao! We’ve been following along Hannah’s writer journey for a while now, and Cafe at 46 Old Street is one of our most anticipated releases of the year. After all, a new adult romance, with 4 POVs, found family, and a lost and exposed diary? What more could we want! It sounds like the ultimate comfort read! 

Sometimes all you really need is a place to call home.

Hanh arrives in London with nothing but her sketchbook and her journal. She is starry-eyed at the idea of starting a new life in the city of opportunities— where she is no longer forced to sit at Friday dinners with her father’s new wife and kids, and where, on the down-side, she is no longer with her first love.

Winston has always been a little out-of-sync. As if to prove how disappointing he looks next to his Golden brother, he just dropped out of university and, on top of that, was dumped by his girlfriend over text. Living a life of dark espresso without the sugar, he is struggling to find a role in his own life.

Clementine is a quirky rarity, a splash of nosy and a cup of eccentric, destined to be the driving force of her parents’ otherwise sleepy coffee shop — if she doesn’t lose it to the looming competition threatening her eviction.

Alexander grew up unable to fit in, having moved from Italy to London with his overachieving mother at a young age and constantly changing schools. His quiet nature is a curtain to his fears, but his delightful tarts are a reflection of how others feel about him.

From the outside, their lives are simple: they’re a group of an overjoyed newbie, a strictly sober bartender, an exuberant coffee shop owner and a quiet baker trying to find their place in the world. But still waters run deep in the Cafe At 46 Old Street, so when reality comes catching up to them, threatening their routine and crumbling their lofty walls, their lives are changed in the matter of a year.

Will they find their way back home?

Links for Cafe at 46 Old Street: Goodreads 

We were also very lucky to have the opportunity to interview Hannah, and talk to her all about Cafe an 46 Old Street! 

For our tea party guests who are meeting you for the first time, can you tell us a little about yourself, and Cafe at 46 Old Street?

Thank you for giving me this opportunity! I’m Hannah, 24 years old. I have Vietnamese and French roots but I was born and raised in Germany, where I currently live and work as a receptionist by day and a writer by night. I started writing in English mainly because I kept a diary since a young age and didn’t want my parents to snoop and find my secrets – they didn’t understand English back then! I began writing short stories in school, where my English teacher made me take part in English Short Story contests in my town. I fell in love with writing and reading then, and even wrote online. Now, I share my poems online and in my collection SEASHORE, and CAFE AT 46 OLD STREET is actually my debut novel. It is a contemporary novel based in London about an exuberant cafe owner, a newbie in town, a strictly sober bartender and a shy baker trying to find their place in the world, and in their own lives. The book is about found family, expectations and failure, and finding freedom in your growth. I call it a comfort read 🙂

 Cafe at 46 Old Street is told from four different points of views. Which character was most/least like you? Which character was the easiest/hardest to write?

The four characters are Hanh, Winston, Clementine and Alexander. I would say Hanh was most like me because she, too, is of Vietnamese descent. She is not a self-inserted character by any means – her character is very different from mine – but I always wanted my work to represent young Vietnamese women like me, secluded from stereotypes as seen in the media. Clementine was least like me, because her character is quite loud, eccentric and confident; she was someone I rather admired and respected. The easiest character to write was Winston, the strictly sober bartender feeling estranged in his familiar environment, constantly running for nothing. The hardest character to write was Alex, the shy baker who discovers his sexuality as a person who has always merely adapted to other people throughout his life. Writing from these characters’ perspectives honestly made me feel a big deal about all of them, as if they were real people – talk about attachment to fictional characters, especially the ones you crafted yourself for comfort…

It’s been a joy to follow your journey on Twitter! What inspired you to write Cafe at 46 Old Street? How different was the writing process for Cafe at 46 Old Street and Seashore?

Thank you for caring and following my journey! I’m not a big or well-known writer by any means but the support I get online still feels so surreal that I feel like I am, I’m truly so lucky. I used to live a while in London and my favourite place was this one tea shop / cafe in London’s Soho. I loved sitting and people-watching there, I loved the baristas who would chat with me, I loved the atmosphere. I knew I wanted to open my own cafe in the future then, as I sat there and took everything in. I romanticise a lot in life, so when I thought about writing a found family story based in a cafe, I was already in love with the idea of exploring 2 or 4 characters’ lives and how they would end up in a web with each other. Since the cafe brought me so much comfort, I wanted the story to explore real life struggles, represent issues and people which and whose representation I care a lot about and I wanted the story to become a comfort read for other people. For SEASHORE, I collected *poems* I had written over the years, showcasing my growing up, my falling in and out of love with other people, and my journey to self-acceptance. For CAFE AT 46 OLD STREET, I combined my favourite places, crafted characters that I cared for and intended to touch on certain issues that are dear to my heart throughout their journey told in *prose*. There are some epistolary elements in the book, but it is mostly written in third-person and in alternating POVs.

What’s an album that describes your book?

I actually thought very hard about this when I curated a Spotify playlist for it. Can we make the playlist count? 🙂 https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3iFBTrJDJNMYAcILmUOY3K?si=b9e4e0ee13e4484e

Is there a scene, or quote that you’re most proud of?

There are some (mostly) interactions and quotes I felt really proud of when revising. I think one of my favourite realisations reads: “Places changed as much as people changed them, she saw that now.” 

If Cafe at 46 Old Street was a tea party, what would be the theme of the tea party? What flavor of tea would your main characters be? What tea party treat do you think your characters would bring?

It would be a cultural mix party! Since Hanh is Vietnamese, Winston is Half-Japanese, Alexander is Italian and Clementine is British-born. Hanh would be Green tea with lemon, Winston would be Genmaicha (a blend of sencha and brown rice), Clementine a Hibiscus with lychee and Goji berry notes, and Alex would prefer to drink an espresso. Alex and Clementine would bring all of the treats, such as scones, madeleines and nutty tartes, as they like to challenge each other in baking them!

Looking forward to the future a little: what’s your wildest pie-in-the-sky writing dream?

This is making me giddy and irrationally excited! My wildest pie-in-the-sky writing dream is generally to publish a book traditionally and to be able to support myself as a full-time author so that I can travel around Europe and Asia for the sole purpose of ‘research’ for my books.

What kind of message do you want readers to take away from Cafe at 46 Old Street?

Your dream doesn’t have to be something grand. You can find home in more places than you think. The right way to live is to live for yourself, and with open arms. May little things become the big things, may even the rainy days become solace.

Without further ado, here are the beautiful covers:

Paperback Cover design and illustrations © Hannah Cao
Hardback Cover design and illustrations © Hannah Cao

Hannah Cao is the author of the poetry collection SEASHORE and forthcoming New Adult contemporary novel CAFE AT 46 OLD STREET. She’s a passionate advocate for representation in literature and media and a digital content creator for fellow aspiring poets and writers online. 

Hannah is of Vietnamese descent and born and raised in a small town in Germany, where she grew up trilingual in German, English, and Vietnamese, having little to do besides burying her nose in a book or writing into her diary. She was encouraged by her English tutors to keep writing short stories in English and won her first Creative Writing in English Award in her hometown at fifteen years old. 

She graduated from a Dresden college with a BA in International Tourism and Event Management and is currently learning to become a barista. In her spare time, Hannah enjoys reading, cinematography, photography, singing and dancing (badly, and in private intimacy of her flat), and collecting postcards to make her place pretty. She now lives in Dresden, Germany.

Follow Hannah: Website | Instagram | Twitter

How gorgeous are those covers? We’re all super excited for Cafe at 46 Old Street, and hope you are too!

6 thoughts on “FEATURE: CAFE AT 46 OLD STREET COVER REVEAL & INTERVIEW WITH HANNAH CAO

  1. Hi am here again to say thank you for helping me spread the word, this interview is so important to me & made me love my book even more. I’m so excited.

    Like

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