Action-packed story revolves around identity theft, and one man’s worst day ever

Mother-daughter writing duo move from film to fiction, hint at follow-up

Everyone has bad days. However, John Hancock, the protagonist of Stealing John Hancock by H&A Christensen, has had the worst day of all time.

First, JP’s girlfriend dumped him. As if that wouldn’t be enough to ruin an entire week on its own, JP also found out that his brand-new acting gig was nothing more than a scam. But despite the odds, his day got even worse when he became the victim of an identity theft that led to the police chasing him for a crime he definitely did not commit. Fortunately, The Vindicator, a brilliant hacker, has her own reasons for clearing his name and comes to his aid.

Alie and Hejsa Christensen, a mother-daughter writing duo, have worked together for years in the world of film. Both writers have found the collaborative experience extremely positive, an experience Alie sums up quite well. “We found we complemented each other and, while we brought different skills to the combined effort, we were in sync on almost all character and plot dynamics. It was true synergy and very exciting.”

JP’s action-packed story represents their first foray into literature, and film rights to Stealing John Hancock have already been optioned. In addition, the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) is undertaking a same-day-as-print braille release, with a “how it’s made” video about the braille translation process in the works.

According to Hejsa, the inspiration for this book came from a real-life problem both she and Alie couldn’t believe was real. “The first spark for this story came from a newspaper article we read about a homeowner who discovered the deed for his house had been fraudulently transferred and a huge mortgage taken out against his home without his knowledge,” she says.

“The very idea of stealing a giant immovable object that is the greatest investment most of us could dream of having seemed absurd.”

H&A Christensen
H&A Christensen

From there, the story of JP and his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day was born. But that still meant that they needed to develop the hero of that story.

Hejsa describes JP as “a directionless young adult from a small town who has been striving in a haphazard way to make something of himself. He’s dissatisfied with his mundane life, but doesn’t know how to escape it.”

Alie takes things a step further by clarifying why he is where he is in life. “As JP settles into adulthood, his past haunts him and his need to do something grand in life becomes more urgent in his mind and leads to a recklessness that finds him in his current catastrophic predicament.”

The two aren’t finished with this world they’ve created, although Hejsa says that JP won’t necessarily be part of the equation for a follow-up book. “While JP won’t be in it, another character from Stealing John Hancock might make a cameo appearance.”

But Hejsa also makes it clear that the team dynamic between mother and daughter won’t be changing. “I’m fully aware of how lucky we are to be able to write together.”