Author Interview: Q & A with Georgia Hill
Why did you start writing? Was there a specific moment where you decided to put pen to paper or words to a screen?
I began writing fanfic on a forum. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but posted a chapter at a time; people seemed to like it so I carried on! I didn’t have a clue about plotting or point of view but wrote by pure instinct. The chapters were put together, rewritten and became my first book. I was lucky enough to be picked up by a small digi-publisher and my writing career was born. I’ve been writing professionally for over ten years now and feel very privileged to be able to do it.
What was your hardest challenge in 2020?
At first the situation filled me with fear of the ‘what ifs’ – what if my 88 year old mother contracts Covid, what if I’m ill? Everything felt very scary. Writing seemed trivial and impossible to concentrate on. I was also halfway through something which was set specifically in 2020. That took some thinking about. I had to scrap it and completely rewrite. Once I’d settled into the ‘new normal,’ however, I became quite productive. Nothing else to do!
The book market has never been so tough as it is now. What advice would you give to aspiring authors to stand out from the crowd?
That’s difficult. If I knew that, I’d do it! Personally, I want to read life-affirming, up-lit and that’s what I want to write too. No part of me wants to write or read about Covid-19 in fiction but everyone’s different and, you never know, dystopian novels or science-fiction might be the next big thing. I think the best advice is to write whatever feels true to you. If you chase what’s on trend, by the time you’ve written the book, the market will have moved on. Write what you want to read.
What was your favourite read in 2020?
The book I absolutely loved was Laura Bambrey’s The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness. It’s about damaged soul Tori and her experiences at The Farm, a wellness retreat in Wales. Tori writes a blog about loneliness and her only friends are those online in a chat forum. It’s a beautifully written book about finding yourself, friendship and finding love. It was exactly what I wanted to read about during the pandemic.
Other than your own, which BLKDOG title would you recommend?
I really enjoyed Lisa Hill’s The Ones That Got Away – a warm-hearted read set in beautiful Cornwall. As I’ve an interest in WW2 I also dipped in and out of Richard Denham’s fascinating Weirder War Two.
A mystery basket turns up on your doorstep. Would you prefer it contained a dog or a cat?
I’m a doggy person. I love cats but they make me sneeze. I’d like to find a puppy in the basket please, preferably fully house-trained, prepared to sleep through the night and knowing all its commands!
Do you have a book in your mind that you know you’ll probably never actually write?
I’d love to write something literary, a book which gets short-listed for awards. I’ll never do it, it’s just not my style. Maybe I should stop using punctuation? It seems the fashion in literary fiction at the moment!
Which famous author do you most admire?
I admire lots of writers – and for a variety of reasons. Jilly Cooper for her breezy style and great puns, Tracy Chevalier for her marriage of history to the present day and Barbara Erskine. Barbara’s first book The Lady of Hay is the reason I write spooky timeslips.
Which book have you read which you feel deserves much more acclaim that it has received?
James Long’s Ferney is a book more people should read. It’s about reincarnation, history and the power of love. I also keep telling people about Phil Rickman’s Merrily books – atmospheric, part supernatural, part crime novels set in the Welsh Marches and full of folklore. Phil writes the most amazing dialogue and creates palpable tension.
One of your books suddenly sells a million copies, how do you react?
What a great question! It’s every writer’s dream, isn’t it? I expect the reality is quite different. I’d love to reach so many readers but I’d find the glare of the accompanying publicity very hard. I’m quite a private person. Having that kind of success must be exposing. Can I sell a million but not do all the interviews please!