1.What got you into writing? Truth is I don’t really know – it seems like I have always done it. Even as a school kid I used to scribble away in the back of old exercise books. I suppose the first thing which drew me to writing was the love of reading. I have always read a lot and am entranced by the magic of books – I suppose I wanted to learn how to do a little bit of that magic myself.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you? I write round the day. I work in PR for the UK children’s health charity WellChild and have a growing family so I’m kept fairly busy but it’s always been important to me to write so I find the time – an hour in the evening, scribbling in a note book on the bus, whatever it takes. I do little and often and then get stuck in more once I’m properly underway with something – it all gets done in the end if you keep at it I find.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? I don’t really get it. Though I am a slow starter – it takes me a couple of years to write a book so I don’t embark on something lightly and I often have false starts which I abandon – but I consider that to be part of the process. The best advice I ever heard was an author who said ‘if I ever suffer writers’ block I lower my standards and carry on.’ That’s what I do. Once you have something on the page you can go back and rewrite it.
4.Are you a plotter/planner when it comes to writing a story? I do plan yes. But it’s a more organic process than just laying out a road map at the start then following it. You start with an idea of your destination and plan as you go along. So I like to have a general idea then I might add to it and embellish it as I work. I sometimes do diagrams too and character sketches – all sorts of things along the way.
5.What was the publishing process like for you,& any advice to aspiring authors? I’ve written three books so far and only found a publisher for one of those. It took me a lot of time and a lot of rejection slips to find a publisher. It’s not easy to find one, there’s lots of competition for their attention. But I got there in the end and Skylight Press who published my book Song of the Sea God have been great and I’m delighted I found a publisher who are the right fit for my book. That’s the key thing I think, finding someone who’s the right fit. I don’t necessarily think it will become easier for me now I’ve been published once, but we will see. The advice I have for people is work hard and keep on keeping on.
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? There have been a few! One was signing the contract with the publisher, another was the first time I saw my book in a bookshop window (I confess I took a photo). The most satisfying thing now is when I come across people on websites and so on who have reviewed or are discussing aspects of my book and I didn’t even know they were doing it. It is as though the book has left me and taken on a life of its own. Their opinions of the book are taking it in directions I didn’t anticipate and that’s a remarkable feeling – it really brings it home for you that you have created something worthwhile.
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish. Song of the Sea God is a book about a man who comes to a small island off the coast of northern England and tries to convince the locals he is a god. In some ways I suppose it’s a book about the nature of religion – what it means to people, how it works. I’d like to think there’s humour in there, particularly in the narrative voice, but it’s quite a dark book as well, it delves into some quite murky places. I’m thrilled by the reaction it’s had so far from readers – people seem to think of it in different ways, it’s dark or comic or lyrical, and so on. That’s great because I was aiming to write something rich and layered and hard to pin down. It’s available on Amazon here and you can read the first few pages to get a feel for it. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Song-Sea-God-Chris-Hill/dp/1908011556/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349468028&sr=1-1
8.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? Entertain the kids basically. I run a bit, play guitar, grow flowers and veg in my garden. But it’s mostly family stuff which is great of course. I don’t plot to become a god or anything like that. I’m refreshingly normal for someone who’s written such a crazy book.
9.If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be & why? Ooh, that’s a good one. I’m going to say Shakespeare – basically because surprisingly little is known about him. There are a handful of written records of his existence, a few contemporary mentions, but basically nothing. And I’d love to know what made him tick, what kind of a person he was.
10.Do you have anything that you want to say to your readers? Well, thank you very much, of course. The joy of social media is that I talk to my readers all the time – often they ask me questions, or interview me, tell me what they think, review my book on Amazon or on websites and blogs. It has changed the game altogether and made the relationship between authors and readers much closer I would say. The thing I would say to them is – please do get in touch and tell me what you thought of Song of the Sea God, I am always fascinated to hear. You can find me on Twitter @ChilledCH or Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/#!/chris.hill.3726 And I have a blog athttp://songoftheseagod.wordpress.com/