This is a chance to learn a bit more about Chris Hill, author of The Pick-Up Artist and Song of the Sea God.
About the Author
I started writing . . .
When I was in my early teens I think – just scraps at first then proper short stories and later I moved on to writing novels, two of which I have managed to find a publisher for so far.
What I love most about writing . . .
I’m not sure love is the right word for my relationship with writing – I feel compelled to do it, it’s part of what I am. I don’t know who I’d be if I didn’t write to be honest. I would be a different person that’s for sure.
The toughest thing about writing . . .
I find starting a book difficult, I’m ok once I’ve got going and I just plough on through but beginning the book I find hard. I suppose it’s because it takes me two years to write a novel and I need to know I have something strong enough to make it worth the effort.
The writer I most admire . . .
I would honestly struggle to find just one. I love literature and I’m constantly reading. I admire most writers really – there’s something admirable about creating a book out of nothing I think. It’s like producing a new world.
If I wasn’t a writer, I would be . . .
Like most writers I have a day job. I worked for a lot of years in newspapers as a reporter first and later an editor. Now I work in PR for a children’s health charity in the UK called WellChild, they do fantastic work to help seriously ill children.
Other than writing, I am really good at . . .
I’ve always loved music and when I was younger I was in bands – I still play guitar and have taught my teenage sons to play. I don’t know about really good, but I do enjoy it!
When I am writing, I listen to . . .
Music which fits in with what I’m writing about. Often I compile a soundtrack afterwords. For The Pick-Up Artist, even though it’s a comic novel set in the modern day I found a lot of the music I listened to was old soul and pop music from the sixties – perhaps because those were more innocent times.
As with the question about writers this is a tough one because I love so many. I think the best I can do is give you five great reads at random – these aren’t my favourite books – they are just the first five wonderful books which pop into my head and which I would heartily recommend to everyone!
Housekeeping – Marilynne Robinson
Notes on a Scandal – Zoe Heller
Rabbit, Run – John Updike
Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
Vernon God Little – DBC Pierre
Should be something for everyone there I think! But what about all the literature from round the world I love? and the classics? and the many fabulous authors I’ve missed? This is hopeless!
Again, too tough! I’ll tell you the most recent movie I saw instead. Paddington. It’s a kids’ movie based on the children’s stories about the bear. I watched it with my wife and our teenagers – perhaps surprisingly we all loved it. I regularly travel to London for work and get off the train at Paddington station – they have a statue of him there.
Favorite Sport Team:
Like many British people I love football, what gets called soccer in America. I support Liverpool who don’t seem to win much these days, but we live in hope. They are owned by Americans funnily enough – by Fenway who own the Red Socks.
I love a curry. It’s quite a British thing I think. Do they eat curry much in the US? From what I understand the spicy food of choice there is Mexican isn’t it? I like medium strength curries like Madras – not the really hot ‘endurance test’ ones like Vindaloo, I don’t see the point in that much pain while you are eating.
Modern convenience I can’t live without:
The internet and social media has changed the game for authors entirely. Even ten years ago a writer like myself, who has books out with small press publishers, would have sold just in the area where they lived. Now my books are enjoyed by readers all over the world and that is a fantastic thing.
I wish I could stop . . .
Procrastinating and get on with my next book. Mind you, my latest one was only published a few weeks ago so perhaps I should give myself a break!
Advice to aspiring authors:
I would say – keep on keeping on. Writers invariably face a lot of rejection. I built up a huge pile of rejection slips before I managed to find publishers who wanted my books. But dogged determination got me there in the end. It’s an under-rated skill I think. So just keep writing, keep getting better, writing is a skill which improves with practice.