JENNIFER HILLIER: I TELL LIES FOR A LIVING
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
The Amazon profile of our next guest starts with: “Jennifer Hillier writes about dark, twisted people who do dark, twisted things”. Yes, be prepared for some scary moments in her books that are very well accepted by the readers.
We are happy to speak with Jennifer about her writing.
– Jennifer, what is your book The Butcher about?
– The Butcher is about a notorious serial killer who everybody thought was dead. But he’s not dead. He’s in an old folks’ home, bored, and ready to come out of retirement.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– The Butcher was actually my “trunk novel.” It was the first book I’d ever completed, about eight years ago, but it was terrible and the story was full of holes, and so I put it away. But the characters stuck with me, and about five years and two books later, I knew I could put them in a better story. I didn’t end up using much of the original plot, but the characters and the setting remained the same.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Self-doubt is always my biggest challenge. I always worry that I won’t be able to finish the book, or that the book will be awful. I’ve learned to write my first drafts fast, so I can’t overthink it or talk myself out of finishing the book.
– Tell us something more about your main character Matt? Is he close to someone from your real life?
– Matt is totally a fictional character, although some of his personality traits – his ambition, his selfishness, his passion – are things I recognize in myself.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– It only took me seven weeks to write the first draft of The Butcher, but it took me six months to revise it before I was ready to hand it in to my publisher. From there, I did multiple edits with my editor’s input (for content, copy, and first/second pass pages) over a period of about eight months until the book was published.
– Give us some details about your other books Creep and Freak?
– Creep is about a sex addicted psychology professor who has an affair with her graduate student, who turns out to be a psychopath. I like to joke that it’s not your textbook love story. Freak is the sequel.
– Who are you (Would you describe yourself with few sentences)?
– I’m a full-time writer, a mom to an 11-month-old baby and a 6-year-old cat, and I’m married to the nicest guy I know. I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and I now live in the Seattle area. The only thing I love more than books is chocolate.
– What are your writing habits?
– I write every weekday, Monday to Friday, in the afternoons, for about three hours. I drink tea while I write, and I usually have a lit candle on my desk while I’m working that smells like apple pie. My goal is 2,000 words per day if I’m writing a first draft. If I’m revising, I aim to work on a chapter a day.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of your books?
– I can honestly say that nobody’s ever asked me this before! The truthful answer would be no. I’d love to be more widely read.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– All the usual things, like telling people about it through social media (my blog, Twitter, and Facebook page). Going to conferences like ThrillerFest, Left Coast Crime, and Bouchercon. Networking with other writers. Doing interviews and guest articles and workshops.
– What about your new novel Wonderland and would you unveil something more about it?
– Wonderland is a standalone thriller set in a small-town amusement park. When the new deputy chief of Seaside, Washington discovers that several male teenage employees have gone missing from the park, she uncovers are gruesome secrets about Wonderland’s past that nobody in Seaside wants to talk about.
– Do you remember your first ever experience with Stephen King’s books?
– Definitely. My mom was – and still is – a huge fan of Stephen King, so his books were always laying around when I was a kid. I read Pet Sematary at the age of 11, and it was the most frightened I’d ever been. But I had to admit that it was also really fun to be scared. After that, I read IT, which to this day is still my favorite book of all time.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be? (Don’t forget to answer)
– My question: What’s the best thing about being a novelist? My answer: Getting to make stuff up. Basically, I tell lies for a living.
Take a look at her books: