Me: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Hils: When I started reading, around the age of 6 or 7.
Me: How long does it take you to write a book?
You: This one took around three months, working one day a week. After that I left it alone for a while, so when I went back to it I had a fresh perspective on it and was able to edit parts of it.
Me: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Hils: I try to work in the mornings, but I live in France. So in the summer that’s the coolest time to work in the garden, so sometimes weed control wins the battle! But I do find that I think about the book while I’m doing other things, so it’s not really wasted time.
Me: Do you intend to keep writing?
Hils: Yes. The investigation team in ‘First Person Singular’ are very vocal in my head, and they have more stories to tell! And my next villain is forming nicely in my imagination.
Me: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Hils: I’m not sure I have one – maybe reading aloud the conversation parts of the book, to ensure they sound realistic?
Me: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Hils: Not a clue! Years of working with, liking, disliking and observing people? And reading, a lot, ever since I learnt to read.
Me: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Hils: That I loved every minute of crafting the book. And that after its publication, waiting to see what people think of it is torture.
Me: You say that a sense of ridiculous informs your world view. Can you give me an example?
Hils: I went bungee jumping once. Which should have been good, but the instructor asked me my weight, and I lied. So, all of the way down, I worried that I was going to kill myself hitting the water, rather than stopping above it. I think life is like that; little things that add up to disaster or delight.
I’ve been writing for most of my professional career, albeit in the factual arena rather than storytelling. It’s always been my ambition to write fiction and so here I am, living in South-West France and dividing my time between building a garden from rubble and stubble and inhabiting and describing the lives of my characters.
I’ve worked across Europe and in the Middle East, with time in bar work, translation, education, pharmaceuticals and the provision of management and leadership support. Underpinning all of my endeavours has been a keen interest in people – who they are and why they are. Studies in leadership and business psychology inform a lot of my thinking, hopefully lightened by a strong sense of the ridiculous…..
My life is made fun, fulfilling and occasionally downright nuts by my husband – my real partner in crime – my children and a group of much-loved and truly unique friends.