Tonight we have author, Hilary Thomson, joining us to talk about her book, A Will to Murder, and answer a few questions for us. Check it out.
A Will to Murder is a humorous mystery novel. When wealthy and
eccentric patriarch James Boyle dies a bizarre death, the DA declines
to investigate, convinced the victim died of natural causes. Yet even
the police are stunned when members of the Boyle family gather for the
reading of James' will--and begin to die, one at a time. Only when
long-lost Boyle relative Bradley Smith appears, along with reporter
Eric Maxwell, do the mysterious deaths finally receive a proper
investigation. Even so, no one is prepared for the lunacy that hides
beneath the family's facade.
Who or what inspires your writing?
That's an impossible question to answer. I've read mountains of
books, and the ones I like the most aren't necessarily the same ones
I'm inspired by. Many authors do bits and pieces of the whole
'formula for creating great novels' quite well. Some authors are
witty, some are excellent at plotting, some create memorable
characters, some have a wonderful style, and others are good at
physical descriptions, etc. If I had to pinpoint what I consider to
be the most important part of a story, it would have to be the
characters. Great characters are the foundation of any novel, and I
love to explore their personalities.
When did you know you would be a writer?
The first time I ever wrote a short story, I heard this confident
narrative voice coming out of my pen and said, "Hey, there's a writer
lurking in here."
How long did it take you to write your first novel?
On and off, it took about five years. A Will to Murder isn't my first
novel, but it took nearly as long. I don't believe you do your
writing any favors by trying to force it. You'll produce better work
if you give yourself time to gather plenty of ideas. You won't need
all of them, but you'll
produce a richer work. Under-conceptualization is one of the most
common faults of first novels, and will always kill your book.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Believe it or not, it's coming up with the title. Everything else is
easier, including writing the entire book. My brain balks at trying
to fit hundreds of pages into one short phrase. Doing a blurb is also
hard, because once I've finished a novel, it feels very strange to
tell a micro-version of the story with thousands of details all
shouting inside my head that hey, they're important, too.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Only nagging myself to sit down and do some work. If I'm reluctant to
start, thinking about some aspect of my story usually cajoles my brain
into writing mode.
Have you written any thing else?
Quite a lot, some of which is sitting in my files, and some of which
is (ahem) floating around on the internet under various pseudonyms.
The latter is the more fun and outrageous stuff.
Any advice to aspiring writers?
You need to learn how to be meticulous and detail-oriented, and this
will be tough if it's not a natural part of your personality. Target
each one of your writing weaknesses, and rewrite your book focusing on
improving those particular areas. Be willing to rethink your writing.
If a book/chapter/passage/sentence doesn't work, rethink it until it
does. Can you blend, reposition, cut, summarize, or change narrators
to make your writing work? Being flexible and thinking outside your
mental box are absolute gold in writing. Many authors are wedded to
drafts. Edit the heck out of your work. Have your computer read your
story aloud to you, because it makes your mistakes much more obvious.
Who are your favorite Authors?
There are way too many to list, but the one I admire most is Tolkien
for his world-building, the quality of his plotting, his characters,
and his high seriousness of purpose.
What are your favorite books, or which book has impacted you the most?
The books I enjoyed most during my teens were fantasy and science
fiction. I like being taken to strange times and places. As I've
grown older, I've fallen in love with history, and I'm a sucker for a
What are you currently reading?
Mainly obscure nonfiction from the 1800s via Project Gutenberg and
Google books. Unfortunately, my recreational reading's come to a halt
because I've been writing and editing so much. My spare time has been
spent on internet blogs, because I can squeeze them in while I'm
eating. Blogs have become my magazine reading, as they appear to have
become for many other people.
How do readers find out more about you?
Author Blog The Pongid Press