Quickfire Questions with YA author Hilary Freeman

Which writer would you be for a day?

I'd like to be JK Rowling, to see what gaining enormous wealth and fame through writing is really like (as I'm sure it will never happen to me). I'm guessing it's not all it's cracked up to be.

Independent bookshop or Amazon?

Independent bookshop. There aren't enough of them left and they provide a personal service and browsing atmosphere that the web can never hope (and doesn't even try) to match. They care about books and writers. Can I plug my local independent bookshop, the Owl Bookshop in Kentish Town road?

Left on a cliffhanger or told all?

Depends on my mood. I'm the sort of person who googles episode guides to see what happens in future episodes of series not yet broadcast in the UK, and can't help a sneaky peek at the ends of books (I do try to restrain myself). On the other hand, I do like a good cliffhanger - I use them in my books and enjoy reading them. I like being able to use my imagination to figure out what might happen next. Life is a cliffhanger, never neatly wrapped up, so books should be too.

You really must read…

My books? Sorry, I know I can't really say that! Anthony McGowan is a fabulous writer. His books are aimed primarily at teenage boys but they are very well-written, funny and sophisticated.

The children’s book I wish I’d written most is….

The Little Prince. It's my favourite book and appeals as much to the adult me as the child me. It's a universal book in every sense of the word. I even love the illustrations. I also wish I'd written Twilight, so I wouldn't have to worry about paying my mortgage anymore.

I get most excited by…

Seeing the very first copy of my book. After all the hard work, the agonies, the editing, the feeling when you receive it as a proper, published, finished book, with that lovely new book smell, can't be beaten.

I know I have my story when….

It's just there, organically, in my head. It feels like it can't be any other way and that it has always existed.

My biggest tip for a writer is…

Write. Procrastination is your enemy. As is Facebook. If you don't know where to start, don't start at the beginning, start in the middle. Just write a few sentences, whatever springs to mind. Once you have something on paper, a lot of the fear disappears.

An author should never…

Pick their nose? Drop their laptop? Expect to make a proper living?
Forget how fantastic it is to be published, when so many people would love to be?

Favourite desktop snack?

Jelly Belly jelly beans. Pear or cantaloupe flavours.

Favourite work outfit

My dressing gown. I'm ashamed to admit that I don't usually get dressed until the afternoon.

Best thing about my job is…

The flexibility, not having to be in an office from 9-5 with someone else barking orders. And finally being able to be 'me', to express myself in the way I want to.

Email or phone?

Phone. I'm a chatterbox. And I spend all day writing, so would rather talk if I don't have to type.

The hardest part of my job is…

The insecurity and cashflow problems.

If I wasn’t a writer I’d be…

Very miserable.
I'd probably be doing something like counselling. I sometimes wish I'd trained as a doctor (although I wasn't very good at science).

Hilary Freeman is an experienced journalist and agony aunt, working for national newspapers, magazines and websites, as well as on TV and radio. She has been agony aunt for CosmoGirl! and Sky and is currently a relationship adviser for askthesite.org. Her other jobs have included being a leg model and a very bad cleaner. Hilary loves singing karaoke and doodling (her art teacher bought her school exam painting, but she hasn't sold anything since).
Her first novel, Loving Danny, was shortlisted for the Lancashire Children's Book of the Year Award. Her current novel is called Lifted. She lives in Camden Town with her musician husband and the occasional pesky rodent.
Find out more about her at: www.hilaryfreeman.com


Julie P said...

Thank you for sharing your answers with us, Hilary! I'm always fascinated by the lives and preferences of other writers and to know we all worry about similar things.

I'll look out for your books. I don't think being JK Rowling with all that cash is all it's cracked up to be either - much better to be ourselves and follow our own path I feel!

Best wishes


Caroline Green said...

Thanks very much for coming over to Strictly Writing, Hilary!
Best of luck with the new book [which is on my to-read shelf as it happens!]. I'm fascinated by the idea of cantaloupe-flavoured jelly beans.....

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Thanks for coming to Strictly, Hilary. I envy your 'portfolio' lifestyle, even with all its insecurities. All the very best for your new book.

Debs Riccio said...

Great answers, Hilary, thanks for sharing - my husband's always telling me I should be a 'foot model' - which I'm never sure whether to take as a compliment or not. I'm away to your website now to see what else you get up to - lovely to meet you!

Caroline Rance said...

Lovely interview, Hilary. How rare to find a writer who likes using the phone!

Thanks for visiting Strictly, and all the best with the books.

Keith Havers said...

Thanks for the insight.
I shall take a look at your website.

Hilary said...

Thank you all for having me!