Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Interview with Leonard D. Hilley II

What most of us Indie published authors know is that the road to self publishing is a long long struggle.  From that first day of sitting at the computer and tentatively writing Chapter One (or if you have been writing even longer than me, a word processor or typewriter) to seeing our book in print, be it paperback or Kindle the road is a long and at times nothing less than a masochistic dead end.  Then every now and again, you come across a real gem of an author, someone whose dedication and commitment to the muse is as inspiring as the act of writing itself and you remember why you keep writing and keep believing. 

Today it is my pleasure to introduce to you an author who fits that description perfectly.  Leonard D Hilley II holds a B.S. in Biology and a MFA in creative writing. His lifelong love of writing and science has prompted his interest in creating sci-fi and dark fantasy thrillers. He currently resides in the mountains of Kentucky with his wife and two children.  He is the author of Predators of Darkness: Aftermath and Devils' Den which are both only $.99 on Amazon Kindle and will be for a few more months.  But before you follow the link and snatch yourself up such a bargain, let's find out a little bit more about him. 
1)      Tell me a little bit about your latest book?  

Death Valley is the fourth book in my darkness series and due for release in September.  This is probably the most suspenseful book in the series with a few new characters and unforeseen dangers that throw the main characters’ lives into total chaos.  To tell much more would give away too much information, but I’m aiming for a page-turner.

2)      How did you come up with the title? 

The ending of Book 3 (The Game of Pawns) set up the title for the book, but the title, Death’s Valley, has a two-fold meaning.  One character in this novel states: “Everyone dies eventually . . .” And truth be told, even I didn’t see what was going to happen until everything unfolded.  I was engaged with a vivid “Aha!” moment.  Death will come to a few characters, and the heroes are faced with deadly challenges.

3)      When and why did you begin writing? 
Let’s just say that I fell in love with reading books when I was three years old.  I read many books over and over as a child until my mother finally took me to the public library before I went to preschool.  My first grade teacher had a closet full of literature books and let me take one home each day.  I sat on the couch and read them straight through.  By the third grade I had read every book in our elementary library.  But soon, that wasn’t enough.  I couldn’t find stories like I wanted to read, so I began writing my own.  I wrote my first novel when I was eleven years old.  I sketched out my own comics, too.
4)      Do you write in the same genre you like to read? 
Yes.  In 1993 my wife introduced me to Dean R. Koontz’s novels, and immediately my urge to start writing again surfaced.  I’ve been writing ever since.  Like Koontz, my novels are considered cross-genre.

5)      Do you have a specific writing style? 
I like books that have action and an urgency to make you keep turning pages.  I try to instill that into my writing at the end of each chapter or scene.

6)      Do you have a writing schedule? 
I write in the mornings.  Usually 4-5 hours per day, but I plan to expand that soon.
7)      Do you plan your work or just go with it and start with the initial idea? 
I never outline, at least not until after the book is finished.  Then I will make notes as I reread and edit to make certain that subplots get played out and not leave the reader wondering what happened.  The idea behind Predatorsof Darkness: Aftermath came to me in 1996.  The opening sentence popped into my mind as I was trying to go to sleep:  “Dropping a cat from the top of a ten-story office building was not the best way to remain hidden, but it was necessary.”  That was it.  No characters.  No plot.  Just that interesting sentence, from which four novels have spawned.  At this point, I know there will be a fifth book, too.

8)      How do you deal with writer’s block? 
Writer’s block is hard to get when you have several projects going.  Working on something different when you hit a brick wall keeps you working.  Now, a better question is:  “How do you avoid procrastination?” To that, I must say, “Turn off the television, the phone, and plant your tail in your seat and write.  Books don’t write themselves.  If they did, it would be so much easier.”

9)   What are your current projects? 
Currently, I am finishing up Death’s Valley.  I am shopping the screenplay for Predators of Darkness: Aftermath.  I have a YA mystery series that I am developing.  A few short stories.  Entertaining the idea of writing a script for Devils’ Den, too.
10)   Are there any downsides to being a writer? 

Writing is a lonely occupation.  It is you with your computer or notepad waiting for the muse to gift you with prose.

 11)   How do you come up with your characters? 
I have a wicked muse.  She introduces me to new characters and they flesh out on the page.  Sometimes the evil characters are more entertaining.  The best character and most beloved by readers is Morton, the genetically enhanced, talking cat.  One reviewer said, “Morton is Garfield on steroids.”  He has stolen hearts of many.
12)   If you could choose one writer to be your mentor, who would it be? 

Dean R. Koontz

13)   Favourite book? 

The Great Book of Amber by Roger Zelazny.

14)   Favourite/worst book to movie?  The worst adaptation I’ve seen is Stephen King’s novella, The Mist.  The ending is NOT the ending of the book and not what the main character would have done.  But that’s Hollywood.

 15)   What are you reading now? 
The Servants of Twilight by Dean R. Koontz.

16)   Do you have any advice for other writers? 
Read and write.  Practice makes perfect.  The best writing comes from rewriting.

Thanks so much for joining us today!
Leonard also wrote a very interesting peice that makes a detailed account of his journey to indie publishing.  Follow this link to get a great insight into the world of a writer and the difficult path that they tread.  Here is his guest post describing the six-year wait that he endured with Predators of Darkness: Aftermath with Baen Books.

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