Friday, June 4, 2010

Interview: Author Sam Hilliard on Book Lover's Inc.

Let's welcome debut Author, Sam Hillard, who has recently released his fist novel called: "The Last Track"

First of all, we'd like welcome you to Book Lovers Inc.!

Sam Hillard: Thanks so much for having me! It’s great to be here.

The Crazy Lover: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sam Hillard: I live outside out of NYC with my girlfriend and an army of four cats. For fun I read, play bass, work out, study martial arts and complain about the government. Six years ago, I started work on The Last Track, which released this Spring.

The Crazy Lover: What's your favorite book at the moment? 

Sam Hillard: Possum Living which is the story of a girl and her dad who lived for years almost entirely off the grid, raising their own food right in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. Fascinating stuff.

The Crazy Lover: What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?
Sam Hillard: Readers enjoy books but their habit rarely encroaches on their living space. Book lovers have rooms stacked with books and a perpetual balance on their, B&N or Borders credit cards.

The Crazy Lover: In which genre would you place your book: The Last Track?
Sam Hillard: It’s both a mystery and a thriller, with the best parts of each (hopefully). The story moves fast and hinges on suspense and cliffhangers—like a thriller. But there’s a case to be made that Mike is a different sort of detective, somewhat in the vein of a classic mystery, though the ending is not one today’s sophisticated readers can unravel by page 12.

The Crazy Lover: What has drawn you into writing a mystery book with a certain paranormal aspect?
Sam Hillard: The paranormal part arose from working out Mike’s back story, and the reason he acts as he does. Without a motivation, I couldn’t finish the book. And in so divining his motivation, I smacked right into the sources of the paranormal aspect of his ability, which first appeared during his childhood and the circumstances of his own abduction. Tracking is the science of observation and empathy and while there are plenty of trackers who get results, there’s something more going on with Mike. The manner in which he perceives some of these details about people (and not just the missing) can not be entirely explained.

The Crazy Lover: Can you tell a little bit about the Mike Brody series?
Sam Hillard: Mike Brody is the man you want, when the one you love is missing. He’s able to tap into the memories and emotional charges left behind by the missing in their tracks and visualize the events that led to their disappearance. The series will follow the adventures of Mike, his ex-wife Jessica and a cast of recurring characters, as he moves from case to case, searching for that mission that will finally heal his childhood wounds.

The Crazy Lover: Was "The Last Track" your first novel? How long did it take to write it?
Sam Hillard: It took six years from initial idea till I was holding the bound copy in my hands, though 90 percent of the writing was done in about two and a half years.

The Crazy Lover: How many books do you have planned in the series?

Sam Hillard: More than a few. Right now, I have ideas for at least seven.

The Crazy Lover: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?
Sam Hillard: For me there is no typical writing day, though my writing sessions usually are late at night or early in the morning. If I feel like writing and have free time, I’ll do so. That might mean writing on vacations, holidays, weekends or right after going out to dinner, but I’ve learned to work with my interest levels, rather than against them. When it doesn’t feel like a job, that’s when the characters take over and time stops mattering.

One thing I’ve also learned, if I don’t feel like writing, there’s usually a reason for it. So I don’t. If that makes for a little more effort in my the next session, so be it. Some writers try to sell novices (in a rather discouraging way) on the notion that writing is real super serious business, and you must hunker down at the keyboard even when you don’t feel like it, because that’s the only way to make deadlines.

While consistency does get results, and obviously deadlines matter, if you are feeling like what you are doing is laborious, honestly, write something else. If it still persists, maybe stop taking yourself so seriously? Writing is an escape for the author as much as the reader, the finished pages are merely a bridge between the two.

As far as pants versus plans, I do tend to plan a lot, like the typical neurotic OCD writer; it’s hard to write thrillers without at least a skeleton outline, but when things start happening on the page, the best laid schemes get in the backseat.

The Crazy Lover: Do you have any plans or ideas for more books or series?

Sam Hillard: Plenty of plans and ideas, though most are for mystery/thrillers, in addition to the adventures of Mike Brody.

The Crazy Lover: What is up next in your schedule?

Sam Hillard: The sequel to The Last Track slated for Holidays 2011.

The Crazy Lover: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions!

Sam Hillard: Thanks so much for having me. May you enjoy a lifetime of great reading!

* excerpt from Interview and Giveaway on Book Lover's Inc site
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