Liesel Kay Hill is part of a tight-knit family and resides in Northern Utah. She loved to read and write at a young age, and her earliest memories consist of her father sitting in the doorway of her room at night, relating stories of Frodo, Gandalf, and the One Ring of Power. Her mother also read to her every afternoon as a child, sometimes for several hours a day.
Today she is an award-winning author and writes across three genres: fantasy, historical fiction, and crime drama. Her crime drama and historical fiction are under her initials, L.K. Hill, while her scifi and fantasy, including dystopian, are under her full name, Liesel K. Hill. Her awards include several from The League of Utah Writer’s prestigious, annual competition. Her dystopian debut, Persistence of Vision, won the Silver Quill aware in 2013.
What inspires you to write?
Everything! I love stories that explore the human psyche, the human conditions, and the motivations of complex characters. I see stories all over in everyday life. I’m especially inspired by the way people react under harsh, violent, or tragic conditions. I think history is our greatest teacher, and by sharing stories, both historical and contemporary, we can live many lives and learn many lessons that will help us become more transcendent people.
Tell us about your writing process.
I write while sitting on my bed with my laptop. I live with my sister and three-year old niece, so it can be a bit of a juggling act.
I generally write a first draft which centers on action and moving the narrative forward, and then go back and fill in details of description, character quirks, and other plot nuances.
I often use music to set the mood for a scene, but I only listen to it before I begin. When I actually write, I only listen to classical music (when I listen to anything at all) because it gives me the clarity to get through a scene in a linear way and keep details straight.
I am actually becoming very prolific. I put out three books last year and post to put out somewhere between 3 and 5 this year.
I’m definitely more of a plotter than a pantser. If I sit down to write and have no idea where I’m going, I get stuck, so planning and outlining are a big part of my writing. I use and love the Scrivener software to keep me organized.
I do character sketches, but probably not in as much depth as many writers. My sketches are more concerned with HOW to write a character–their quirks, the lens they see the world through, their emotional reactions–than specific things about them like the color of their toothbrush. I find many templates for character sketches to be tedious and unnecessary.
Let’s see. What else? Chocolate! Chocolate is a big part of my writing process. 😀
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Sometimes. In a way, I think I observe their story more than actually talk to them, but I suppose that still means that they speak to me. Just not directly. Every once in a while, if I’m stuck on something, or something just doesn’t feel quite right, I might stand back and ask them how they’d react to a particular situation. I still don’t know that I think of them as speaking directly to me, but I always get the answers I need.
What advice would you give other writers?
Don’t give up! I say this all the time, but it’s worth reiterating. If you have the passion and the drive to do this, if you’re willing to put in the work and constantly learn and grow, you can’t help but succeed eventually. The only difference between a published author and an unpublished one is persistence. Just keep going!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’m a hybrid author. My first book was traditionally published, but about the time it came out, I started blogging and learning a lot about self-publishing. By the time it came to put my second book out, I decided I wanted to do it myself, if for no other reason than to learn that aspect of the industry. There are pros and cons to either route, but I would encourage all up-and-coming authors to explore both. Self-publishing can be scary, but it’s becoming a very dominant part of the publishing world. Not learning all you can about it could cripple you before you truly begin.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think in the next decade or so, self-publishing a first book will be the norm. Authors will have to self-publish first, show that their work is top-notch and that they have some sales under their belts, and only then approach traditional publishers. We’re already seeing this to a certain extent and I think it will become the only thing to do eventually. Not many people want to hear this now, but I think eventually traditional companies won’t even look at newbie authors until they have some proof that they can sell books. That may sound scary, but it’s really not a bad thing. It will weed out the lazy would-be authors, and those who just want a free ride. It will make successful authors experts in their field, which can only be beneficial both to them and to other authors in the industry.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
Crime drama/mystery, fantasy, scifi, dystopian, historical fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print