This Symposium Saturday I have honour of welcoming author Hamilton Hill Mr Hill has published one book, with another in the series due out next year.
About the author
Tell us a little bit about yourself. (Author Bio)
I live in Perth Western Australia although born in Africa. My background includes exposure to aquatic biology, chemistry and wireless technology. An ardent traveller and philanthropist, I support humanitarian causes and animal welfare with the major focus on endangered species and their habitats. Over the years my pursuits have allowed me to visit four hundred and fifty three cities in fifty one different countries. I’ve lived for an extended period of time in seventeen of these cities. Life experiences included my involvement, in one way or the other, in two different wars and afforded me the materials to tell many a bed-time story and the ability to earn my living spent almost entirely at the keyboard. Recently I’ve been able to turn my hand to Middle Grade novel writing.
What are your hobbies?
Travelling, fundraising, reading, writing reviews (for restaurants & hotels) and MMOrpg.
Which writers inspire you?
I really don’t have a single favorite but the top of the list would include Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Alexandre Dumas, Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Hemingway and Ayan Rand.
For your own reading, do you prefer e-books or paper/hard back books?
What are you reading at present?
“HOW LUCKY AM I?” – a manuscript I’m beta reading for a fellow author.
What is your favourite book and why?
Again, far too many to mention, but I guess by default, it would be Henry V by . I first read this at the tender age of eleven and the mental visions of Agincourt swept me away. I remember recreating the battle scenes in the back yard using builders sand and model soldiers – it took my imagination on a journey like no other. To this very day I still have an impromptu “Upon the King” pop into my head every now and then. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas or The Chronicles of Narnia by would tie for a close second.
What is your favourite film/ series and why?
I honestly don’t have a favourite film or series – there are just far too many good ones. If forced to choose a favourite, then in film I’d opt for The Shawshank Redemption and for series, David Attenborough’s nine part BBC natural history sequence titled ‘Life’.
What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment?
I have a few achievements to choose from, including the key to an American city and a national Australian achievement award, but honestly, what I’m personally most proud of is having a successful marriage.
How do you relax?
I drink Pina Coladas and get caught in the rain.” No, I lie! I spend a few hours raiding in Draenor, or lately, the Broken Isle – and if you know the where, what or the why of that, then you’ll fully understand what I do to relax.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
- Don’t try and convince your family that you are working, they’ll never believe you. Even though sitting at my desk has paid all of the bills since the day we met, my wife still insists that I don’t work; she doesn’t classify tapping on a keyboard work.
- Read, read, read, widely and voraciously.
- Write from your soul, not from what you think your mom, your agent or the marketplace wants you to write.
- Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Writing is a craft that requires both talent and acquired skills. Talent you either have or you don’t, but skills you learn by doing, making mistakes, seeing where you went wrong and then fixing it. (Note: fix it yourself but never edit it yourself – send it out for professional editing.)
- If you CAN’T stand the thought of not writing–then–and only then, think about being a writer. It’s a difficult pathway that is often painful. The vast, vast majority of authors will sell less than 1,000 copies of their book. Also less than 2% of all authors will earn more than $5,000 for their efforts. Very few people make a living as a writer and those of us that do, do so from writing more than a single book and like any job; writing is only part of the whole process.
If your friends could use one word to describe you what would it be?
What made you realise your calling as an author?
I guess that one way or the other; I’ve always been a writer. Writing commercially is the way I’ve earned my living. At the same time I’ve always been a raconteur and so telling stories at parties around campfires or at bedtime came naturally. The progression to author followed, although taking a stab at writing Middle Grade and The Roads of Luhonono, took prompting from my granddaughter.
Where do your ideas come from, what inspires you?
Getting ideas isn’t difficult, everybody has them and they are free. All you have to do is travel around with your eyes and ears open. Somebody or something is bound to stir up the brain cells. Unlike some, I don’t carry a notebook, nor do I desperately look for a pen every time I see or hear something – as Stephen King once said, a notebook is the best tool for recording bad ideas – I agree with him. Hell! Most of the time, when I sit down to write, I have no idea where my protagonists get their gumption except that they search a brain call to find something I’ve seen, heard, read or imagined somewhere along the line, and they are smart enough to collate it into something useful for ‘this’ particular moment in time.
Truly, once you get going, the hard part is not having an idea; it’s developing the bloody thing into a storyline that takes the effort.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It depends on the book and the deadline given to you by the publisher. But on average a 40,000 word plot takes one month to write and one year to rewrite. That includes the ‘cool-down’ periods. (i.e. I wait at least six months before retackling a first draft and anything between six weeks to three months between the second draft and the final polish.) The time table for commercial work is of course much faster.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I work on outlines or plots for commercial work but for my own writing, I prefer to see where the idea takes me. This means I start with the first word and don’t stop writing until I reach the end. Of course I have a general idea of where I want to go but (for me) planning or writing to a plot is too contrived, I prefer my protagonists to have ‘free reign’ and see where they take me.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Probably the polishing, layering and getting it where it needs to be so that it is saleable.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
It’s a spin-up between writing the first draft, which is almost mechanical and the editing of the final draft. Nope! Editing wins – since I always leave that up to someone else – it’s painless!
Do you ever get writer’s Block and if so, how do you deal with it?
Every writer experiences writer’s block at some point. It’s that moment when you blank out and have to call out the National Guard to find your muse. When this happens the maxim is simple, “If you don’t feel like writing, don’t write” but a terrific and fast way to overcome this, is to read. An alternative to reading that works for me is to start writing something else – I usually have several manuscripts going at the same time and changing my project, even if it’s only for a little while it makes all the difference.
What are you working on at the moment?
The Legend of the West Road – Book two of ‘The Roads of Luhonono’ series.
About the books
What genre are your books?
As Hamilton Hill – Upper Middle Grade (for ages 9 – 14)
What book titles have you released so far?
As Hamilton Hill – The Roads of Luhonono – Book 1 – The Legend of The East Road.
Give us an insight into your main character(s). What does he/she do that is so special?
Magdalene is born of Chippewa stock. Her parents came to Luhonono when she was an infant. She thinks she is an ordinary American girl living in Africa until a spirit in the guise of a black leopard invites her to help out at the crossroad. She uses her shamanistic skills, to lead her two friends Peter and Gimbo, into a dimension of Africa that allows the young adventurers to do things that kids don’t normally do.
Tell us a little bit about the book(s)/ series.
It is said that you may leave Africa but Africa never leaves you. Furthermore, tribal belief has it that if your bloodline is African, then upon death, your soul returns to the birth
place of your great ancestors. The kicker is that cultural belief maintains mankind was placed on this earth to look after the planet, and pass safely from the living to the spirit world, Mother Earth demands that an animal legend escorts you from one plane to the next.
So if upon death your ancient ancestry calls you back to Africa and you have no animal legend to guide you through the ‘Mirror Gate’, your soul is effectively stuck at the crossroad between the world of the living and the realm of the dead.
The ‘Legend of the East Road’, is a fantasy adventure that addresses this issue through the eyes of Gimbo, Magdalene and Peter. Their quest is to find the animal legends that will lead lost souls home. The Roads of Luhonono unashamedly uses “F” words – Fact, fiction, fable, fantasy and fun.
Where can we buy it/them?
Bookstores and online
In what formats is your book available?
Paperback (ISBN: 9780994377708)
Ebook & iBook (ISBN: 9780994377715)
Kindle (ASIN: B013XPG18S)
When is your next book due for release?
It’s up to the publisher but October 2017 seems likely.
Book titles and synopsis:
This is a fable set in Africa about an amazing adventure on the East Road. Three young explorers set off to find a mysterious princess. They travel a road that is newly built over mysterious ancient tracks. As they walk, strange things begin to happen. Ancient spirits start speaking to Magdalene and she discovers Luhonono is not what it seems. There are two different planes; one for the living and one for the dead, and a magic gateway to prevent contact between the two. The problem is that the ‘Mirror Gate’ has been disrupted by an evil witchdoctor called MaovuMoja. This means big, big trouble if Mags and her friends don’t fix it. Magdalene discovers that the solution is to find the Legend of the East Road and this sends her, Peter and Gimbo into a hidden world they never knew existed.
Connect with the author:
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/hamiltonhill