Today I’m honored to have James Hill pop in for a chat. He recently visited with his guest post The Dual Personality of Writers. I was intrigued and asked him if he’d be willing to do an interview. He accepted. I love getting to know authors, especially authors who are as interesting as the characters they write about. Without further ado, here’s James.
- Can you tell us about yourself?
I just turned 57. It’s amazing because I thought I’d be dead by 25. I wasn’t sick or anything, just the crazy life I was living was sure to kill me. I figured if I lived past 25 I would live a very long time. I love to travel and do things that I never done before. I don’t plan my life, I just do things that come to mind and see where it takes me. I been scuba diving, trekked out on the Hawaiian lava flows, and recently visited Egypt (during all that unrest). I was really excited to do the Egypt trip because part of my next book Killer With Three Heads (the second in the series) takes place there. There is so much that you can only experience by being there, the sights, the sounds, and as a writer I really want to be able to bring that to life for my readers. I live each day with no regrets.
- Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes. I wrote poems, songs, short stories, plays, and novels. I started writing as a kid, writing comics. We would buy the weekly Marvel comics and after I read them I would write what I thought would be the next installment in the story. I loved to see how my ideas stacked up against Stan Lee’s. I have so many people and different realities going on in my head that being a writer is the only way to cope with it all. A writer lives one life and a million lifetimes.
- Do you have a favorite genre that you like to read? Write?
I like to write science fiction. I’m very much into science, I had a chemistry set when I was 8 (BTW don’t give an 8 year old a chemistry set, we are only interested in blowing stuff up) and spent a lot of time practicing to be a mad scientist. I also like writing crime fiction. Getting into the head of people who morals are not like others. Anybody can commit a crime but it takes a special type of person to be a criminal.
I like to read horror and science fiction. I love Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe. I like to read stuff that makes you think, what if this really happened? What would the world be like?
- What type of research did you do for your crime novel: Killer with a Heart?
I grew up with gangs and mobsters like those in KWAH, so I didn’t have to research the characters or their background. I did however go to a shooting range and fire several different handguns to get the feel for them. And it was fun. I fired shotguns before but I was never into handguns. My wife calls Killer With A Heart a faction, because she thinks there is more fact than fiction to the story. I guess in some ways that is true, I have been in some crazy situations and they have manifested themselves in KWAH. But the story is still fiction.
- You’ve mentioned in your guest post that you want to write horror in the future. Do you have a story in mind?
I wrote a short story called The Apple Tree, about a jealous husband who wrongfully accuses his wife of having an affair and kills her. He buries her body in their yard under the apple tree and spends the rest of his life being haunted and tortmented by her. I will write a book along those lines, crime and punishment of the supernatural kind.
- What author has inspired you the most?
Stephen King, I probably read more of his works than anybody else’s. Ray Bradbury and Asimov has to come in a close second.
- What’s your favorite thing about New York?
The different cultures. You travel a few blocks and it is like going to a foreign country. I love the food, the music, the women. You learn a lot about the world by the way people talk about their homeland and their ancestry. New York is like a microscopic world all to itself, there is no place like it anywhere. I moved from there to bring my kids up in a less violent atmosphere, but I do miss it.
- What advice would you give to someone who wants to write, but doesn’t know how to begin?
Start short. Start with plots, characters, scenes descriptions. Pick a single topic and write everything you know about it. Save everything you write, it will be useful to you in the future. Do not worry about spelling, grammar, or any of the formalities, just do what is called stream of consciousness writing. Give it some time, a week, a month, and go back and read what you wrote. Then expand it, develope it, let it grow.
Thanks so much!
Killer With A Heart:
Pegasus: A Journey To New Eden:
About J L HILL
A native New Yorker, born and raised in the Bronx, I spent my adolescence years in Fort Apache, the South Bronx 41st precinct during the 60’s. Raised on blues, soul, and rock and roll gave me the heart of a
flower child. Educated by the turmoil of Vietnam, Civil Rights, and the
Sexual Revolution turned me into a gladiator. Realizing the precariousness of life gave me an adventurous outlook to try anything once, and if it did not kill me, maybe twice.
12 years of Catholic education and a couple of years in college spread
between wild drug induce euphoric years, which did not kill me, gave me an unique moral compass that swings in any direction it wants. A scientific mind and a spirit that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough guides my writings. I enjoy traveling to new places and seeing what life has to offer.
I began writing short stories and poetry back in my early years. In my twenties I moved on to novels, but I fell out of love with the whole publishing industry. I worked in the financial industry as a processing clerk and later got a degree in computer programming, my other love. I have a successful career as a software engineer designing, developing and maintaining systems for the government and the private sector. I been programming for nearly forty years in various languages.
With the advantages provided by the expanding and growing self publishing business (print on demand over vanity publishing) and the explosion of social media/internet as a viable means of advertising I have returned to my first love, unleashing the characters in my head. Actually I never stopped writing, now that the kids are grown and my wife realizes that I have little other interest outside the bedroom, and I’m still a hopeless insomniac, I am free to pound out plots. Killer With A Heart is the first in a series for Bulletproof Morris ‘Mojo’ Johnson.
I enjoy writing crime stories and science fiction, with a slant on the dark side of life. Pegasus: A Journey To New Eden answers the question my wife asked me some years ago, “How do I feel about nuclear war?” I told her I was all for it as long as we find someplace else to live. My science fiction deals with the emotional effects of technology. Thirty years ago when a single computer filled an entire room and I was writing games on a monochrome screen I knew two things were certain. Computer games would be big and computers for all the good they can do would put a lot of people out of work.
Married with six kids, eleven grandchildren keeps me on the go.
Now lives in Virginia Beach.