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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Author Interview: Halli Lilburn

Today I am pleased to present to you all the twenty-third in a series of Author Interviews. Recently I sat down with the self-confessed lazy Halli Lilburn and our conversation went something like this:

Paul:  I like to start my interviews by asking if you have any writing rituals
Halli:  I have to be alone. It doesn’t work any other way. Mostly it has to be quiet too. I love some good mood music to inspire me, but when I’m actually constructing the sentences, it has to be quiet.

Paul:  What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
Halli:  Young adult because I get to relive my youth without any of the suffering. I mean, I suffer with the characters, but it doesn’t bleed into my responsible, mature adult life. At all. Authors that grab me are Susanne Collins, and James Dashner for world building and fast paced adventure. Hannah Moskowitz, Angie Abdou, for magnetic characters that really get inside my head.

Paul:  If someone had the power to step into your creative mind what would they see?
Halli:  I see my mind as a black tunnel. When I get an idea it’s like a secret passage way open up, but it’s not a polished corridor, it’s a mine shaft that has to be dug out with a pick ax. Sometimes with my bare hands. I have to make it happen.

Paul:  In all the years you’ve been publishing your work, what is the biggest mistake you made that you could share so others can avoid making it?
Halli:  Revising work already under contract without my editor’s permission. They don’t like that. You have to do all the revising BEFORE you send it out. Everything after is done by your editor. And it is best to accommodate them, they know what they are doing and can make you sound really good.

Paul:  How do you find the time to write?
Halli:  It’s one o’clock am right now, as I answer this question. Sleep will be the first thing to go from my schedule. But it’s not always that bad. My kids are in public school all day and I hate house work so that really helps free up my time.

Paul:  What is one thing you hope I do not tell the readers?
Halli:  How lazy I am. How hard it is to come up with new ideas. I struggle to reach my word count ALL the time. How dirty my house is.

Paul:  Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Halli:  I wish I could plot my stories, but I can’t think that fast and the words are already coming out before I figure out how it’s going to end. Maybe the seat of my pants is pretty worn out, but it’s a great way to get a twist ending.

Paul:  What is your most recent book? Tell us a little about it.
Halli:  Shifters is a YA speculative fiction novel about a school meant to advance kids towards their careers faster, but secretly motivated to weed out people with "corrupt" DNA. A group of friends finds out about the conspiracy and use reality shifting to their advantage as they fight for human justice. It’s going to be a trilogy.

Paul:  What inspired you to write this book?
Halli:  So many things! It started as a dream and a project for my kids to have good escapism to read. It evolved into a cry against prejudice and authority. I also like inventing new impossible technology. I wanted a main character who was strong but still fallible as the type of hero I always wanted to be.

Paul:  Do you also write any poetry, non-fiction or short stories?
Halli:  Yup. It’s refreshing and challenging to switch genres. My favorite short ghost story, Aftermath, is in an anthology entitled Spirited by Leap Books. I have a series with entitled The Alternate Parent (under pen name Phyllis Sweetwater and several poems published as well.

Paul:  Do you have any pieces of work that will never see the light of day?
Halli:  My journal, unless I do a lot of tweaking (censoring)

Paul:  Do you enter competitions? Are there any you could recommend?
Halli:  I try not to because I can’t afford it, but there are some I can’t resist like the CBC competitions.

Paul:  How much marketing do you do for your published works or for your ‘brand’?
Halli:  At least an hour a day. I hate marketing, I’m not good at it, but artists don’t realize it is a necessary evil in order to be heard. Some mediocre work becomes famous just because of a good marketing scheme. Some amazing stuff is hidden in obscurity because the artist doesn’t sell themselves. However, that said, over-marketing can make you a really annoying person.

Paul:  What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies or party tricks?
Halli:  Gardening, art, quilting.  Sometimes I even spend time with my family. Ha, that’s not really funny.

Paul: Well, Halli, it was a pleasure to talk with you and I wish you every success for the future.

About Halli Lilburn: Born in Edmonton, AB, Halli Dee Lilburn was a writer from the beginning, but didn’t take notice until her journals overflowed her shelves. She now resides in southern Alberta with her husband and three children and works at the local library.

She has work published in Canada’s History, Canadian Stories, Poetry Quarterly, Seeding the Snow, Grey Sparrow Journal and Spirited ghost stories by Leap Books. Her novel Shifters published through Imajin Books.

She is a gardener, artist, photographer, seamstress, poet, genealogist, and singer. She can pick up spiders, handle the sight of blood, subdue aggressive dogs, make a mean grilled cheese, and keep her sanity. Most of the time.

Halli's Blog: Halli Lilburn
Halli on Twitter: @hallililburn
Halli on Facebook: Halli Lilburn
Halli's latest book: Shifters (Amazon)

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Halli!!! I envy you! (Except on the spider thing) But anyone who can do all that, write and keep her sanity is someone I very much admire!!! Thank you for sharing your work!!!