Monday 16 April 2012

Authors In The Limelight: Jack Hillman

I want to thank and welcome author, Jack Hillman for sharing his personal writing journey with us on my blog today. His book, There Are Giants In This Valley, can be purchased from Musa Publishing, Amazon, and other on-line bookstores.

How long have you been writing, Jack?
A really long time.  My first published piece was in 1969, but I made the mistake of listening to people about “getting a real job” and stopped until about 1990.  Then I got serious about it and my first short story was published in 1992 in a very early electronic magazine.

Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write There Are Giants In This Valley?
We had been having some trouble with skinheads in my local area for several months and I was doing some research on the group and discovered the connection to Norse mythology. It went on from there as I tried to give it a twist.

What sets There Are Giants In This Valley apart from other books in the same genre?
I wrote this for my grandson, who wasn’t old enough to read at the time, because I saw very few books for young male audience members. My intent was to try and recapture the fun I had found myself as a boy with the Lucky Star books by Paul French and the Tom Swift books.

As an author, Jack, what is your writing process?
Usually an idea hits me from one of many sources, and I sit down and see what research I need to do or I begin developing characters. Somewhere during this time I begin writing the story, with breaks for character development or research as needed.  Since I work in the middle of a library (personal) and an armory, I have a lot of inspiration for my works.

How long did it take for you to start and finish There Are Giants In This Valley?
Probably about a year, since I was working a full time job at the time as well as acting as vice president for my local writing group. Toward the end of the project, I met my agent, Cherry Weiner, at a conference and after a few kicks in the right direction she accepted me as a client and pushed me to complete the project.  As well as a second project she wanted at the same time.  We talk and she likes some of my ideas and the next thing you know, I have a deadline to finish a book.

Sounds like you know how to juggle many projects at once! Do you have any advice for other writers, Jack?
Yes, keep writing and keep reading.  The more you write, the better you get.  When I look back at that first short story I had published, I cringe.  It’s not horrible, but I can do much better now.  And keep reading what you want to write, Unless you know what’s already been done, it’s too easy to go back over the same ground. I now teach writing classes and I’m amazed when I talk to green writers about how little they know on the background of their own genres.  You MUST know what came before you or you’ll wind up rewriting the easy stuff and not giving the hard stuff the depth it deserves.

I agree. You better your best! So, what’s next for Jack Hillman the author?
I’m currently working on a YA hard SF project, first book in a series, a hard SF novel for an adult audience and a mystery, also for an adult audience. As well as doing edits for MUSA Publishing on my books.  And still working a full time job on top of all that.  So I’m pretty busy. Luckily, my wife is very supportive of my writing, since she likes to read too.

Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series – If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?
Probably the Jurassic Period.  I want to find out what color dinosaurs really were!  And also find out what happened to the dragons.



  1. Jack it sounds like you book is a real winner for girls and boys. Wishing you the very best of luck with this and all your future projects.

    Lovely interview as always, Sharon.

  2. Good stuff! I agree, boys tend to get shoved aside when it comes to reading. So much romance out there in YA! Glad you're bringing in one for the boys.