I’m super excited to have Jennifer Hillier on today! She is the author of the psychological thrillers CREEP and FREAK, available now from Simon & Schuster / Gallery Books and Little Brown UK / Sphere. MAGNOLIA is coming in 2014.
I met Jennifer at ThrillerFest last year and was lucky enough to sit in on her panel discussion, Does Sex Sell? (Yes, it does!). She is my kind of gal who writes about dark, twisted people who do dark, twisted things. She will not apologize for this.
Interview with Jennifer Hillier:
Share a quirk about yourself that most folks don’t know.
I may write psychological thrillers, but I am the biggest chicken. So many things scare me, like crossing the road (cars are death machines for wimpy little pedestrians), walking over manholes (because I just know the cover will crack as soon as I step on it), long, steep staircases (remember the end of the movie The Exorcist?), porcelain dolls (they look like dead little girls to me), and clowns (because, HELLO).
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
First, I learned that if I stick to my quota (2,000 words a day), I will absolutely finish. And second, most plot holes and other problems have a way of fixing themselves as I write. Sometimes I’ll stress for days over a plot hole (I don’t outline so I never have a clear cut path for where I’m going) and I’ll find that I’ve dug myself into a hole it doesn’t feel like I can get out of. But, if I’m patient and focus on writing the parts I can see very clearly, the rest of the story usually works itself out.
What are your favorite TV shows?
Dexter, Hannibal, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Modern Family, reruns of Friends.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
People with too many pet peeves. I’m serious. Sometimes I find myself around people who are just really negative, and it’s hard to maintain a positive attitude when you’re around “energy vampires” (as I call them). I’m generally a positive person and I work hard to keep my bitching to a minimum, because it really doesn’t add anything to my life to always be complaining.
If you couldn’t write, what would you do?
WalMart greeter! Just kidding, I might be a little too young for that job. Probably a retail sales associate for Lululemon, if only to get a discount on their clothing (I live in Wunder Unders). I don’t know that I would go back to an office environment. My last “day job” was in 2007, and I worked as a Bursary Specialist for the University of Waterloo. Not only are my skills for that job outdated now, I don’t know if I could sit and stare at numbers all day. Fortunately or unfortunately, I have no backup plan. So this “writing thing” sort of needs to work out, ha.
How do you react to a bad review of your book?
Bad reviews sting, but I can definitely say that they don’t sting nearly as much as they used to. My skin has definitely gotten thicker over the past couple of years (and not necessarily by choice). But here’s the thing. I write fiction, and so by nature what I do is creative and therefore totally subjective. Not everybody is going to love my work, and that’s really okay. I don’t love everything I read, or love every movie I watch, and there are some songs I really don’t like. The problem, for me, is when a reviewer is personally insulting with their bad review. It’s happened to pretty much every writer I know (including me), and it sucks.
If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day, which one would you choose and why?
I would pick my villain, Abby Maddox. She’s beautiful, fierce, and unapologetically psychopathic. Imagine for one day being able to do or say anything you wanted without worrying about the consequences? Without being concerned about what anyone thinks? Yeah, you’re certifiable, but dude. Imagine the freedom.
A member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and the International Association of Crime Writers, Jennifer has always been drawn to dark fiction, even though she’s scared of all things that go bump in the night. Author of the psychological thrillers CREEP and FREAK, available now from Simon & Schuster / Gallery Books and Little Brown UK / Sphere. MAGNOLIA is coming in 2014.
Born and raised in Toronto, she moved to Seattle in 2007, where she spent her first few months on American soil bemoaning her existence and writing her first novel. Now back in the Toronto area, she’s working on her third book and missing the rain of the Pacific Northwest.
Visit her at www.jenniferhillier.org.