Monday, September 5, 2011

13 Questions with...A.R. Hill

1. You’re hosting a dinner party. What is the menu, and do you cook it yourself, or do you call a caterer?
Well, both the Spouse and I like to cook, so we’ll definitely cook it ourselves. Most likely either o-nabe (Japanese hotpot with meat and vegetables) or sukiyaki (Japanese pan-fried meat and vegetables with sauce). Both of these are cooked at the table, so we chop, arrange everything and make the sauces, and then the guests select what they would like to eat themselves. Boiled rice and homemade miso soup get served on the side with Japanese pickles, and of course green tea and Ramune soda. For dessert, either green tea ice cream or green tea cake. Both sound weird but are delicious – and the last time I served green tea cake, I kid you not, my guests fought over who got to have the last slice.

2. What is your beverage of choice?
Real tea, in all its forms. Though not herbal tea, that’s something I take when I’m sick and it’s not technically tea anyway, it’s an infusion.

3. Physical book Vs an E-Reader. Your preference and why?
Real book. I have trouble staring at computer screens (probably because I do it so much), so a real book is just easier on my eyes. They smell good, too, and look good on a bookshelf when you’re not reading them.

4. What kinds of books make up your personal library?
Horror, fantasy, table-top RPGs and reference books. Lots and lots of reference books. Especially ones on art, mythology and vampires.

5. How and when did you catch the writing bug?
When I was twelve, I wrote a book to impress someone I had a crush on at school. The crush, and the story associated with it, never went anywhere but I found a lasting romance with writing.

6. What is your writing routine?
Me, routine? I try to squeeze as much writing in as I can between my official duties and house chores. I also try to work in some reading every day, keeps me fresh.

7. If you ever encounter writer’s block, what steps do you take to get past it?
Writer’s block has been a personal demon of mine for the last four or five years. The best thing to do is to force yourself to write, as much as you can, even if it’s on an unrelated project. Then when you can’t stand it anymore, go do something else. Then repeat. I paint or draw pictures of my characters to help me think about them. Read a lot too, and don’t give up. It can last a long time and you’ve just got to fight through it. 

8. Do you have a hidden talent?
Performance arts. I can play a few musical instruments and sing, and in the past I’ve been part of a few acting troupes.

9. What was your best subject in school?
Oddly enough, chemistry.

10. As in any entertainment, there are current trends. How much do these “current trends” influence what you write?
Not all that much. I don’t watch TV and I tend to choose my books based on how I’m feeling at the time. I’ve always been sort of a loner, doing my own thing.

11. Mac or PC?
PC. I can use a Mac but I don’t like to, and they’re harder on my wallet. Plus, the Spouse can build and repair PC’s, which saves me a fortune in tech support.

12. Where do your ideas come from?
I am frequently subject to nightmares, so that has a big influence. I also get a lot of inspiration from gaming sessions with friends and sometimes random things I encounter while out and about.

13. What advice would you pass on to an aspiring author?
Write all you can, every single idea that pops into your brain. If you can draw, draw your characters or the scenes you see in your head. I’ve got stuff I made note of when I was eleven that is just now shaping up into an idea for a cool story, so file it all away. Keep going, no matter what anyone says to you. I got told in college by a random student that I was “obviously not a writer”, so you can’t listen to the naysayers. Just keep plugging away and you will start turning out gems.

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