Friday, April 25, 2014

Author Q and A: Hillary Manton Lodge

Once upon a time a Rachel took a book the friendly folk at Waterbrook sent her on an airplane and read it in a flash.

It was so unique and it reached out to her and its voice was so compelling and it made her want more. Immediately. Like the best appetizer....

So, obviously, being the squealy author fangirl she is, she was all: NEED TO FACEBOOK THE HECK OUTTA THIS and then she connected to Hillary and now they talk everyday and everyone is happy.

My official review of  A Table by the Window will appear on Novel Crossing at some point. Until then,
Hillary talks to us:

1.) Tell me about your writing process. Do you outline first? Plot? Did you always have three books planned for this series?

I do outline – I’ve gotten in trouble when I don’t, because I’ll get terribly lost and panicky. First, I start with a hand-drawn timeline with lots of squiggly lines and squashy words, and then build out to a bulleted synopsis. However, I always find scenes within scenes within scenes, so no matter how much I outline, I’ll always wind up surprised in some way.

Long ago, in the beginning, Juliette and Neil’s story was a standalone book. But once the plotline with the grandmother came into the picture, it became three books pretty quickly – there’s actually a lot to that subplot. While it’s been overwhelming, sometimes – writing the first book was like writing the longest first act in the world – I really like the space that the story has, over three books, to grow and take root. It feels plotted but not rushed.

2.) What was the most challenging part of the process which brought Table by the Window to our bookshelves?

I worked on some iteration of Table for three years. During that time, my husband and I experience a lot of upheaval – my husband switched jobs, we moved five times, and we were travelling a lot. So while I was writing, I could barely keep my head on straight. It took some serious editing and rewriting to get the whole thing to work cohesively. I learned a lot during that process, about how to decide what to toss and what to keep, about how to make sure the bits I kept really earned their place. I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

3.) What is one thing about publication you wish you had known before your literary adventure began?

Synopses really are your friend. I fought them hard for the longest time, but working without a thorough one while on contract/deadline is just a recipe for disaster. I used to be afraid that it would take the spontaneity out of the text, and it’s not true. Synopses just provide a framework for the spontaneity.

4.) Favourite CBA novel?

No question, Siri Mitchell’s Chateau of Echoes – reread it every year. There are other CBA novels I love, especially some of Lisa Samson’s works like Women’s Intuition and Club Sandwich, but Chateau is the one I reach for over and over. It has everything – food! A castle! A mystery! I appreciate how Freddie isn’t spunky and gorgeous and nice. Instead she’s prickly with a past, pretty but unusual. She knows who she is, and she’s not fighting to make people like her. Into this walks a guy and his dog, and they change each other.

5.) Tell me something about the Mindy Project

I love Mindy! I think my favorite episodes are the ones that reference classic Chick Flicks – like “Harry & Mindy” in Season 1. The throw-away one-liners kill me. And I love how the romantic lead’s named Danny (but that’s some bias showing).


Unknown said...

Chateau of Echoes!! I ADORE that book!

Rissi said...

Great to meet Hillary! Definitely been seeing this book in the blogosphere to it had caught my eye. :)