Today, I’m absolutely delighted to welcome the lovely Gillian Hamer.
Born in the industrial Midlands, Gillian’s heart has always yearned for the wilds of North Wales and the pull of the ocean. A Company Director for twenty years, she has written obsessively for over a decade, predominantly in the crime genre. She has published six full length novels and numerous short stories. After completing a creative writing course, she decided to take her writing to the next level and sought representation. Gill is a columnist for Words with Jam literary magazine, a regular theatre goer and avid reader across genres. She splits her time between Birmingham and a remote cottage on Anglesey where she finds her inspiration and takes long walks on deserted beaches with her Jack Russell, Maysie.
Tell us, Gill. How would you describe yourself as a colour?
I think I’d be a rich, deep purple – with added shimmer! I like to think I’m quite a serious person for the most part, which comes down to being in business for many years, I guess. Someone recently commented on a photo that even when I’m smiling and relaxing I look like a ‘bitch-at-rest’ which I’m assured was a compliment – but I’m not convinced. So, yes a nice shimmery, layered purple – one of my favourite nail varnish colours actually!
I love purple too. Are you a morning person, or a midnight candle burner?
I have really changed with age. I used to hate early mornings with a passion, and even when I started writing about 15 years ago, I could happily open up a document and start writing at 10pm and go onto the early hours and still be up for work. Now, by 11pm I can hardly keep my eyes open. But the benefit is I’m usually up and working by 7am and in the summer months really get to enjoy the quietness and freshness of early mornings.
If you don’t mind me asking, why do you set your books on the island of Anglesey when you live and work in Birmingham, UK?
I think I’ve always been a city girl with a passion for the coast even as a child. My mum and dad both loved North Wales and we had a caravan for many years and toured the coast of Britain but always seemed to settle in Wales. About ten years ago as a family we bought a cottage on Anglesey as we had friends who lived in Holyhead and we’d been visiting for many years. And I think the main attraction for me as a writer is the beauty of the area and the depth of history. That really came across in my first three novels The Charter, Closure and Complicit as I managed to combine historical threads about Anglesey in with the modern day stories. And lastly, Anglesey is the place I go to do my writing. If I didn’t have the cottage, I doubt I would have ever got a book to publishable quality. It relaxes and releases me from the pressures of work and city life.
Sounds perfect, Gill. At bedtime, do you listen to relaxing-so-you-can-sleep sounds or do you prefer something else?
If I’m tired when I go to bed, I like complete silence and I can fall to sleep pretty easily. Otherwise, if my brain won’t shut down or I find I’m just not tired, I’ve started listening to audiobooks. I really love them when I’m driving or cooking or cleaning – but they’re also really nice for helping me drift off to sleep. I set the sleep timer for 30 mins but very rarely get that far!
That’s the trouble with audiobooks, I find. Like bedtime stories when we were children, they send us straight to sleep, hahaha. How did you come to write crime fiction?
Crime fiction was my love from a very early age, down to my mum fetching me Enid Blyton books from the village library each week. Then I moved onto Agatha Christie and can still remember the buzz I got when reading the first one ‘Sparkling Cyanide’. From then I moved into horror for a while, but then got back into reading crime, and also I loved detective series on TV like Morse and Wycliffe so when I started to write I just seemed to naturally follow the crime route!
Would you like to write a different genre?
I would one day like to write historical fiction. There are so many periods of British history that totally fascinate. The Roman era for one, which I touched on in my novel, Complicit. Also the Tudors, I love Hilary Mantel’s interpretation of Cromwell and would to research and write the life story of another similar character of the period. And also I find wartime stories really captivating so would like to retell a story from either the first or second world wars. So, I’m spoiled for choice really and have lots of ideas simmering away.
Wonderful! How do you handle writer’s block?
Writer’s block is something that used to stress me out at one time, but I have now hopefully learned to cope with it. I have realised that when my head is not in writing zone that there is very little point in my sitting at a computer staring at a blank screen. I have to move away and do something else! Long journeys help me in terms of plotting and planning and developing new ideas in my head, and now I don’t sit down to write until the words are bursting to come out!
Good tactic! When crafting the story do you go from beginning to end, or do you jump around writing the scenes that are pushing themselves forward in your brain?
I think I am quite a visual writer, so I would find it very difficult to jump around and write scenes out of order. I try to write the story in the order it occurs, that’s not to say I won’t rewrite some scenes, or even add a separate thread later, but in order for me to keep the pace and tension in the writing, I like to live the story through my characters, and work through the scenes as they do. It also helps for me to avoid plot holes by writing the scenes in order.
I’m like you. What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?
At the moment, I am starting the third book in the Gold Detectives series, and I’m at the early researching and planning stage, which is actually one of my most favourite parts of writing a novel.
Great! Do you have a new book coming out soon or recently released?
False Lights, which is the second book in the Gold Detectives series, is out this month. Ebook released on November 14th and paperback on November 28th.
It looks amazing. Your books are now on my TBR list. So, Gill. How do readers find you?
Here are my Amazon UK Buy Links:
Thanks, Gill. It’s been great chatting with you today.
Thanks for having me, Siobhan!