Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Writers Like Us - Hilary T Smith

A few weeks ago, I posted my review for WILD AWAKE which I loved (oh, Skunk. You love bison, you!). So I was super excited when Hilary T Smith agreed to participate in Writers Like Us. WILD AWAKE is out now!

Her answers are below in bold. Let us know what makes Hilary like you in the comments.

Hilary on Writing

  • I've written 4 manuscripts, and 2 have seen the light of day (if you count a nonfiction book that was published in 2010).
  • My favorite type of scene/character/setting to write is:
    • Scenes where everything is both breaking apart and coming together. 
    • Characters whose experience of reality is intense and peculiar.
    • Settings I can picture precisely—so far, this means I write stories set in cities in which I have lived, although I look forward to creating a completely imaginary setting some day.
  • No matter how long I've been writing, I still have issues with structure. My drafts always start out quite wonky, and it takes INFINITE revision to pull all the pieces together.
  • A typical comment from my critique partner is "the writing is beautiful but why do these 22 subplots not resolve?"
  • The book I wished I wrote is The Edge of the Alphabet, by Janet Frame.

Hilary on Getting Published

  • If my agent really knew how crazy I was, she would find out that my feelings about whatever manuscript I'm working on swing from despair to elation not weekly or monthly, but hourly.
  • When I was querying, I felt like my boyfriend was so overconfident that everything would work out for me that I had to be over-serious and pessimistic to make up for it.
  • The biggest mistake I ever made querying was allowing myself to get stressed at all.
  • The craziest thought I've ever had while being published is "this is a mistake, I should have waited ten years until I was a better writer before publishing a novel" (is this a crazy thought or a sane one? I'm still not sure!)
  • When I got "The Call," my first thought was relief that the "on sub" part was over, followed by paranoia that the deal would fall through.

Hilary on Life Outside Writing

  • If I weren't a writer, I'd probably be a musician. I studied piano for 18 years, and am now beginning lessons in north Indian music.
  • Secretly, I'm terrified of never finding a home. I've been a drifter for several years, and yearn to find a place I really belong.
  • Sometimes, when no one is around, I talk to plants and mushrooms. Nothing too strange, I just say hello and tell them how pretty they are.


  1. My first drafts always start out wonky, too. Wild Awake sounds amazing- I've been dying to have the time to read it. Crossing my fingers that I'll be able to read it before the end of the summer.

    1. It is SUCH a good book. Honestly, well worth bumping up to the top of your TBR pile. Let me know the moment you start reading. :)

  2. "A typical comment from my critique partner is 'the writing is beautiful but why do these 22 subplots not resolve?'"

    I love this. Thank you!

    1. My favorite answer was the one about partner overconfidence. My husband is the exact same way!

  3. Talks to plants and mushrooms?! Ha, how silly. *winks at house plants*
    This is in my TBR pile too. Can't wait!!


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