At this time of year it is only natural to remember the year that has just ended and look forward to the months ahead. We find ourselves making plans and resolutions that may, ultimately, change our lives forever.
Author of contemporary romance, Georgia Hill, made such a change in 2015 by stepping outside her normal genre and publishing her first historical romance. I’m, therefore, delighted to welcome Georgia to my blog to find out how and why she made the change.
Georgia used to live in London, where she worked in the theatre. Later, she got the bizarre job of teaching road safety to the U.S. navy – in Marble Arch! She now lives in a tiny Herefordshire village, where, she tells me, she scandalises the neighbours by not keeping ‘country hours’ and being unable to make a decent pot of plum jam. Her home is a converted oast house, which she shares with her two beloved spaniels, husband and a ghost called Zoe.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today, Georgia, and not bringing Zoe with you!
I’m delighted to be with you, thank you so much for having me on! Happy New Year!
Happy New Year to you too! The start of a new year is a time for making resolutions, plans or setting goals. Can you share with us your resolutions and plans for 2016?
I didn’t make any resolutions for 2015 so am determined to make some for the forthcoming year. We’re hoping to move house, so relocating is the main goal for 2016. However, we still haven’t decided where we want to go! I need to finish the WIP (work in progress) and return to a book I’ve abandoned. I’d also like to begin the search for an agent and I’m going to self-publish three books for which I’ve just received the rights back. There’s a visit to the Harper Collins headquarters arranged for February and I’m going to be brave and try getting my books into local shops. So, the first few months of 2016 are already mapped out.
It sounds like the coming year is going to be very busy with serious lifestyle and career changes. Just for fun, if you were able to do/achieve anything you like in 2016, no matter how outrageous, what would it be and why?
This question has me stumped! I can think of lots of things I’d like to learn – Italian, how to ballroom dance and I’d love to learn to sing. I really ought to learn how to use my new laptop as I keep putting that off but something outrageous? What I’d really love to do is be able to tell people exactly what I think – just for a day – with no repercussions. That would be fun! Or be able to talk dog language so I know what’s going on in the heads of my two spaniels. I’m pretty sure I know anyway – walkies, food, tummy rubs just about covers their needs. Mine too, come to think about it!
I think my dog, Alfie, would probably say the same things! You have been a successful author of contemporary romance for many years, but in 2015 you had your first historical romance, While I Was Waiting , published. Why did you decide to change subgenres and was it an easy or hard decision to make?
That’s very kind of you! I’ve always written and have been writing seriously for the last ten years but have only been published since 2009, so I still think of myself as a beginner! I wrote novellas while I was working as a teacher as they fitted into the time I had available. I love historical fiction, especially dual narrative – my all-time favourite book is Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine. I wanted to see if I could write in that genre. Although I enjoy writing and reading rom-coms, I knew I had something else to offer. While I Was Waiting evolved over a long time and I poured my heart and soul into it. It’s the book I’m proudest of. I have many other ideas for books in a similar genre, but another novella in the Sequins series is planned too. Writing is like reading; you work on different things at different times. Sometimes you’re in the mood for something short and sassy, sometimes you want a slow-burner or something more serious. I find each genre has its challenges. Nothing is easy to write!
Were there any surprises or difficulties about changing subgenre?
I think I relaxed more! I think historical, dual narrative is more me. I also had to plan more efficiently and develop a more organised way to work. I learned lots during the process of writing While I Was Waiting. Hopefully, that will feed into any future writing.
Were you nervous about how While I Was Waiting would be received by readers who enjoy your contemporary romances?
Very! I considered using another name, or a variation of my author name. However, my editor raised no concerns so While I Was Waiting is published under Georgia Hill. Thankfully, it seems my readers have accepted the change in direction. Thinking about it though, my novellas dealt with serious issues such as bullying, body image, agoraphobia and While I Was Waiting has a lot of humour in it. Maybe they’re not so different after all?
Your first historical romance has received great reviews. Do you have plans to write more or try another sub-genre?
Thank you! As it’s the book of my heart, I’m thrilled and humbled readers love it. The next book is in the same genre; it’s a dual narrative supernatural set on the Jurassic Coast. The one after that has numerous narrative strands, but with a strong supernatural element. The three books should stand together well, although they’re only linked by genre. As for other genres, never say never. I’d love to have a go at children’s fiction or an adult fairy tale.
When a new year starts, many of us think about making changes or trying new things over the coming months, but do not have the courage to do it. From your experience, what advice can you offer others about trying something different to what is expected of you?
I’m possibly the worst person to ask this – I don’t always respond to change easily. I suppose I’d say, have a go. You never know what you can achieve unless you try. And what have you got to lose?
Can you share with us what you are working on at the moment?
I’d love to! It’s the story of recently bereaved Charlie, who travels to Lyme Regis in Dorset to investigate a family scandal. She meets Matt and together they discover her family’s secret and why Charlie is being haunted by the ghost of a Victorian fossil collector – who means her and those she loves great harm.
It sounds intriguing. Thank you for your candid interview, Georgia. Your experience has certainly inspired me to explore other genres, both as a writer and as a reader, and I wish you all the best for your next book.
Thank you for having me on Brenda, I’ve loved talking to you. I hope 2016 brings you all you wish for!
Click on While I Was Waiting to buy the book.