Bella Books author Gerri Hill is here. Woot!
Before jumping to the interview, I wanted to mention the Valentine’s Week sale currently in progress. For more details click on this page.
Now, please welcome Gerri Hill.
Before we begin, thanks so much for stopping by today for a chat.
My pleasure…thanks for having me!
You live in south-central Texas. Has the place influenced your writing?
It has to some extent, but I grew up in this area so it was familiar to me. The setting for Sawmill Springs was based on the area.
Does your love of nature and outdoor activities find their way into your stories?
Most definitely! I love being outside…feeling the sun on my skin, listening to sounds—whether it’s the birds or the sound of the wind—seeing trees and grass. From living in Colorado and growing to love the cool mountains to being in East Texas where the forests are deep and thick, now here where there is more openness, more green…it’s all things that I try to incorporate into my writing, to try to get the reader to see—and hear—what I do. Some people live in cities their whole life and never get to experience “nature” so I hope by reading they can get some sense of what it is I enjoy about the outdoors. Sunrises and sunsets are special to me personally and I try to communicate what I’m seeing—feeling—with words. It’s sometimes difficult to do, to paint the colors of a sunset with only words. It seems so much more vibrant than that.
I heard you’re a birdwatcher. What bird sighting excited you the most and why?
That’s a tough question! And yes, I enjoy watching and identifying birds but it’s a hobby and I’m very much an amateur compared to some. I’ve seen a handful of rare birds…the golden-cheeked warbler, which is endangered and nests only in the Hill Country of central Texas, comes to mind. The whooping crane, also endangered, is a joy to see whenever we go to the Texas coast, where they winter. The first time I got a close-up view of a bald eagle ranks as an exciting moment for me too.
What propelled you to write your first lesbian romance?
Oh, this is a story that some may have already heard. I was living in Colorado in this little cabin up high in the mountains. I like to say I was snowed in and for a Texas gal, it felt like it! This was way back when the Internet was in its infancy and online bookstores didn’t exist. The closet gay or lesbian bookstore was several hours away and it was winter and snowy and cold! I had one lesbian book (Curious Wine) that I’d read so many times, it was nearly falling apart. So I thought…I’ll just write my own book! It was purely for my own entertainment. The story was conceived while walking on trails with the dogs and to this day, I still find a lot of my inspiration by walking out in nature, letting the story and characters come to me as they will, in whatever form or fashion that might be.
You pen romance and murder mystery stories. Do you have a preference and is one harder to craft than the other?
I like them both equally, I suppose, and maybe that’s because I include a romance within the murder mystery. I find romance easier to write most of the time. Murder mystery type stories have much more detail and I find I need to be really focused when writing them. I rarely use an outline so keeping the details fresh in my mind is a must and I try not to take any breaks in writing while in the middle of a murder mystery.
Tell us about your latest release?
The Secret Pond was released in November. It’s a romance that deals with grief and loss. Different for me, as there is a young boy in this one who is a main character and I simply fell in love with Jack! All three main characters have suffered a loss but they grow into their own little family and, to me, the book is filled with so much love, I just wanted to embrace them! I especially enjoyed writing this one and I really missed the characters when I finished it.
My newest book is due out next month, The Locket. It involves an actress, a creepy stalker and a reluctant cop tasked with keeping the actress safe. This book is fast-paced and I hope readers will enjoy it!
You’ve published over thirty novels. Do you have a writing routine or do you wait for your muse?
Number thirty-three will be released in March (The Locket) and I find it hard to believe that it’s been that many! When I had a full-time job, my writing routine was much more structured. I would be up and writing by 4:30 a.m. then shut it down in time for work. Weekend mornings were my main writing time. Even now, I usually only write in the mornings. By noon, I’m spent and just need to get outside! I always intend to take a mini-break between books, two to three weeks, at least, but that isn’t always the case. By the time I am finishing up a book, I usually have another one clamoring to get out. I feel lucky if there’s a week break and sometimes, it’s only a day or two before I’m back in the swing of things.
What story are you working on now?
I’m currently working on Moonlight Avenue. It’s a murder mystery with the main character being a private investigator and not a cop, something different for me. This one is set in Corpus Christi, along the Texas Gulf coast. Should be out in the spring or early summer of 2019.
You enjoy photography. What’s your favorite subject matter and why?
I do enjoy photography, I just don’t get the chance to practice it much anymore. My favorite subject matter is landscapes, especially in Colorado. Second favorite would be our dogs, Casey and Cooper. They don’t cooperate with me most of the time, though!
Your partner has asked you to cook a special meal for her. What would you make?
I do most, if not all of the cooking and I eat a predominantly vegetarian diet about 80% of the time, with the occasional fish or chicken dish once or twice a month. Diane, however, only tolerates my veggie dishes! Hands down, her favorite meal would be a steak on the grill with a baked potato…vegetable not required! Therefore, that would be her “special” meal because it’s not something she gets often.
Thanks so much for chatting today.
THE SECRET POND
Release date: December 8, 2017
Grieving over the loss of her family and feeling like her life is unraveling, Lindsey McDermott quits her job, gets a puppy, and retreats to her grandparents’ home in the Texas Hill Country. She spends her solitary days walking childhood trails and reminiscing, trying to reconcile the conflict within her as she struggles with survivor’s guilt.
After the death of her husband, Hannah Larson needs a change. At the suggestion of her mother-in-law—and against her better judgment—she and her son Jack move to tiny Utopia and into her husband’s grandmother’s house.
When Jack and Lindsey form an unlikely friendship, Hannah reluctantly joins them and the three spend the summer swimming and healing as laughter eventually replaces tears. After Jack goes back to school, Hannah assumes their summer fun is over. Instead, Lindsey continues to come around and now—as they find themselves alone—Hannah realizes just how close they’ve become. Soon, she finds herself struggling with her feelings as their friendship threatens to shift into something much deeper…something she fears she won’t be able to fight. Something she fears she won’t want to fight.
A story of grief and healing…a story of love.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Gerri Hill has thirty-two published works, including the 2017 GCLS winner Paradox and other GCLS winners The Midnight Moon, Devil’s Rock, Hell’s Highway, The Scorpion, Snow Falls, and Partners, the last book in the popular Hunter Series, as well as the 2013 Lambda finalist At Seventeen. Gerri lives in south-central Texas, only a few hours from the Gulf Coast, a place that has inspired many of her books. With her partner, Diane, they share their life with two Australian Shepherd’s—Casey and Cooper—and a couple of furry felines. For more, visit her website at gerrihill.com.
CONNECT WITH GERRI HILL
Thanks so much for stopping by today.
Don’t forget to check out the Valentine’s Week sale.