Author name: Gary D. Hillard
Books: 12.5 so far: Betts’ Best, Betts’ Becoming, Betts’ Belonging, The Buckman Kids, Road Trip, The Fosters of Camp Algonquin, Page of Swords, Alicia and the Queen of the Forest, Kenny and Stan, Cora Jenny, and the Keeper, Anna, Flossy Underoak. Jessica Jett Takes Off is a work in progress, which I hope to have done in early April.
What’s your story and how did you become a writer? I retired at 57 after twenty-two years as a child and family therapist, and eleven years as a school teacher. I had raised four kids, including two girls I adopted out of foster care, and was a foster parent as well. I came away from my work pretty well burned out, and filled with stories, that I thought needed to be told.
How do you balance your work with other demands? Work wins. I’m single, retired, and my youngest child is 22 years old. I don’t even have a dog at this point.
Name one of the happiest moments in your life: A seven-week cross-country tent-camping trip with my two youngest girls. All done in an early 70s Toyota. It’s pretty much their favorite time, too.
What’s your approach to writing? I wait at the end of a dock, and out of the fog, a story-ship appears. When it docks, I climb aboard and explore, taking notes as I go. It’s magic. There is usually about a day or two in between finishing one book and starting on the next.
Could you write in a café with people around? I could, and have. But most of my writing is early in the morning, in my Vermont cabin. Tunes on, coffee or tea, and the story.
Have you ever written dialogue in a second language? Nope. Can’t imagine it.
What’s your favorite book and what are you reading now? Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger, is my long-term favorite. Read it. It’s pretty great. I’m currently reading Invisible Americans, by Jeff Madrick, The Poet’s Corner, edited by John Lithgow, and Sunday’s Children, by Ingmar Bergman. I can do multiple books if only one of them is fiction.
What’s your favorite way to read a book: hardcover, paperback, eReader? I spend about four to six hours each day writing on my MacBook. That’s way more screen time than I would like, so I only read paper.
Do you think print books will always be around? I hope so. Something magic about paper and ink.
Would you ever read a book on your phone? I have a flip phone, without internet connection. No books on there. I have to squint to see the texts.
What’s your go-to device? iPhone, Android or something else? Probably a guitar or a mandolin. If it has to plug in, it would be my turntable, a vintage receiver and JBL speakers. Plus maybe ten feet of vinyl records. Currently listening to Dire Straits.
How long could you go without checking your phone? Days at a time. My kids hate that.
Do you listen to audiobooks? If you do, what do you do while you’re listening? Once or twice, when traveling. I’m kind of a fan of silence these days. Wanting to just sit and think about stuff. I love to drive and see where I am, and think about it.
Do you like using social media to promote yourself and your book? If so, what’s your favorite platform? I’m on Facebook, and pretty much hate it. I used it to stay in touch with my students, who now have kids of their own. I push my books on FB as well, awkwardly, with some success.
Website and social media links: Bear Hill Books, on FB
Awards/special recognition: My kids think I was a pretty good dad. That’s the best one.
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