Chris Hill and his new novel The Pick-Up Artist

On February 20, 2015

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“Once I have it in my head what I want to write about I tend to plough on doggedly until I reach the end.”

Chris Hill, author of The Pick-Up Artist

I’m delighted to welcome award-winning author Chris Hill to the blog, just as his new novel, The Pick-Up Artist, launches.

“Hi Maria and thanks for inviting me along to your blog!”


What is the Pick-Up Artist about?

It’s basically a romantic comedy, it’s about a shy young man’s attempts to find love with the help of a peculiar online community called the Pick-Up Artists who claim to be able to use psychological techniques to attract women. it’s not giving much away to say it doesn’t go as smoothly for him as he might have hoped. But it’s also about the women he meets who are my favourite characters in the book I would say, they’re rude and funny and don’t take any prisoners.

What inspired you to write it?

My last book Song of the Sea God was literary fiction and quite dark. I wanted to write something which was more fun and more accessible. Something people could enjoy and immerse themselves in without being too serious. So I suppose just the idea of youth and fun and the feeling of endless possibilities you have at the start of your life – that was my inspiration. Next I would say the book is based loosely on people I have known over the years and situations I’ve either been involved in or head about. Though the book is fiction, and the characters are not based on particular people, there is a lot of real life in there.

Did you plot it all out first or just start writing and see where it took you?

I start with an idea and then I write bits and pieces to see how it feels. From there I move to a plot outline which develops and changes as I write. I like to begin with a good idea of where I am going to end up and I plot ahead of myself as I go. But I don’t set out the whole thing, soup to nuts, in great detail before I begin.

How did you fit your writing in around other commitments?

I’m as busy as most people are with a day job and a growing family. But I’ve always written round the day – when I’m working on something I’ll try to fit in an hour every evening, a spell at weekends and so on. I also scribble in notebooks on the bus or wherever I am – it all adds up!

Were you more relaxed writing this book with a successful debut novel Song of the Sea God already under your belt?

It didn’t make a huge amount of difference. Partly because each book is different and a new start. And partly because having been published once doesn’t necessarily mean you will be published again – when you submit your new manuscript to publishers you are still just another item on their slush pile. So in a way it’s like starting from scratch.

Did you hit any blocks with this one?

Not really, I’m a slow starter, but once I have it in my head what I want to write about I tend to plough on doggedly until I reach the end. It’s just getting going which takes me the time, finding an idea which I believe is strong enough for me to dedicate two years of hard work turning it into a finished book.

What has been the most enjoyable part of writing your second novel?

 It’s a fun subject, young love and so on – there are plenty of jokes in it and some big, amusing characters – it was fun to write and I am hoping people will find it fun to read too. Time will tell!

And the least enjoyable?

There are some dark places in this book – there are in anything I write I suppose, maybe that’s just me but I do feel that if I’m not reflecting a little unhappiness as well as joy then I’m not really reflecting reality. Those parts of a book are never enjoyable to write, though they can of course be satisfying.

Is there anything you have learned along the way you’d like to pass on to other aspiring novelists?

It took me a long time to get published – I think dogged determination is an underrated skill. That goes just the same for self-published authors – keeping yourself on the slow road to improvement, to making your work better over time. I’m still on it, it’s a long road! So I would say keep on keeping on, don’t give up and you will get there in the end.
Chris Hill’s latest book The Pick-Up Artist was released in February 2015 by Magic Oxygen Publishing, you can find it on Amazon here
You can find Chris on his website here, on Twitter via @ChilledCh and on Facebook here

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