Name Gavin L. Hill
Where were you born/where did you grow up, did you have an easy childhood?
I was born in Poole, in southern England. I had an interesting childhood. My parents separated when I was three and I went to live with my aunt and uncle. I became very ill when I was five years old and wasn’t expected to live. My school days were horrible. I had terrible learning difficulties and could barely read or write when I left school.
Give some background information about yourself, are you generally an optimistic person or pessimistic?
I am an extremely optimistic person. I work with special needs children in Sweden and I run inspirational groups online. I also work as a motivational speaker, helping others to see through their difficulties. I am co-owner of Sweet Conclusions. Showcasing combined artistic style on the wings of photo and verse, Sweet Conclusions is an exclusive art company. I also run a small children’s theatre in America.
Francis: Tell us your latest news, what are your current projects?
The last book in The Maze series was sent off to Jan Carol Publishing just last week. It is entitled The Tale of the Golden Casket. My first children’s book, ‘A Lesson in the Jungle’ is due out early next year. I have several other books ready and waiting to publish, including: The Rise of Silent Shadow, The Friendview Murders and The Battle of the Numbers. I have a few ideas for new books too, although it is too soon to say very much about them.
Francis: When and why did you begin writing? How does your present day work compare to what you wrote then?
Well, I wasn’t a happy child. I was confused and uncertain of so many things. I had very few friends, hated school, couldn’t keep up with my class mates, was a bit of a rebel, a loaner and to many, a loser. I experimented with way too many substances and ended up homeless. I met somebody though who asked me to write a poem. That poem triggered a chain reaction. I decided to teach myself to read and to write. My writing style has changed over the years. I was fifteen when I began writing the first book in the Maze series. I was forty-two when I dared to send it to a publisher. It was accepted directly.
Francis : What genre do you consider books to be? Have you ever thought of writing in another genre, for example if you wrote a Children’s book, how would it turn out?
The Maze series has been called ski-fi. I think I would call it fantasy/horror though. I have written children’s books and fact books as well. The latter genres are not published as yet, although the children’s book will be real soon. It is a theme, children’s book. I think it important that children learn something important from the book they read.
Francis: Have you ever been flattered by a comparison to a well-known author or by a review?
I have, yes. Some have called me the next Steven King, although obviously it was friends and I am sure they said it to be nice. Who knows…
Francis: What inspired you to write your first book?
As a confused child I created my own world. Within it I was in charge. The Maze series is based on that world.
Francis : Do you have a trademark writing style, what makes your work recognizable?
I have been told that my wordage is somewhat poetic. I love words and I love to play with them, to create unique sentences with beautiful words.
Francis : Do you write short stories? If so how do they differ to your novels?
I don’t actually write short stories. I began one once but it became six books.
Francis: How did you come up with the titles of your books?
The books within the Maze series are: The Maze, The Blood Tree, The Changling, The Watchman, The Power of the Zycon and The Tale of the Golden Casket.
The Maze series is about a maze of worlds, so Maze seemed the perfect name. The Blood Tree is in essence about an apple tree. The Changling is loosely based on me and is about the steady change within a person. The Watchman is about Razaal, who works for the All Powerful and who is the creator of our planet, Father Sky, walker among mankind and the score-keeper of the game of Chance. The Power of the Zycon is about a magic stone that has been lost within the Maze and of which needs to be found if life on earth is to survive. The Tale of the Golden Casket is about a casket with hidden properties, stolen from Sacred Valley and taken to the evil world of Sutton Row.
Francis: Are there any messages in your novels, if so what?
Very much so. Religion has always been of interest to me. Some believe in the Bible and some believe in Darwin’s theories. I wanted to find a way of putting the two together so they complement each other perfectly. Of course, I believe in destiny and the fact that we can always put right to wrong.
Francis: How much of your books are based on reality, how much are based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My books are a dynamic twist reality and fantasy. Within the worlds of the Maze my characters become lost within many historical locationss. They have altered those events though.
Francis : What books have most influenced your life the most? Are some of these books, different to your own genre of writing?
Sadly I have not read that many books. I didn’t read as a child and probably didn’t read a book until I came to Sweden in my early twenties. I have read a few Steven King books.
Francis: Are you sometimes shocked by some of your own writing/ideas?
Very much so. The mind of a writer is somewhat twisted at times. I am happy I keep my ideas within the written world and not within the real world.
Francis: Do you see writing as a career?
Francis : Is there a character in one of your books that really stands out for you? Could he or she be compared to any well-known literature character?
The four main characters in all six books within the Maze series are Eric, Cecilia, Danny and Johanna. I don’t know if any of them can be compared to any well-known literature character, but all four of them are to a degree based on people I know. Danny is more like me. He might have a tough exterior, although inside he is a very emotional person. Looks can deceive.
Francis: Were your parents avid readers, have your family played a part in your writing career? How do they feel about your work?
My parents were not great readers as far as I know. My foster parents are not great readers either. They do have my books though.
Francis: What makes you proud of your books/life as a writer?
One of the first newspaper articles I did came out in Sweden and the headline read: The writer who couldn’t read or write. I am very proud of the fact that I didn’t quit. When people were telling me it was too late, that I had left school and couldn’t teach myself to read and to write, I did. Nothing is impossible. Also the fact that I received a thank you letter from President Obama for sending him an anti-bullying musical, children’s CD that I wrote several years back.
Francis: How do you come up with the initial concept of a book?
I have many author friends who tell me how they plan chapter for chapter. I don’t do that. I cannot really explain how I do it, but if I was to say that I simply begin with a sentence, would that make sense?
Francis: Who is your favorite author and what is it about them that you admire?
I guess my favourite author would have to be Steven King. I have only read a few of his books to my shame, but I loved the way in which he drew me into the story.
Francis: Who designed the covers for your books, were you happy with result?
A Swedish friend designed the cover to The Maze and my publisher designed the covers for the others. Yes, I am very happy with the results.
Francis: What was the hardest part of being a writer?
For me it was finding the time. I became a full-time, single father back in 2000, worked full-time and wrote as much as I possibly could. My son is now nineteen and is without a doubt my finest achievement. If you have the burning desire to write though, you will find it. I had something to say and didn’t sleep more than a few hours a night for many years.
Francis: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just follow your dream. Don’t let anybody tell you, you don’t have what it takes. You are your own god and if you feel that tingle in your blood, then go with the flow. Write as if you will die if you don’t and if a publisher turns you down, pick yourself up, brush yourself off and try somewhere else.
Francis: Other than writing do you have any other interests, do they connect up with your writing?
I am interested in humanity, the history of life and as naïve as it might seem, I believe with all my heart that the day will come when humankind realizes the importance of love and understanding. Perhaps I am a bit of a hippie deep down within.
Francis: Are there any films that have influenced your writing? What kind of films do you like?
I love actions films, comedy films, romance film, horror films; all sorts of films, although not gore films that have no storyline. I loved The Green Mile, cried like a baby the first time I saw it. Return to Cold Mountain caused me to shed a tear too.
Francis: If your books were adapted into being films, which director dead or alive would you want to direct them? Which actors would you like in the films? What would be the overriding mood of the film?
Wow, tough question. I don’t really know. Quentin Tarantino or Steven Spielberg. Wouldn’t that be something. I would like relatively unknown actors. It would be wonderful to have a newby hit the big time through one of my books.
Francis: Do you socialize with other writers or creative people? Do you know any obscure or up and coming authors/or perhaps other creative people who deserve recognition?
I have many online author friends and sometimes I get to socialize with some of them too. Rosie Hartwig is my best friend and PA. She lives in America and has not eaten or taken in fluids over two decades. Her stomach is paralyzed yet she struggles day in and day out to help other people. We run Sweet Conclusions together and she is looking for a publisher for her heart-wrenching story.
There is an author in Pakistan who is a very good friend of mine. Billed in one US newspaper as ‘the bravest woman in Pakistan, ‘Heena Jadav Sunil’ really deserves recognition.
Francis: which theme (for example death, misery, and torture) is most prevalent in your stories?
Well, all three to a degree. There is the flip-side to the coin though. Life, love and passion… happy endings… well…most of the time.
Francis: Which method of death would you choose out of the following
A being ripped apart by lions
B facing a firing squad made up by shadowy figures, who you suspect you have had major altercations with, during the course of your life.
C you find yourself in a hospital, in a country far from home, with doctors and nurses you can’t communicate with, attached to devices that indicate you are in a critical condition. You don’t know how you got to the hospital/country. Death is inevitable however.
None of them appear all that appealing, although if I had to choose I guess I would go for C). At least I am lying down and I have had a great life, so if my number is up, my number is up.
Francis: Do you have a blog/website? Or other important links?