2 July 2013

Author Interview: Melissa Hill

Today I am delighted to be welcoming the fabulous Melissa Hill to my blog for an author interview! I recently read and reviewed her latest book, The Guest List which was a fantastic read, and one I highly recommend you add to your 'Summer Reads' pile. After this, Melissa was kind enough to answer my questions, so  my thanks go to her for taking the time to answer my Q&A, and I hope you enjoy it!

Q1. Please tell me about your latest book The Guest List.

It’s a story about a newly-engaged couple who try to plan a simple, no fuss beach wedding that reflects their commitment to each other, but very quickly encounter opposition at every turn from their well-meaning, but interfering families who want them to have a big white wedding at home.

Q2. Shane and Cara are very much in love, but it's their families which are keeping them apart in the book. Was it fun to write such dislikeable characters, and do you ever base your characters on people you know or in the media?

The story of THE GUEST LIST was very loosely based on my own experiences when planning my own wedding many moons ago, as the original intention was to have a beach wedding too. At the time, friends and family were a bit taken aback by the notion of an easy-going approach, and some were very nervous about foreign travel. Though I should point out that none were as mean or indeed conniving as the characters in the story!

Q3. Your books are notorious for their "twists" - how hard is it to write them without making things too obvious, and do you plan it from the start or do the twists sometimes comes as you're writing?

I don’t like to plot too much at the start, as I think this would take all the fun out of the writing process. Instead I tend to begin with an interesting idea and see where it takes me. Seeing the characters and story come alive on the page is the most magical part of the process for me but if a plot twist comes into my head throughout the writing process, then all bets are off and everything needs to change. 13 books in, readers are pretty wise to my red herrings by now and are always trying to second-guess me, so it means I end up having to double and triple bluff which requires considerable mental gymnastics! And doesn’t always work, sadly.

Q4. Your next book A Gift to Remember is due out in October, and is set in New York - not the first time you've set a book here. What is about New York that's made you want to feature it in several books?

I adore the city and every time I visit I find inspiration on every corner.  It is such a vibrant, almost magical place and for me, there is always this wonderful sense that anything can happen. Also the notion that in a city of millions the fate of perfect strangers can collide in a variety of interesting ways is especially alluring for any writer.

Q5. Your book covers are always stunning - your 2013 covers are both gorgeous. How important is a book in this digital day and age what with Kindles, and which of your book covers is your favourite of all?

Covers are hugely important for both physical and digital books as no matter what people say, of course they are judged by their covers. I’ve been very lucky with the designs for all of my books but think that the UK hardback and US trade paperback covers for SOMETHING FROM TIFFANY’S are especially gorgeous.

I’m obsessed with all things Tiffany (which I’m sure will come as a huge surprise, ahem) and was over the moon with the iconic ‘blue box’ design Hodder created for that. And though a totally different approach, the snowy US jacket perfectly reflects the story by evoking a gorgeous Hollywood romantic movie poster.

Q6. You also write crime books with your husband under the pen name Casey Hill - how do you manage to write 2 women's fiction books a year, plus another crime novel?!

As you can probably imagine, there is never a dull moment in our house.

Right from the beginning, Kevin and I worked out a relay system so that while one of us is writing, the other keeps tabs on our three-year-old while also dealing with other publishing-related admin – copyedits, accounting, staying up to date with emails etc. It’s getting harder as our daughter gets older and needs a lot more attention and life can get really hectic when a promotional period for one book coincides with a manuscript deadline for another, which happens quite a bit, but most of the time we manage to work around it. And sacrifice a LOT of sleep.

Q7. Despite the bashing it takes in the media, chick lit seems to be as popular as ever. Are you proud to be one of the genre's most popular and successful authors, and what do you think there is about it that makes women keep wanting to read more?

I’m very proud to be a chicklit author and unashamed to be described as such! I think readers will always seek out good stories which help them temporarily put aside everyday life and get lost in characters and storylines they can relate to. Irrespective of labels or covers which are more of a marketing creation in any case.

Q8. What are you reading at the moment?

An ARC of a novel by a US author called TAMPA, due to be released this summer, and which I’m guessing will raise a few eyebrows due to the rather conversational subject matter! Am only a little of the way in but already suspect that it’s not exactly my cup of tea…

Q9. If a person had never read "chick lit" before, which 3 books/authors would you recommend them to showcase the best of the genre (aside from your own of course!).

I think Sophie Kinsella’s SHOPAHOLIC series, Candace Bushnell’s SEX AND THE CITY or SOMETHING BORROWED by Emily Giffin all give a good overview of the genre and the breadth of themes/tones explored within the genre.

Q10. What is up next for you? 

Kevin and I are just putting finishing touches to the fourth Reilly Steel thriller, and I’m a little of the way into writing book no 14, due out next year.


  1. Melissa Hill is one of my favourite authors, I really enjoyed The Guest List, and looking forward to reading Hidden & A gift to remember.

  2. Great interview, loved the Guest List!