Today we travel to south Wales to chat with Liz Hinds about how Welsh rugby, walking by the sea, a New York cop, playing the piano, burning a boiled egg, limitless energy, and a picnic lunch have to do with her current and past life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a granny living on the edge of the beautiful Gower Peninsula, in south Wales, with Husband and George, the dog. I love reading, writing, chocolate, walking by the sea, and supporting the Welsh rugby team. But most of all I love my seven grandchildren.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
A meeting with a NY cop in a small coffee in Wales. Before that I’d written articles and even had some small success non-fiction writing, but my first ‘proper’ book came when, after having met me about twenty minutes earlier, and knowing nothing about me, Mikey Di Sanza asked me if I’d like to ghost-write his autobiography. From there I progressed to fiction and novel writing.
What are you currently reading?
I’ve just finished The Christmas Train by David Baldacci. I’m writing this in the middle of December, and I’ve just reminded myself that I must go to the library before our next lockdown starts.
Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?
Hm, yes, actually I can tell you that as my most recent book was a secret project! I wrote a book specifically for my eleven-year-old grand-daughter who’d complained because she wasn’t allowed to read my adult fiction (it’s not naughty but has grown-up themes). ‘Please write a book I can read, Granny.’ So I did. In six days I wrote 22,000 words. I spent the next few days designing a cover and getting it ready for publication by Amazon. And all this was done through December so I would be able to give it to her as part of her Christmas present. I just hope she likes it.
Before that, This Year Maybe, my latest novel, which was published on 25th November, was a sequel to my first. Many people (five at least) said they’d love to know what my heroine did next so I answered the call.
Can you play a musical instrument? If not, which instrument would you like to be able to play?
I would love to be able to play the piano. I was sent for lessons as a child – because we had a piano rather than because I wanted to learn – but never practised so we all gave up. Now I think it is such a wonderful skill to have. But actually I would be happy if I could sing. I have a truly dreadful voice. I love to sing but because I am aware of how painful it must be to listen to me I sing very quietly if at all when in company.
Have you ever had any Do It Yourself disasters?
Oh my. I firmly deny that Alison, the heroine of This Year Maybe, bears any resemblance to me however … I have burned a boiled egg, driven around 24-hour supermarkets at 1.00 am on Christmas Eve looking for a turkey, and fallen off my seat while holding a week-old-baby. (Who was perfectly fine I can assure you, unlike me whose knickers had been flashed to half the neighbourhood.)
What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?
I think when the story starts writing itself and taking you down unexpected corridors. Sometimes you find a locked door at the end but the search for the key is always entertaining.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced having to do with writing a book?
To be able to spend more time with my NY cop to get his full story I went to meet him in New York. While Husband spent days wandering around seeing sights I sat in a small hotel room interviewing my subject. His story is one of being saved by Christ and one day Mikey, Husband and I were queuing in Times Square to get last minute returned Broadway tickets. As we stood waiting in this long queue Mikey launched into a very loud story about Daniel in the lion’s den and various biblical prophecies. I should add that Mikey spent a lot of time on street corners with a bull-horn – not that he would have needed it with his voice. Have you ever wanted to shrink into the ground?
Do you journal write or keep a personal diary?
Since about 2007 I’ve been keeping a blog. I had tried previously at various times to write a diary but I could never quite see the point and it quickly faded away. I just want to be read, dahlings!
What do you miss about being a kid?
Nothing. I have reached an age where I am happy to play and bounce and scoot and skip with my grandchildren without worrying what others might think. No, wait, I miss having limitless energy. Yes, that’s all I need now.
If mars or another planet was livable, would you accept a one way ticket there? why or why not?
Definitely not. Same reason I won’t emigrate. Too far from the grandchildren.
Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?
I’ve always been the sort of person that life happens to rather than one that makes it happen. See story above about how I came to ghost-write the story of a NYPD cop. So, yes, I do think things happen for a reason sometimes. I would call the reason God. But sometimes sh*t happens to everyone.
If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?
What do you mean ‘if you could’? George and I have long conversations covering life, the universe, and why he has to wait so long for his dinner. He has yet to explain to me though why he goes out the front door, wanders around to the back door, and barks to be let in there.
Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.
Around the cliffs to my favourite spot, for a picnic lunch – that would be set out for me already so I wouldn’t have to carry it – with bread and cheese and crisps, on a sunny day in Spring. With a soft blanket, a book, and George, to stop anyone bothering me.
It was great to learn more about you, Liz! Sounds like you have fun! Wishing you all the best. – Camilla
Alison and David have been engaged for so long that even Alison’s mother has given up asking when, but it’s second time around for both of them and they’re not in any particular hurry. That said, Alison is beginning to wonder if living with her has put David off the idea of marriage so when he suggests they set a date she is delighted. But that date is six months’ away and a lot can happen in six months – especially if you’re Alison!
‘My son’s been arrested, Great-aunt Millie’s fallen in love, my best friend suspects her husband of having an affair, and I still need to lose weight. How on earth can I think about getting married?’
This Year Maybe, the sequel to This Time Next Year. Through Amazon.
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