Thursday, May 17, 2007

Writing, painting and archaeology

Today we are chatting to N.D. Hansen-Hill, a prolific writer and artist. She's written 28 novels and completed 500 paintings (working with acrylic and oils as well as cement to create texture)... all that while raising a family of 4.

1. Norah, you've recently heard that *The Hollowing*, is going to be contracted by Cerridwen Press. Tell us about the book.

The Hollowing's about a man with an unusual paranormal problem. As a kid, he wasn't nearly as terrified of the dark as he was of the dark patch which would appear in his room at night and threaten to swallow him up. As his life goes mad, Shawn Walsh is desperate to figure out why.

He should actually be looking at when.

The blurb:
Shawn Walsh's problems don't arise from his own troubled past...but from someone else's. His perception is off, because he's working within a time frame which has no relevance to him, or his present.
Unfortunately, his problems have everything to do with his family and his rather questionable heritage.
He refuses to give up hope. There is still a chance he'll be able to resolve his issues without dying, given the right place...
...and enough time.

2. Is that your first book with Cerridwen Press?

Gilded Folly was my first book with CP. It was published a little over a year ago and will be released in paperback soon. Gilded Folly's a story of lost royals from another dimension who no longer remember why they're here. When one of them is triggered to assassinate the others, their world is turned inside out, as are the lives of their closest friends on Earth, who (like themselves) have no concept of how "unique" these people truly are.

3. What is Cerridwen Press like to work with as a publisher?

They're part of Ellora's Cave and a rising star in the industry. There's a bit of a problem with books like mine, though - CP includes both romance and non-romance titles, but everything, promotionally speaking, is geared toward romance. Even the author-reader loop frequently chats about romance-oriented questions, which makes it difficult for books like Gilded Folly and The Hollowing (non-romances), to develop a readership. Many SF readers won't go to a site where romance appears to be the dominant genre.

4. Tell us more about your art.

I don't do nearly as much of it as I should! My writing takes me away from it. When I'm writing madly (as I frequently do), my creativity quotient seems to drop in other areas. That said, I'm putting along on a painting at the moment - trying to get back into a regular painting programme.

5. Where can we buy it?

Oh, I wish! I have a cafe owner who's been waiting months for me to bring her some paintings for display. If I keep up with my determined effort to develop some kind of "painting schedule", I'll probably list most of mine on Trademe.co.nz, just see the response. I've always sold most of them before I could get them up online, so I'll have to see what happens.
I'm not as good at it as I once was, either, because I had a painting hiatus of nearly a year, and I'm out of practice. Time to get my act together!

6. Readers are welcome to have a look at the cover of my "Sex Lies and Here Be Dragons" for an example of your work, but would you care to share another one with us?

I have one on my website (www.NDHansen-Hill.com). I want to give this painting away in honour of my paperback releases (In Trysts, Gilded Folly, etc).

7. You are a writer and a painter and a mother. To add to your load, you are an archaeology student. Tell us why.

No writer can exist in a vacuum. Writing is drama, and that needs to be balanced with normalcy, and everyday life. Archaeology fascinates me and I can utilise much of my past training (irrigation work, plant propagation, plant virology, etc.) to better understand and develop theories about prehistoric survival strategies. I enjoy the professional contacts, too!

8. I am full of awe for your time management skills. Any tips for our readers on how to cram 48 hours of work into 24?

I'm not really that efficient! The big thing is, I'm a single mum now, so I try to get everything finished by the time my youngest gets home at 3.30. Occasionally, I'll have a class that runs over, or some work that absolutely needs to be finished for a publisher, but generally, I'm there for her, even if it's just to watch TV, shop, or read Harry Potter aloud. I get up just after 4 a.m. every morning, and do what I can before the sun comes up! I also plan ahead. If something is due at a certain date, I try to break it up into manageable chunks.

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