The Authors' Words: An Interview with Author Jill Hand

Jill Hand lives in New Jersey. She writes horror, fantasy, science fiction and weird fiction. Her work has appeared in more than thirty publications and in many anthologies, including Test Patterns, Beyond the Stars: New World, New Suns, Stories From the Near-Future, and Miskatonic Dreams.

Her novella, The Blue Horse, from Kellan Publishing, and its prequel, Rosina and the Travel Agency, chronicle the adventures of the employees of a twenty-fourth century time travel business.

Hi Jill!  Thank you so much for doing this interview. I'm so happy we have the chance.
Thank you for inviting me to talk about my writing, J.D. I LOVE talking about my writing! 

Tell us about yourself?
I live in New Jersey, home of Bruce Springsteen and the Jersey Devil. I have never seen the Jersey Devil, nor have I met Springsteen, although I interviewed one of his former band members once.

When did you realize you were a storyteller? 
Probably when I was around twelve and started to earn money babysitting. Those were more relaxed times and a twelve-year-old was considered old enough to be capable of looking after younger children for pay. I used to tell the kids ghost stories. They were frightening stories, full of horrible things like severed heads that dripped blood and were dead and yet somehow alive, and ghouls who dug up graves. The kids loved them and begged for more, proving that children are more resilient and less easily frightened than adults might think.

Tell us how you come up with your time travel stories?
The idea for The Blue Horse came up by accident, like a lot of good ideas. While reading about cryptids online I found a site that mentioned a blue horse without any hair that was discovered in South Africa in 1860. It was shipped to England where an eccentric aristocrat bought it. He used to ride it to go fox hunting.  That made me suspect there was a good story there, and there was. It's a really bizarre story, especially when time travelers from the twenty-fourth century get involved.

How did you decide to write in this genre?
I like history, and doing research. A lot of odd things happened long ago that aren't common knowledge. Time travel is an intriguing concept. I'm certain it will be possible someday, if it's not already. I'm joking. 

What is your publishing story?
My publisher is Kellan Publishing, a small press from Portland, Oregon.

How much of yourself, if any, is in your characters? 
I'm in all of them, to some extent. 

How long does it usually take you to write one of your stories from your first idea to
 finishing the book?
I write short stories, as well as having written the two time travel books. Short stories go quickly. I can usually bat one out in a week, tailoring them to whatever submission calls are out there. I'm currently working on a Southern Gothic novel about  unscrupulous siblings from south Georgia who are fighting over their father's enormous fortune.  It's dark and (I hope) funny. Since I'm by temperament more of a sprinter than a long-distance runner (by that I mean I'm easily bored) short stories come easier to me than novellas or novels. I've written and published many short stories in several different genres, primarily horror, science fiction and fantasy.

Who gave you help and guidance along the way?
My editors, when I wrote for daily newspapers. A good editor is a treasure. Every writer should be able to accept and learn from constructive criticism, otherwise they're never going to improve. 

Rosina and the Travel Agency

What else do you have published?  Rosina and the Travel Agency. It's about a future business enterprise that conducts tourists to the past and back again. It introduces Rosina Bevan, the Victorian young lady who's the main character of The Blue Horse.

With your life experience, what advice would you give to your younger self about
Make as many contacts as you can. Network. Go to writers conferences. Join a writers group that meets regularly to critique each other's work. 

Was there any particular book or author who influenced you and what genres and
authors do you read?
Donna Tartt is the greatest writer alive today, in my opinion. I'm also fond of Edgar Allan Poe, and M.R. James, and Shirley Jackson. My piece on Jackson will be in the upcoming issue of Vastarien: A Literary Journal. 

Where online can people find you and your books? 
I'm on Facebook and Twitter
My books are available from Amazon. 

Thank you so much, Jill.  ~JD

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