Thursday, September 30, 2010

7 Questions For: Author Hilary Wagner

Hilary Wagner is the author of Nightshade CityClick here to read my review.

Her website is, and you should follow her blog, And here is Hilary Wagner in her own words:

I write middle-grade and young adult novels. I love beautifully written, colorful stories, which leave me still thinking about them the next day--a touch of creepy doesn't hurt either!

My first novel, NIGHTSHADE CITY, is out now! The second book in the NIGHTSHADE CHRONICLES, KINGS OF TRILLIUM, will release in October of 2011, both through Holiday House Books, who has been around since 1935!!!

I live in the chicagoland area with my husband, Eric, our two little sweeties, Vincent and Nomi, and our slightly neurotic Italian Greyhound, Louie. I make crazy (and I emphasize crazy) paintings too, which I show in and around Chicago and other cities! See my other side at Chicago PoP Art!

And now Hilary Wagner faces the 7 Questions:

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?

Wow, that's so hard to answer! I have so many favorites. I love THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS and WATERSHIP DOWN. For adult novels, I'd have to say WICKED was a great read. Okay, it's very weird that all these titles have W words in them...what gives? ;)

Question Six: How much time do you spend each week writing? Reading?

It depends. Sometimes I'll write for hours every single day. Other times, I'll take a week or so off, usually when a story is simmering in my head. I'll take random notes during that time, mentally weaving the story together and then--boom--I hit the keyboard full-bore! I squeeze in reading whenever I can, mostly late at night, before bed, curl up with a good book and all!

Question Five: What was the path that led you to publication?

I'm crazy and stubborn. Everyone tells you how hard the path to publication is and they're totally right! It is a harrowing road, but challenges keep me going and no matter how many times agents said it was not right for the current market or animal fantasy is a hard sell right now, I just kept telling myself I will get published! After 175 agent rejections, my wonderful agent, Marietta Zacker, said YES!!! After that, she sold NIGHTSHADE CITY in less than two months!

Question Four: Do you believe writers are born, taught or both? Which was true for you?

I think both! I do not have an English degree and have not taken any kind of writing courses. My degree is in Painting of all things! I always enjoyed English class though, so I suppose that helps! I know plenty of writers with Masters in English or Writing and they are simply brilliant, so it's hard to say if they were born to write or taught--maybe both! I think writing is more about developing a style you're comfortable with--one that goes deeper than the act of writing and reveals who you are. I think if you can figure that out, taught or self-taught, you may be onto something! I know I was born to write, because I can't seem to stop!

Question Three: What is your favorite thing about writing? What is your least favorite thing?

My most favorite thing is having that "light bulb" moment. I just love that! I actually had one last night with a new book I'm working on and now I know exactly what I need to do! My least favorite thing--waiting! I'm an incredibly impatient person. Writing takes a lot of time! I have to remind myself of that constantly...anything worth doing takes time, so chill out, Hilary!

Question Two: What one bit of wisdom would you impart to an aspiring writer? (feel free to include as many other bits of wisdom as you like)

Don't sweat the rejections or they'll just eat you alive! You can search on-line and find best-selling novels and world famous writers who were rejected time and time again--some, as many times as me! Just because you've racked up a lot of no's, doesn't mean you won't be getting a YES! Remember, it only takes one!

Question One: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

I would have lunch with Jonathan Barnes. He is an English adult writer--still kicking! He wrote THE SOMNAMBULIST and DOMINO MEN. I think he's a brilliant writer and possibly a little wonky in the head, so definitely someone I want to know! Maybe skip the lunch and head straight for the cocktails...that might be more fun! ;)


  1. Great interview! Hilary sounds like a lot of fun. Her passion and enthusiasm for writing and reading definitely shows! I'm looking forward to reading Nightshade City! :)

  2. 175 rejections? Damn, Hillary is persistent! Good thing she stuck with it!

  3. Hilary is the sweetest!! These were amazing answers and questions! I love the 7 questions I'm a new follower and look forward to many more of these.

  4. Welcome, Jen. Happy to have you:) Anytime you want, you can browse the archives to the top and left of this page to read interviews other writer interviews as well as interviews with literary agents.


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