Bonnie Hearn Hill
Yesterday, I reviewed Aries Rising by author Bonnie Hearn Hill. Aries Rising is the first in a new series, and I’m giving away a copy to someone who comments on yesterday’s post, so be sure to visit before midnight (PDT), Friday, March 26 and leave a comment. Today, I’m featuring more information about Hill, and she answers a few questions for Mother Daughter Book Club readers.
Prior to writing the Star Crossed series for young adults, Hill penned several thrillers. She has an interest in astrology, and she is close friends with Cosmopolitan Magazine Astrologer Hazel Dixon-Cooper, which helped her find the inspiration for her new books. You can find more information about Hill, including her own astrological sign (Gemini) at her website, Bonnie Hearn Hill.com.
When I told Hill my own sign, Virgo, she said, ” That is a great sign for a writer, Cindy. Details, details. In fact the only down side is that you might be too critical, especially of yourself. If so, that could slow your process, because a writer must be extremely self-forgiving in the first-draft stage. Sometimes a Virgo can put in too much detail (Stephen King), but, from O Henry to D.H. Lawrence, Virgos have been leaving a legacy of fine writing.”
She definitely nailed me on the critical part; it’s something I’ve been working on for years.
When I was in high school, I loved reading about astrology and finding meaning in my everyday horoscope. I didn’t take my interest very far, but what I did find was fascinating. I think a lot of teens today feel the same way, they should really enjoy the Star Crossed series. Now let’s read what Hill has to say.
Was it difficult for you to write for teens?
BHH: It was a joy. I’m a Gemini who never grew up, and I believe teen emotions are universal. We all remember how it feels to fall for a guy, to experience the high highs and low lows of love. We know what it’s like to want something so much that a tool such as astrology seems magical.
But astrology isn’t magic, is it?
BHH: Absolutely not. That’s one of the messages of the book and the series. Logan learns about the zodiac right along with the reader (and with me). She realizes what she can and can’t do with it, and she ultimately sees that the power she seeks is within her.
You credit humorous astrology writer Hazel Dixon-Cooper with teaching you astrology. How long have you worked with her?
BHH: She joined my writing workshop about 16 years ago. After the first four years, she got a really nice book deal with Simon & Schuster, and then the astrology columnist job for Cosmopolitan magazine. Somewhere along the way, she became my closest friend. You can’t be friends with someone like her and not be interested in astrology. She’s funny, original, very, very intelligent, and she truly gets astrology in a practical, not mystical woo-woo kind of way. My books are more accurate because of her suggestions.
You’ve mentored many other writers in addition to her. Why have you been able to help so many people publish?
BHH:. Again, I’m a Gemini—the Twins. Somehow, I can put myself out of the way when I look at what someone else writes. I can almost become them and see what they are trying to say, not necessarily what is on the page. Thus, I avoid leaving editorial “fingerprints” on someone else’s work. I hear the writer’s voice, not my own.
What advice would you offer those who want to write for teens?
BHH: Respect your reader. Don’t decide to write for young readers because you think it’s easier, because, believe me, it isn’t. I would also suggest reading every teen book you can get your hands on. I think young adult is one of the most exciting and surprising genres around. Once you experience what’s out there–what talented writers are producing right now–you’ll be inspired by the possibilities and the challenges.
The teen market is crowded. Why do you think your series sold? Was it in the stars?
BHH: Maybe. I hadn’t found any teen novels that dealt with astrology. My wonderful editor said she liked the fact that the female characters had goals beyond just getting the guys they were crushing on. But then, that editor is an Aquarius, the same as Logan. So maybe luck was with me, and maybe the stars helped out.