Writing With … Hilary Davidson

Today I welcome Hilary Davidson, one of the nicest and most talented authors out there. Hilary’s debut, THE DAMAGE DONE, won the 2011 Anthony Award for Best First Novel. It also won a Crimespree Award and was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis and Macavity awards. Her second novel, THE NEXT ONE TO FALL, was released today. Visit her online at www.hilarydavidson.com.

Q. Tell us about your book and what inspired you to write it.

My new book is THE NEXT ONE TO FALL, a mystery set in Peru. It’s a sequel to THE DAMAGE DONE, and I wanted to follow the main character, Lily Moore, after her life fell apart in the first book. The new novel begins three months later, and Lily is still grieving and shell-shocked. There’s no one in the world she trusts except her best friend, Jesse, who’s convinced her to travel to Peru with him. When the THE NEXT ONE TO FALL begins, they’ve just arrived at Machu Picchu, where they overhear a couple fighting and then discover a woman dying at the bottom of a staircase. When the police write off the death as an accident, Lily hunts down the woman’s boyfriend, who turns out to have a trail of dead and missing women behind him.

Q. Did you need to do any special research for the book? If so, what’s one of the most interesting facts you discovered?

I went to Peru for three weeks in the fall of 2007. The main reason for the trip was research for travel stories, but I knew that I wanted to set a novel there. I loved exploring the Inca sites, and I got obsessed with how they built them — Peru is one big earthquake zone, so colonial and modern structures are frequently damaged or destroyed, yet the Inca ones are not. Fascinating fact: the Incas were incredibly advanced when it came to engineering, architecture, agriculture and astronomy. But at the same time, they didn’t have a writing system and they never discovered the wheel.

Q. Many people are content to just be readers. How did you become a writer?

If I weren’t writing I’d worry about being locked away for having multiple personality disorder. There are voices in my head and they want to be heard.

Q. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

In a way, I’m always writing, because even if I’m not in front of my computer, I’m probably working out details of a story in the back of my brain, or else collecting material to use later. I love just walking around exploring neighborhoods — I do that at home in New York, in my hometown of Toronto, and pretty much everywhere else I find myself. I travel a lot for work and for pleasure.

Q. What are you reading right now?

CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER by Tom Franklin. Really enjoying it.

Q. If you were stranded on that proverbial deserted island, what five books would
you want to have with you?

That’s such a tough question, and my answer would probably chance depending on the day you ask me. Right now I’ll say the complete works of Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe; a collection of all of Truman Capote’s short stories and novellas (BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S has to be in there); a collection of Romantic Poetry (Byron, Shelley, Coleridge, etc); finally, THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, because I’ve read everything else by Dostoyevsky and I’m embarrassed I haven’t read that book yet.

Q. What’s your favorite movie?


Q. What’s your favorite food?

Cherries. I will eat them morning, noon, and night if given the chance. That said, I despise anything cherry-flavored. Cheese and chocolate are close runners-up.

Q. Cats or dogs?

I love both. Sadly, my husband is also allergic to both.

Q. Name one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you.

I’m addicted to my mini-trampoline. I will jump on it for hours, given the chance. I don’t do it for exercise — it’s purely fun.

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