The REAL Women Writers of Speculative Fiction #REALWomenWriters

Welcome back to the blog series #REALWomenWriters to explore #REALWomenWriters who toil in the day-to-day, soul-crushing, confidence-demolishing, existence that is the life of a REAL Woman Writer. We hope you enjoy this inside look and if you are a REAL Woman Writer, email us to share your story.

Name: Laurel Anne Hill
Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Steampunk, and Horror

Favorite story you’ve written and why. The Engine Woman’s Light, the spirits-meet-steampunk heroic journey of a young Latina in an alternate 19th Century California. This novel took me 20 years to write and contains part of my soul.
Favorite character you’ve ever written and why? Juanita Elise Jame-Navarro in The Engine Woman’s Light. 20 years of working together on her story cemented our author-character friendship. Besides, the novel has brought me a total of 13 honors and awards.
What is one thing everyone thinks about you that isn’t true? I came to a total blank on this one. The best I can manage is to state: Some people who don’t know me think I’m younger than I really am, especially in a dimly lit bar.
What is one thing about writing you didn’t know before you started? I had no clue about the concept of a story arc until I’d had seven or eight short stories published.
What is the hardest kind of scene for you to write? Any scene is difficult to write when I haven’t yet connected with my characters. Therefore, scenes in first drafts are the worst.
Did you go to college? What was your major? I graduated from a four-year college, with a major in the biological sciences, concentration in microbiology. I later earned my Master of Science degree, also in the biological sciences.
What did you think you’d be “when you grew up?” As a child, I wanted to train horses or become a full-time author. Instead, I ended up working in the health care industry for 40 years.
EVENTS
What is the best event you’ve ever been to? It’s a tie between the launch of my first novel, “Heroes Arise” (which took less than a year to write) and the launch of my second novel, “The Engine Woman’s Light” (which took 20 years to write). Pure exhilaration fueled me during the launch of “Heroes Arise.” During the launch of “The Engine Woman’s Light,” however, I knew that my husband (viewing my presentation from home via Facetime) would die from cancer before the end of the month. Yet I also knew he was witnessing the completion of our joint effort of many years. Joy surfaced from the well of sorrow.
What is something hurtful you’ve had to endure at an event? I was moderating a panel at a science fiction/fantasy con. The writer guest of honor was one of my panelists. During opening remarks, he stated the official description of the panel was not worthy of discussion. Essentially, he insinuated he would walk out if we didn’t obey his orders to change the focus of the presentation. I didn’t want to start a fight with a guest of honor, so I dropped 75% of the topics of discussion I’d planned and managed the best I could.
How did you recover from experiencing this hurtful thing? The experience reflected his ill manners, not mine. I shrugged it off and likely had an extra glass of wine with my husband at dinner that night. I have no intention of serving on a panel with that individual again.
What is something hurtful you’ve witnessed another #WomanAuthor experience? (No names please.) I’ve witnessed another male panelist put the female moderator in the same sort of uncomfortable predicament I mentioned above. The man, in this case, was not a guest of honor. The moderator politely declined his request to shift the topic of her panel.
If you could give that woman or any other #WomanAuthor a pep talk, what would you say? Evaluate the situation and however you choose to respond, maintain your own dignity. Let your antagonist play the role of the insensitive, self-centered clod.
ONLINE PRESENCE
What is your favorite form of social media? Where can we follow you? I use Facebook more than any other. https://www.facebook.com/LaurelAnneHill/
What is the biggest challenge of social media? Finding the time to use it.
Have you ever been abused or shamed on social media because of your sex, skin color, views, etc..? And how do you deal with that? On a couple of occasions, people I’d friended made some insensitive remarks. I unfriended one of them and ignored the other, which took care of the problem.
Have you ever seen another #WomanAuthor shamed? Were you able to help? Yes, in a Facebook group I belong to. I believe the group’s joint responses provided helpful assistance and moral support.
What should readers know about your social media presence? I can be slow to post or otherwise respond to a post. At this mid-seventies point in my life, even simple demands on my time can pull me in too many directions.
YOUR MESSAGE
What is the message you try to convey with your writing? Is there any keyword you want all of your work to convey? Love, honor, and forgiveness can change one’s life. Unfortunately, so can anger, dishonor and hate. Redemption—or lack of it—serve as keywords for much of my work.

Thank you for joining us for #REALWomenWriters!

Check in next time when Nicole Kurtz
will tell us about her journey.

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