Author K.A. Hitchins

Write and Author is interviewing K.A. Hitchins, author of The Girl at the End of the Road.

K. A. Hitchins studied English, Religious Studies and Philosophy at Lancaster University, graduating with a BA (Hons) First Class in English, later obtaining a Masters in Postmodern Literatures in English from Birkbeck College, London. She is married with two children.

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How long have you been writing?
I dreamed of being a writer all through my childhood and teens. In fact, as soon as I realised stories were created by people and were not part of a magical realm where I could just disappear and become anything I wanted, I knew I wanted to create these worlds for myself and for other people. I wrote through my teens and into my twenties, but stopped at the age of 28 after a particularly traumatic heart break. I lost confidence in myself and decided I needed to knuckle down to real life and stop living in a dream world. I married my husband when I was 36. He always knew I wanted to be a writer and after our children reached school age encouraged me to start writing again. I resisted until I had another heartbreak. My beloved father died and I started jotting down my feelings at the beginning of 2012 as a way of dealing with the grief I was experiencing. To prevent getting bogged down in a personal rant, I gave myself some emotional distance by creating a male character who was grieving for his career and lifestyle after losing his job in the financial crash.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It energises me. I can easily lose track of time and find it difficult to pull away from it when I need to get on with other stuff.
Do you find it easy to get motivated to write?

Yes. I love writing. The difficulty I have is that there are too many other commitments that can’t be put aside and it’s difficult to move my writing up the priority list. There always seems to be something going on in the family that needs my urgent attention. I have to work quite hard to fit in time for myself. Once I have blocked off a period in which to write, I’m usually fairly productive because I’ve been storing up ideas in my mind for a while.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you started out?
I wish I’d known that I needed to market the book as well as write it. I naively thought that my publisher would deal with all that and I could stay in my ivory tower. I know now that to a large extent writers have to be their own publicists, whether they are traditionally, independently or self-published.
Do you write with an outline?
My first novel ‘The Girl at the End of the Road’ emerged in a rather organic way, probably because I didn’t really know what I was doing. I’ve written three other books since then, one of which is now published as ‘The Key of All Unknown’. The other two are in the process of being rewritten/edited. I learned the hard way that it’s better to have a plan, even if it’s fairly flexible, because you can waste a lot of time doing rewrites if you are flying by the seat of your pants.

I now start with my first and my last chapters as these are the most important chapters in a book. The first needs to hook the reader and the last needs to end the story in such a way that the reader is satisfied and not disappointed. A good ending will mean the reader is more likely to recommend the book to a friend, leave a positive review and buy your next book.

I begin with an opening scenario that I find intriguing, or a problem that needs solving. I then consider how I would like the difficulty to be resolved. There needs to be quite a big transformation between the opening and closing scenarios for the book to pack a punch. Once I have fairly detailed notes on these two chapters, I try and think of as many obstacles moving from the beginning to the end as I can. Usually things have to get a lot worse before they get better, and it’s vital that your characters change and grow as they negotiate their way through the plot.
How do you market yourself and your book?
I’m on Twitter and Facebook and have a website at Through social media I’ve have managed to connect up with bloggers who have been willing to feature my books, post a review or do an author interview like this one. I’m always on the lookout for speaking opportunities, but you need to be very thick skinned. Even after you’ve signed a publishing deal, rejection is part of an author’s life. I’ve approached many bookshops and magazines for exposure and been turned down. But it’s all worthwhile when someone says ‘yes’.
Why do you write?
I write because it’s the only thing in my life that comes completely naturally to me and where I feel I can be myself.
How often do you write and what is your process?
I fit my writing around the family and their needs. Sometimes I’m sitting outside the school gate in a car jotting down ideas in my notebook. I walk the dog for about an hour every morning, and that’s when I think through plot and characterisation issues. I work in small intense bursts fitted around the housework. There’s no fixed plan and I don’t manage to write every day unfortunately. It’s about doing the best I can.
What writing advice can you give?
Don’t give up. Be open minded to learn from others as there’s always room to develop your craft. Don’t take rejection personally because not everyone is going to like what you write and that’s OK.
Can you create a short writing prompt?
Take the first sentence from a story or idea you have already started writing and are stuck with. Then insert as your second sentence, “After that the shooting started.” What happens next?

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The Girl at the End of the Road
by K.A. Hitchins

Vincent's world has imploded. Only by confronting the past will he discover his future.

High-flying financier Vincent Stevens has lost everything in the economic crash - smart London flat, trophy girlfriend, champagne lifestyle - and is forced to return to the village of his birth. Dogged by family obligations and unsettling childhood memories, he wants his extravagant life in the City back at any cost. But then he meets Sarah, the enigmatic girl whose friendship will throw everything he values into question. A shocking discovery forces him to make the biggest decision of his life. Will he return to a world defined by winners and losers, or will he choose love?
Where K.A.’s book is sold
K.A. Hitchins