Sunday, May 13, 2012

Interview with Hillary E. Peak, Author of Wings of Hope VBT Pit Stop May 14

Click on the image to visit Hillary's Meet & Greet at VBT Cafe.

Hillary Peak is a recovering idealist. She became a lawyer to change the world and is still somewhat shocked that didn't occur. Now, her goal is to retire from practicing law and write novels that people love. She is currently a practicing attorney in the District of Columbia. She lives with her family in Alexandria, VA.

Louise: Hillary, welcome to my blog! I’m so excited you could join me for a chat. When did you first decide to submit your work to be published? Tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.

Hillary:  I have a friend that I worked with in my first job as an attorney.  We did a case together that was quite difficult and required long hours.  When the case was over, she moved back to New York, but we stayed friends.  She entered a writing program at the same time I was working on my first novel, so we went to a publishing conference together in San Francisco.  That was my first time thinking about publishing what I was writing.

Louise: Please tell us a little about your new release Wings of Hope without giving too much of a spoiler away.

Hillary:  When Jules receives a letter from her father saying that he’s been diagnosed with a terminal illness and has a very few months to live, she leaves her life in San Francisco to go to New York City to be with him.  During his last few months, they have the chance to learn about each other and for him to give her the confidence to try and get the life she’s always wanted.

Louise: Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?

Hillary:  They develop as I go.  I’m a planner in other areas of life but not much in my writing.

Louise: How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?

Hillary:  I do quite a bit of research.  It is important to me that if I’m using a location it feels authentic.  I try to use real streets, places, etc. The coolest was that there were real pirates in Lausanne Switzerland.

Louise: What is your writing process? Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants (Pantser) or a combination of both?

Hillary:  Mostly, it is by the seat of my pants, but if I have a thought, I’ll jot it down.  I keep a running list of items I want to include in a book.

Louise: Do you write full time? What did you do before you became a writer or still do?

Hillary:  Sadly, no.  My goal is to make a living from writing and write full time.  I am an attorney full time.  I work for the government of the District of Columbia.

Louise: Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen, laptop and a comfy place.

Hillary:  No, I’m always trying to fit my writing into the time I can.  Sometimes I’m eating lunch at my desk, other times I’m at my laptop on my couch.

Louise: Describe a typical writing day for you.

Hillary:  That’s hilarious!  A typical day (writing or no):  Get up, get myself and my daughter ready for the day.  I get my latte, go to work, and check both my work email and my writing email.  Do some work, grab lunch and write until someone knocks on my door.  Go  home, walk the beagle, make dinner, put my daughter to bed, then check my writing email again and write again, if possible.

Louise: Please give us a sneak peek at your future books. What’s on the horizon?

Hillary:  I’m writing a legal thriller entitled, Justice Scorned.  “The black world is the world that doesn’t exist.  The world where secrets are hidden.  It is the place where nothing takes place, but where everything takes place.”

Louise: What is your favorite genre to read and who is your favorite author?

Hillary:  I LOVE books—fantasy, literary, science fiction, chick lit.  I’ll read practically anything.  I love any author who gives me a good book to read.

Louise: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers we have not touched on?

Hillary:  Thank you for reading my novel.  It has really been exciting for me to read reviews and feel like my readers have been touched by my story.

Louise: Where can the readers learn more about you and find your books on the web?

Author Links: Web site, Facebook and Goodreads

Purchase Links:  


Readers, I'd love to give away a book to a lucky commenter. Please leave your email address in your comment so we can easily contact the winner. Thanks!

Wings of Hope

The letter said he was dying, that’s all Jules Weinstein knows when she leaves her life in San Francisco and moves to New York City to be with her father. She goes for the remarkable opportunity to really know her father. She never dreamed he had liberated a concentration camp, dealt cards to Bugsy Siegel or saved the life of a Black Panther. Wings of Hope is a road trip through the memories of a man making peace with his life. Little does she know that by getting to know her father, she will find herself. While her father struggles with whether his life was meaningful, Jules discovers that her father’s last gift to her is the ability to reach for her dreams. Her journey teaches her that “the goodbye” is sometimes the most heartbreakingly beautiful part of life.

 “Jules, were you trying to beat your Dad in a friendly game of poker?” Jack teased.

“You know,” Dad looked at me, “Jack only invited me to his poker game once. He never let me come again.” He was grinning slyly.

“Right, we wanted a card shark to play with. You know,” he turned to me again, “your Dad took home two grand the one night we let him play with us?”

“Told you then, it was beginners luck.”

“Hardly. Bill Patterson told me that you killed some guy in a plane over a card game.”

Dad hooted and nearly doubled over. “Did you think that was true?”

“Well, no,” Jack responded glumly, but I could tell he might have believed it.

“I do know what he’s talking about. When Jules was about four, just before her mother and I divorced, we were on a plane coming to New York. We’d flown from Lubbock to Dallas. The weather was terrible—an ice storm if I remember correctly. The plane from Dallas to New York had been boarded, but we were sitting on the tarmac. Hours went by—literally. After three or four hours, they started serving free booze, no food, just booze. The plane got blitzed. Those people were drunker than anyone I’ve ever seen, truly.
I’ll never forget; Jules was starving. My ex was begging the stewardess for some food, crackers, anything. Jules was crying and crying. Eventually, she fell asleep. Her mother and I were exhausted and angry—we were furious they won’t give us anything for our child to eat, wouldn’t let us off the plane and we felt terrible that our four year old had just cried herself to sleep hungry.

There was no end in sight, so I pulled out the deck of cards I used to entertain Jules. The ex and I started to play gin rummy. Usually, she wouldn’t play with me, but there was nothing else to do.

A guy in the row in front of us starts getting really rowdy. He was laughing, spilling alcohol everywhere. I got up; I was on the aisle. I can remember touching his shoulder, ‘Excuse me, can you keep it down, my little girl just fell asleep. ’

‘What’s your problem buddy? ’ He slurred all his words and talked at the top of his voice. He reeked of alcohol and perspiration.

‘My child is tired and hungry, she’s finally asleep. I’m asking you, keep it down so that you won’t wake her. ’

‘S’not my problem. What the hell do I care if she wakes up? ’

That did it. I grabbed the guy by his necktie, shoved him up into the ceiling of the plane, knocking him out and tossed him into a seat about three rows back. My ex was so stunned, she jumped and all the cards went flying into the air, it looked like it was snowing because she had the full deck to shuffle.

But I’ll tell you, the plane was silent after that—for two hours until we took off. Also, the stewardess came and brought food for Jules. Everyone apologized in hushed tones. It was great.”


  1. Wonderful interview. Thank you for hosting Hillary today.

  2. Hillary, thank you again for visiting my blog!