Books·Magic 8 Q&A

Why Kate Hilton believes in the power of reinvention

The author of Just Like Family answers eight questions posed by eight fellow writers.
Kate Hilton is the author of Just Like Family (Travis Allison)

Kate Hilton's second novel Just Like Family convincingly explores what happens when family, friends and the politics of city hall collide. It's a fictional yet true to life world where a woman named Avery Graham juggles personal and professional crises — one difficult step at a time.

Hilton tackles CBC Books' Magic 8 Q&A and answers eight randomly selected questions from her eight fellow authors.

1. Donna Morrissey asks, "Who has been your favourite character to write so far, and why?"

Lillian Parker, from my first novel, The Hole in the Middle, is far and away my favourite. She's an older woman who no longer cares (if she ever did) what people think of her. It was so liberating to spend time in her company. I want to be just like her when I grow up.

2. Kate Cayley asks, "Are you hopeful?"

Yes, almost always. I think it is my superpower. Or it could be my Achilles' heel.  

3. Ami McKay asks, "What's the most prized book on your bookshelf?" 

I have one shelf devoted to books that took my breath away, and another shelf devoted to books signed by people I love and admire. But since I've hauled my three-volume OED around since I was 15 years old, I guess that must be it. There can be no other explanation for its longevity. I never open it.

4. Eden Robinson asks, "Who was your most influential mentor?"

Guy Gavriel Kay. He was incredibly generous to me when I was getting started as a writer, and gave me so much good advice about how to navigate the business of writing and publishing.

5. Karen Solie asks, "What do you do for fun? If you think writing is fun, what else do you do?"

I don't think writing is fun, exactly, although I love it. Pure fun is smacking a tennis ball and watching it land exactly where I intended it to, or telling stories with friends over a meal and a glass of wine and laughing ourselves sick, or playing with my rescue dog in the park, or being transported by a great book or theatrical performance, or exploring a place I haven't been before. 

6. Alexi Zentner asks, "Would you want your kids to be writers?"

Yes, with the caveat that I think most writers need a financial Plan B. For me, writing has been such a gift, such a homecoming. I hope that my boys find vocations as powerful.  

7. Robert Wiersema asks, "If someone were to create a comic book based on your life, what would your hero name be, and what would be your special gift/skill?"

I would be Reinvention Woman. I'd roam the Earth looking for risks worth taking, armed with curiosity, hard-earned wisdom and the power to evolve. And I'd have a Lasso of Truth, because they're cool.

8. Sharon Butala asks, "What is the main question that you wish somebody would ask you, although nobody ever has?"

Who would you be if you weren't a writer?

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