Today we have the lovely Gill Hoffs on the blog. Nutella fiend Gill has appeared on BBC’s ‘Coast’ and is a hard-working writer.
Thanks, Gill, for choosing to review 2015 on this blog!
Joining forces with my non-fiction agent, Jennie, and then soon after signing a contract with Pen & Sword for my second shipwreck book, “The Cowardice of Captain Stinson: The Lost Story of the William & Mary, and How 200 Victorians came back from the Dead” was marvellous. I can’t wait to hold my comp copies in my hands then cuddle them, take them to dinner, toast them with a pink milkshake, and cuddle them some more…
And how about a favourite moment from 2015 generally?
Appearing on the legendary BBC programme “Coast” in July was beyond brilliant, and doing the publicity to promote it was a real kick too. I was kind of used to doing radio interviews and having email conversations with journalists from the launch of my first shipwreck book, The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the ‘Victorian Titanic (Pen & Sword, 2014, 2015) last year, although admittedly it’s always a thrill to do. But appearing on North West Tonight was a new level of amazing. I was so excited I put my t-shirt on inside out and didn’t realise until I spilled water down my chest as I walked to The Sofa. I was frantically rubbing the dark spots away until I sat down and then I simply didn’t care because I was just so pleased to be there.
Favourite book in 2015?
As per my heavy hints, my husband gave me Vixen by Rosie Garland for Christmas. I knew Rosie a little online through the extremely talented and kindly Jennifer Garside of Wyte Phantom Corsetry & Clothing, who helped with research for my ‘Victorian Titanic’ book, and had been hugely impressed by Rosie’s memorable debut The Palace of Curiosities. The cover for her second book was gorgeous and the contents met the promise of an engaging and unusual read. I can’t wait to see her next book.
Favourite film of 2015?
I saw very few films in the cinema this year, all with my little boy, and Ant-Man was definitely my favourite. When I was a kid, the superpower I always hoped for was the ability to shrink at will to a couple of inches tall (then painlessly return to my original size). I just wanted to wander about the garden, hide, and make friends with toads and beetles, but even so Paul Rudd in his fancy suit was basically living my dream.
Favourite song of the year?
I’ve been in a bit of a bubble for most of 2015 – research does that to me – but when I was writing my second shipwreck book there were two 2015 songs I tended to have on, for different parts of the manuscript. Downtown by Macklemore and BBHM by Rihanna make me think of spreading out my notes on the kitchen table, and typing away until my fingers (and bum) numbed and my hands ached. The Macklemore track is so bouncy and bright it captured the hopeful sunshiney bits of the story of a shipwreck in the Bahamas, whereas the gritty power of Rihanna’s anger – and THAT video – tapped into my own rage and frustration at the mishandling of the wreck and the deaths of so many on board. I don’t know if either of them would count as an actual favourite song from 2015 but they’re probably as close as I’ll get.
Any downsides for you in 2015?
Not in terms of writing, though admittedly there were some dead-ends in my research which I found deeply frustrating. I hope that, as with my ‘Victorian Titanic’ book, once this one’s out readers will get in touch with further information which can perhaps be included in a second edition at some point. Apart from that, my husband, a scientist who doesn’t mind me hogging the duvet and therefore merits a halo, was sadly made redundant. It led to me taking on another job, this time as a care assistant in a residential home for women with dementia, but I enjoy the work and I’m grateful for it – paid positions are so precarious these days.
Are you making resolutions for 2016?
Not really – I plan to work my arse off and celebrate everything I possibly can but that’s standard. Why miss an opportunity to be happy? It makes no sense to me.
What are you hoping for from 2016?
Smiles and success. I’m looking forward to giving talks on shipwrecks and writing, and launching my new book “The Cowardice of Captain Stinson” (Pen & Sword, 2016). I’m also hoping to meet the *right* fiction agent and secure a publishing deal for at least one of my novels. My non-fiction work is represented by the lovely and extremely able Jennifer Goloboy of the Red Sofa Literary Agency and I’d like to find the same kind of support and opportunities with my fiction. I wouldn’t turn down movie adaptations or some kind of perpetually refilling Nutella jar either.
You can contact Gill on Twitter @GillHoffs or by email firstname.lastname@example.org;