Matt Hilton is the author of the Joe Hunter thrillers.
What is your method for overcoming writer’s block?
I never allow writer's block to slow me down. As an answer that sounds a tad pat, so I'll explain a little more. I have quite a tight publishing schedule, where I aim to produce two books a year in my ongoing thriller series featuring Joe Hunter, as well as short stories and other projects that I am constantly working on. So, when the dreaded writer's block happens, rather than worry and fret over a clean page I simply switch and work on one of the other projects I have on the go. Often, the short story or other book I'm working on are in different genres and employ a different voice. This allows me to have a break from my ongoing characters, and is usually enough to get my creative juices flowing again. By the time I finish the short story or whatever, the block has gone and I've subconsciously worked out where I need to go next.
What are your favorite or most helpful writing prompts?
I'm very visually motivated, and will get inspiration from a TV programme or movie or photograph. Usually I picture the scene in my mind, almost like running a mini-movie through my head and write the story down as if I'm plotting a movie sequence. Generally I don't plot or make many notes, I write from the seat of my pants, imagining each successive scene as I go. It isn't a style that suits everyone, and the danger is that you can end up writing yourself into a corner, but I prefer this organic way of writing, as everything stays fresh for me as I'm working.
What is the most valuable advice you received as a young writer?
When I was about twelve years old, a teacher, Mister Norman encouraged me to write, and would set me challenges. He asked me to write a Western short story, and when I handed it in he read it out to my class mates. I was horrified, until they all started oohing and aahing, and gave me a round of applause. Mister Norman told me I was a natural storyteller, and encouraged me to continue writing. I never looked back after that moment and continued to write. I wrote my first novel at age thirteen, completed a further seven novels and countless short stories before I was forty-two, and finally, after all those years of sending out my work to publishers and agents and receiving the standard rejection slip, I finally got my break with publishers in the US and UK simultaneously picking up my Joe Hunter series. So have faith. It sometimes takes time to secure a deal, but it's definitely worth the wait when it finally arrives. If I can also add another often stated piece of advice, but one I can only wholeheartedly agree with: read, read, read, write, write, write.