Jill G. Hall: Write With the Heart, Not the Head - Writer's Digest

Jill G. Hall: Write With the Heart, Not the Head

Novelist Jill G. Hall shares what prompted her most recent novel (The Green Lace Corset), what surprised her in the writing process, her top tip for other writers, and more!
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Jill G. Hall is the author of a dual-timeline trilogy about women searching for their place in the world connected by vintage finds. The first of the series The Black Velvet Coat, was an International Book Award Finalist, and the second The Silver Shoes, was a Distinguished Favorite in the NYC Big Book Awards. The Green Lace Corset, the third in the series was recently released. 

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(Women's fiction or romance? The differences and why they matter.)

Hall facilitates a Zoom drop-in group for San Diego Writers, Ink that leads writers through intuitive writing practices. On her blog, Crealivity, she shares her poetry and musings about the art of practicing a creative lifestyle. Learn more at www.jillghall.com.

In this post, Hall shares what prompted her most recent novel, what surprised her in the writing process, her top tip for other writers, and more!

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Name: Jill G. Hall
Title: The Green Lace Corset
Publisher: She Writes Press
Release date: October 13, 2020
Genre: Women's Fiction/Historical Fiction
Previous titles: The Black Velvet Coat; The Silver Shoes

Elevator pitch for the book: A modern-day artist buys a vintage corset in a resale boutique, which leads to a chain of events that forces her to make the biggest decision of her life. More than a century earlier, a young woman, the original owner of the green lace corset, is kidnapped by a handsome robber and taken by train to Arizona's Wild West. Both women find the strength to overcome their fears and discover the true meaning of family—with a little push from a green lace corset.

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What prompted you to write this book?

In a workshop several years ago the prompt you are riding in a train was given. Pen to paper, I started writing and quickly fell into a train's rhythm. At the end of the allotted 20 minutes, I had recorded an entire Wild West romantic tale with a beginning, middle, and end. 

(Find an incredible list of writing prompts.)

I couldn't wait to get home and type it up. It was too long to be a flash fiction piece and needed a lot more length and details for it to be a short story. At the time, I was in the midst of finishing my second novel, The Silver Shoes, for publication, so I put the train piece away in a folder but kept thinking about it.

How long did it take to go from idea to publication?

It took several years. I was wrapped up in promoting The Silver Shoes, but the amorous characters from the train were persistent and started to appear on my writing practice pages. I tracked down the original draft and kept going. 

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At some point, the present-day artist character from my other two dual-timeline novels ended up on the pages buying a green lace corset, and I realized this was much more than a short story but another whole book as part of a trilogy.

Were there any surprises in the publishing process for this title?

My biggest surprise was the book cover design. My publisher, She Writes Press, encourages authors to collaborate in the book cover process. For my other two novels, I had shipped actual items to the designer, and she photographed them for the cover art. 

(The anatomy of a book cover.)

For this novel, I had a historic costume designer create a corset for me, and that's what's on the cover. It fits me and I'll have fun wearing it to my book events, even the virtual ones.

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

I had to determine what Wild West town the train might have taken the couple to. Through my research I discovered in 1885 the train had a stop in Flagstaff, Arizona. 

I was thrilled, because I had gone to school there and it actually played a prominent role in my first novel, The Black Velvet Coat. This allowed me to write about that town during the Wild West era, the nearby nature, and tie it back in with my first novel.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

I hope readers realize that life can be complicated and not all paths will go where you think they'll lead and that there are all kinds of love and family.

If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

I suggest aspiring authors develop a daily writing practice routine and try to write with their hearts, not their heads.