Interview: Lexa Hillyer

Hey all! Today we have a very fun interview with author and publisher extraordinaire, Lexa Hillyer! Hillyer is not only the author of several hit YA novels (most recently the Spindle Fire duo), but she is the founder of Glasstown Entertainment (formerly Paper Lantern Lit., for those of you who remember my Trendsetter days!). This was such a fun interview to read, and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!

Also, today marks the paperback of her YA novel, Winter Glass, so make sure you go and get yourself a copy of this great series!

Lexa Hillyer is the Founder and President of Publishing at Glasstown Entertainment, an all-female creative development and production company located in New York and Los Angeles. She is also the author of Spindle Fire, Winter Glass, and Proof of Forever, all young adult novels published by HarperCollins, as well as the poetry collection Acquainted with the Cold from Bona Fide Books. Acquainted with the Cold was the 2012 gold prize winner of the Foreword Book of the Year Award for Poetry and received the Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize. Her work has been featured in a variety of journals and collections including Best New Poets 2012, and she has received several honors for poetry. Lexa earned her BA in English from Vassar College and her MFA in Poetry from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. She worked as an editor at both HarperCollins and Penguin, before founding Glasstown Entertainment along with New York Times Bestselling author Lauren Oliver. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter and their very skinny orange tree.

Was there a particular book/series/author that inspired you to start writing?

I really didn’t start writing novels until I was in my thirties – by then I had read countless novels that I’m sure influenced me greatly! I always loved grounded realistic fiction that brings the reader to tears, and I think that’s where my desire to write Proof of Forever came from. But I also loved classics by Hardy and Austen and I was kind of a Shakespeare nerd, and I think those loves translated more into my fantasy series Spindle Fire and Winter Glass.

Not only do you write, but you were also a part of creating (and now running) a hugely successful, woman driven publishing company! What happened first: your interest in being a writer, or your interest in the publishing industry?

Definitely the latter! I was interested in writing but I didn’t think I’d become an author. I thought editing was more my thing (and it still is!) But I was also really timid about putting my own work out there so it just took awhile before I got up the guts to do it. By then, I already knew a lot about the publishing process (for better and for worse).

And, with that in mind, what has it been like being so intimately involved in the publishing of your own work?

I mean it’s great that I think sometimes my publisher gives me a little bit more of a voice in the process – when it comes to design and marketing input and all that other stuff—because they know I’m familiar with the industry so my ideas aren’t just random feelings and opinions, they’re based on the trends and behaviors that I’m witnessing every day on the job. That said, when you’re already in the publishing world so much, it’s easy to get cynical about the possibilities of success and/or to compare your work to other people’s. So, there are definitely pluses and minuses ☺.

If you could live anywhere (any time, era, and place (real, or otherwise)), where would it be?

Wow, such a good question, and so hard to answer! I mean despite the fact that there’s a TON of messed up stuff in our current world, I still think now is the greatest time to be alive, when you look at the freedoms women and girls have, the relative* social progresses that have been made, and the technological advances that make our lives easy. Like, I find it hard to imagine going back to a time when there weren’t indoor bathrooms with plumbing… but I guess setting that stuff aside, maybe 1920s NYC? I would also have to be like 18-22, to maximize enjoyment of the flapper era. If I were my current age, I’d probably just be doing the same boring things I do now, minus the Netflix.

If you had 24 hours to do ANYTHING you wanted, what would you do?

If teleportation exists, maybe run around Paris and eat tons of cheese and drink wine. But if it required using half of the 24 hrs for the flight there and back, then forget about it, I’d probably just do the same thing but in Brooklyn, and then do some yoga and sit around with the NYTimes crossword puzzle… which is kind of what I’m already doing! OMG, I just realized I’m either already living my best life, or have very limited dreams.

You’re trapped on an island, but are allowed to bring one person, one food item, and one object. What are your choices?

The item would probably be a very long book, like Anna Karenina perhaps. The food item would probably be a soft French cheese (see above…) And the person? Probably my husband – not for any romantic reasons per se, but because he’s good at building stuff so he could probably make us shelter and build a boat so we could eventually get back to Brooklyn and the weekly crossword puzzle, because #priorities.

Thank you all for reading, and make sure you check out Hillyer on her webstie, and Twitter! <3


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