How Long is a Piece of Rope: Lisa Hinsley
and $0.99 elsewhere on Amazon
Lisa was one of the very first writers I met online, when I discovered her excpetional Coombe’s Wood back in early 2008. It’s a joy to get to speak to her about her new book and, of course, the really important things in life. You can find her here.
In a dystopian near-future, overpopulation has led to a government dedicated to reducing citizen numbers. Suicide is legalised, food is rationed, and reproduction forbidden without permission.
Cassie O’Neil broke the law, she had sex before marriage. She is sentenced to die on the game show, The Ultimate Choice, but when a contestant collapses Cassie takes her chance and runs. Staying alive is hard with no ration card or place to hide. But she is a woman who refuses to die.
OK, over to Lisa
1. The Ultimate Choice is way better than Coombe’s Wood but one day I’d really like to be as good as Stephen King.
2. You will just love my book if you enjoyed Brave New World but if you’re a fan of children’s books steer well clear.
3. Inspiration comes from the barrel of a gun
4. How do you see the role of food in the contemporary thriller and where does The Ultimate Choice fit into the spectrum?
Interesting question, and one that fits in well with The Ultimate Choice. Set eighty years in the future, the world is overcrowded, and food is scarce. This book is a warning about the direction our species is taking. Eat less, have less children, this is the message of The Ultimate Choice. And remember, a desperate government will go to any lengths…
5. How would it affect the direction The Ultimate Choice takes if the action were moved wholesale to the set of Glee in chapter 7?
It can’t be chapter 7, it would have to be the opening chapter of the novel, which is set on a game show. It’s a demented version of Blind Date where the contestant is giving away their organs to one of three lucky recipients, not a night out. And the contestant would have to be Quinn Fabray, as she has committed one of the biggest sins of this future world – she has had a baby out of wedlock. Also, the singing would go down well with the general hysteria of the audience.
6. When you’re writing, would you rather look out at the sea, or in at your thoughts?
I lived in Portugal a while back, during a particularly tough time of my life. One of the most calming things I could do was go down to the edge of the ocean and stare out at the waves. The sound, the smell, the changing shades of the water helped me think. To me, when you say sea and thoughts, they are one and the same. My greatest dream is to be able to live at the seaside, and to see the water when I wake every day.
7. When writing, do you start at the beginning and keep going, or start at the end and work back?
I am as disorganised with my writing as I am with every other aspect of my life. I usually start at the beginning. A single scene will inspire me, and suddenly I have to write it down. Then I think for a while, months could go by, before I need to write more. This could be any part of the book, but usually I’ll follow on from the first chapter, then skip to the end, and then back to where I left off.
8. A great villain or a great hero?
A great hero is made so much better by a brilliant villain.
9. The Ultimate Choice will change the way a reader looks at euthanasia.
10. How long is a piece of rope?
About as long as it’s taken me to muddle through this interview! These are super hard questions you’ve posed. I have never considered any comparison of my writing to greats of the genre – really I’m not sure my talent would fill the pinky of the authors I love. But I found some courage and dared to compare myself to my heroes – Stephen King and Aldous Huxley.