Hello there! We’re back at it again; did you miss us? (Of course, you did!) This week’s creative interview is with Emily Hill, a woman whose writing style and humour you may have come across on our blog before (if you haven’t, check out the blog post “10 Dating Commandments I Wish Men Would Seriously Follow”, a must read!) She is a journalist, a former dating columnist for Sunday Times’ Style Magazineand now she’s the author of ‘Bad Romance’. I know all of you out there want to hear just how one gets into the dating columnist business. I know I want to hear how Emily Hill ended up writing a book titled ‘Bad Romance’, so let’s get down to it!
The Journey of Emily Hill
Every writer, like a superhero, has their own origin story. Naturally, we had to ask where it all started and find out where Emily got her passion from. She told us; “I wanted to be a writer ever since I was a child. I wrote a story about a princess called Bertha whose father pushed her so hard on a swing, she was launched into space. It made my own father laugh so hysterically, I became addicted to the sound of people sort of snorting involuntarily because something I wrote struck them as true or very, very funny.” Laughter is the best medicine, we definitely need more!
Creativity and Inspiration
Naturally, we had to ask when the realisation of being a creative hit Emily. We’ve received a whole range of responses throughout the creative interview series and Emily told is she realised at a very young age of six. It’s always nice when you know your path early on, but even if you’re not as certain as Emily was, it will come to you, don’t worry! If you have chosen the creative path, let me ask you. Can you even have creativity without inspiration? Absolutely not, so we had to ask where her inspiration comes from. Her answer was not quite what we expected…“Russians.” Erm, Emily… Please elaborate for the people!
“I was one of those wretched teenagers who doesn’t fit in anywhere and spends an inordinate amount of time in the library, wishing myself anywhere and everywhere else. One day, I picked up a book. It was The Idiot by Dostoevsky. The hero, Prince Myshkin, is very absorbing with his ‘absolutely beautiful nature’ and you race along with him and then right at the end, he has an epileptic fit and dies. I don’t know what you’re supposed to think about that but I thought, gosh, that’s bloody miserable, isn’t it? Perhaps I shall fit in with these crazy Russians and their enigmatic souls. So, when I was 18, I went to Moscow and taught for six months and ever since I’ve wanted to go back and live there, but I’m too bad at Russian. I’m tongue-tied, so I blurt out the very few sentences I know with a ridiculous speech impediment.” Well. We weren’t expecting that! We had to find out how this inspiration became part of her adulthood!
She told us, “Russian authors still inspire me, even if I can’t read them in the original. There’s a short story writer called Zoshchenko who wrote these very dark, very funny stories about how awful it was to live in the Soviet Union. His tales sold in the millions, the people loved them. So, Bad Romance is about how awful it is to try to find love in the modern world. If only I could get them translated into Russian – perhaps I’d become a runaway success there?”There’s still time Emily! I’m sure they’d love it in Russia too. World domination, here you come.
Maintaining creativity can prove to be difficult, especially with so much outside stimuli that can interfere with the flow. In order to help other creatives out there, we also ask our interviewees what kills their creativity and how they overcome it. May as well get some tips from some bona fide professionals, right?! Emily’s answer was overwhelmingly relatable. She told us, “I suffer pretty terribly from a lack of confidence. I curse my own sentences and damn my total lack of genius each and every time I sit down to write. If anyone knows how to overcome this please get in touch. Instagram. Twitter. Facebook. Postcards. Placards. However you want to contact me… I need to know.”
CLiKD’s tip? Maybe some words of affirmation to build up confidence, even if you just say them to yourself. Also, reminding yourself that every time you’ve written before, you’ve come up with something that people connect with. If you can do it once, you can do it again! 😉
The Business of Dating
Now to the big one we’ve been dying to know! Being a dating columnist, I always imagined there would be a lot of Carrie Bradshaw-esque vibes and self-reflective monologues. However, I had to find out for sure, so we asked Emily what she learnt from being a dating columnist for the Sunday Times’ Style magazine. “Like any single woman, I’ve been on a lot of dates and I found that everyone I went on, it went worse than the time before. I had an appalling time. Appalling! The men in question were rude to waitresses… Or told me I asked stupid questions… Or criticised my appearance… Or flat out lied to me for absolutely no discernible reason at all…” Sounds awful!
“So, the first thing I learned was if you have to force yourself to do something you don’t want to do (but probably should do for the sake of your eventual future happiness) then get a national newspaper column, because then there is no way out of it. (Although I did spend about five columns prevaricating, whining and weeping, trying to cry off.)” Yup, prevaricating, whining and weeping sounds about right!
She went on to say, “I want to find love, but I don’t know how dating helps with this. The last man I was seeing treated me so shoddily, I cried and cried and cried and thought, ‘nope, not doing this anymore. If I die alone, at least it’ll be more dignified.’ Then I sent him a message calling him a prick. And he admitted he was. So, is that dignified? Probably not. But I think a lot of women feel like me and they don’t get a column in a national newspaper to moan about it. I felt like I was speaking for a forgotten ignored horde of women which made me feel extremely honoured, so I was very lucky. Big hugs to all the ladies who’ve not yet found love. Remember: your pursuit is brave and you are brilliant.” Agreed, as Amy Winehouse once said (and it does feel like it sometimes…)
Love = Dating Apps? Question of the Day
With the subject of love on the table, you know that dating apps doesn’t fall that far behind. It’s a lot of people’s go-to option now. Commonly heard question, if you’re not using dating apps, are you even trying?! The jury is still out on that one. Of course, we wanted to hear a dating expert’s opinion on dating apps and the significant role they are playing in how we meet people today.
Emily’s view is one that resonates with a lot of single people today; “I think that dating apps have done to love and romance what the machines did to the human race in Terminator II. I think the only people having fun on dating apps are the men I no longer get to denounce in Sunday Times Style. My next book will be my revenge… They shall all rue the day…” It is true that dating apps aren’t for everyone. I always say the best revenge to the men who have scorned you is living your best life without them! 🙂
Talking about dating apps and bad dates was a nice segue into Emily’s book, Bad Romance. We didn’t want to give any spoilers, BUT we did want you guys to have a little idea of what you would be in for. She told us; “Bad Romance is a collection of 19 short stories and a novella. Writing in The Spectator, Julie Burchill said it ‘made Girls look like Little Women.’ My favourite (five star, get in…) Amazon review said it was like ‘Bridget Jones meets Black Mirror.’ It’s dark, but I hope it’s funny.” Dark and funny is as good as humour can get. We’re in!
The App and Farewells
You guys know what it is. It’s time for the part of the interview where we ask for our creative to come up with some questions for the CLiKD app. Emily came up with 3.
- Would you date a Brexiteer?
- On a first date: split the bill or gentleman pays?
- Fyodor Dostoevsky or Nick Hornby?
Once in a while, we like to throw in a curveball question, so we asked Emily if she could live in any place in the world, real or fictional, where would it be and why. She told us,“I need to write my next book so badly. I wish someone would ship me off to Jamaica to the Cocosan villa at Geejam where I could swim in the beautiful lagoons and waterfalls alone by day and, at night, write to the cacophony made by tree-frogs in the steamy jungle air. Not even the mosquitoes fancy me these days, so I’d be quite untroubled and would have space and time to craft my plots…” Jamaica sounds perfect. We might have to tagalong, if you don’t mind!
Lastly, before we say goodbye, we asked Emily what she thinks the future holds for her and her work. We want to know if we should be on the lookout for anything exciting! She did not disappoint. “My next book. A film adaptation of my first short story, Julia’s Baby. Maybe more date chronicles. My sporadic encounters just keeping getting worse and worse… I have so much damn material…!” Hopefully, the only way is up but we look forward to hearing more of what you have to say!
Thanks so much to Emily Hill for chatting with us! It was a pleasure and all the best in the future!
Emily Hill Link’s: