With a countryside upbringing in beautiful Devon followed by life in exotic locations such as Singapore and Hong Kong, one could say the childhood of Portishead author Lor Hill will have given her rich experiences to draw from and inspire her to write. Lor moved to Portishead 12 years ago and loves the energy of the place. When she’s not walking along the stunning coastal paths or seeing live bands at the weekend, she puts pen to paper and has just written her first novel – Kitty Black. We were intrigued to find out more…

Please tell us about your career to date…

I worked in publishing for over two decades. I started at Chivers in Bath, which became BBC AudioBooks and then AudioGo. I was then head-hunted by an Australian company called Bolinda. Part of my job involved attending conferences and I met many inspiring authors including Jacqueline Wilson, Zadie Smith and Irvine Welsh. They were always asked what their writing day looked like - they differed hugely - but they all made the point to ‘just do it.’

North Somerset Times: Portishead resident Lor Hill at the launch of her new book, Kitty BlackPortishead resident Lor Hill at the launch of her new book, Kitty Black

When did you start writing stories?

I was about nine when I realised it was the thing I loved doing most. I was lucky at that time to have a very encouraging English teacher; he brought words to life for me. By my teens I had entered and won a few writing competitions and in my twenties several of my short stories and poems were published in women’s magazines. Writing was my escape but after a divorce my career took precedence with two sons to care for. I would listen to the audio books I sold in the car as I travelled up, down and across country and often wondered if I had it in me to write a whole book! I started to trawl through my old diaries and journals until I thought I had a plot but ended up sticking it in a cupboard in frustration. From time to time I would pull it out but just couldn’t get much further. I was accepted on an MA Creative Writing course at Bath Spa University just before Covid. I won’t lie and say it was easy, but it turned out to be the very thing I needed to at least produce half a book by the end of the course - and my personal tutor was Fay Weldon! After Covid set in I created a pretty stringent routine for myself which eventually saw me complete my story.

Is Kitty Black your first novel?

Yes, this is my first novel. It follows the life of hopeless optimist, Kitty Black, from her traumatic adolescence through to aimless adulthood but ends on a satisfyingly happy note. It is a story about relationships, lives unfulfilled, resilience and above all - hope.

Are you planning to write more books?

Never say never! I have recently moved into a ‘doer upper’ where my days are spent sanding, painting, cleaning - repeat. I want to enjoy seeing the transformation of my very own home and savour my independence. But I know how writing gets you! Several people have urged me to write another one and as I move from room to room, ideas are formulating…maybe one of these days I’ll fire up the computer and just do it!

Kitty Black by Lor Hill can be bought at Troubador Publishing as a paperback for £9.99 or £4.99 as an e-book, and on Amazon as a paperback for £9.19 or Kindle edition.