If she wasn’t a writer and artist, Hilary Wagner says that she’d be a marine biologist, a fashion designer, or an archaeologist. “I dream big!” Hilary says. Which is why she delivers the kind of stories that require a huge imagination. For instance, in her Nightshade Council series, Hilary creates a subterranean world in which a once-peaceful kingdom of rats must battle an evil dictatorship.
“I love beautifully written, colorful stories, which leave me thinking about them the next day—a touch of creepy doesn’t hurt either!” Hilary says. In her research, she learned that rats are actually quite intelligent, can recognize their own names, and laugh when you tickle them.
So Hilary wrote about brainy rats living in an underground world. “As a kid, I wished strange and unusual things would happen,” she explains. “When I realized those things couldn’t happen in real life, I put pen to paper and made them happen!”
Find out more about how Hilary gets a novel started (once she develops the characters, the plot unfolds), how to deal with rejection from publishers (one of her books was rejected 175 times!), and much more —in this month’s The Studio.