Author Interview: Charlie Hills

Author Bio Charlie Hills,
author of Why Your Last Diet Failed You

Charlie Hills has been working on an epic fantasy novel like no other for the past fifteen years. And now, after years and years of research, hard work, and completely wearing out two thesauruses, he spits out this completely different book which has nothing to do with his primary writing passion: a book about dieting. After all, what the world needs is another dang diet book.

As far as the epic fantasy novel goes, he’s currently working on his second paragraph.

Author Interview:

Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?

Charlie Hills: By day I’m a software developer. And I’ve been doing that, oh, just about every day for the past twenty years. It’s a lot of fun and I highly recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind working fourteen hour days.

What compelled you to write your book?

Charlie Hills: One night as I lay sleeping in bed, my future son (who unbeknownst to me had traveled back in time thirty years) put on a radiation suit, snuck into my bedroom, placed a pairof headphones over my ears and commanded me to write this book. I guess you could say it was my density.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Charlie Hills: I know I’m supposed to say “yes” to this question, but being a writer never even occurred to me until 1993. I had just got done writing a rather thick software manual. As I watched the laser printer slowly turn out copies of this tome, a little spark went off in my head. “Wouldn’t it be cool if that was something someone actually wanted to read?”

Tell us a little bit about your most recent book.

Charlie Hills: “This book is the inspiring true story of one man as he loses seventeen thousand pounds in just one hundred and ninety-two months. Unfortunately, he gained it all back last Thanksgiving.”

The main story arc spans years of dieting ups and downs, a condition to which, oh, ninety-eight percent of readers should easily relate. From Slim-Fast plans to cheeseburger benders, I follow every dazzling success with utter failure.

Of course, in and of itself, this would be a truly painful read if the subject weren’t tackled head on with satire and irreverent humor. Attached to the story are many topical tangents. I give irreverent reviews of popular diets, teach the reader how to start his or her own diet craze, clarify why Pop-Tarts are certainly not “an excellent source of vitamins and minerals”, tell the frightening tale of the Pancakes of Death, and explain how diet sodas bring all the broken pieces of my life together.

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Charlie Hills: Tired. I got something to drink and just took a nap.

What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

Charlie Hills: It depends on what I’m writing. Most of the time I don’t listen to anything, preferring quiet time to give my brain some much needed room to think.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?

Charlie Hills: Ramen noodles.

(Michy asks: Hey, Charlie – are those on your diet?)

What is the one thing that you are most proud of in your life?

Charlie Hills: I remember one time when someone asked me what was the one thing I was most proud of in my life, and I had the courage to just say, “I have no idea.”

Has your family been supportive of your writing?

Charlie Hills: Um, you’d better ask them directly.

Hey, let’s get morbid. When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your book/s and writing? What do you hope they will say about you?

Charlie Hills: What’s so morbid about that? I think about this at least every other day. My obituary will say, “If only he’d started that epic fantasy novel one week sooner, he would have lived to see its publication next week.” About the best I can hope for is that people will say, “I sure liked being around him. I’m really going to miss him. And all that money of his.”

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?

Charlie Hills: I sit facing a wall at a built-in desk I installed a few years ago. The under-cabinet halogen lights are set on low and the iPod is powered up, but paused. It’s nighttime and everyone else is asleep. About five minutes ago I had a brilliant idea for a scene, but now it’s gone and I have no idea what to write. But if and when it does come back to me, I will write it using a computer keyboard. I cannot write with my hand and a pen. I’ve tried it many times. It just doesn’t work.

Does television or film influence or inspire your writing?

Charlie Hills: Television does in the sense that ninety percent of what little viewing I do is on the History channel. I find shows which I think will be relevant to the next book project and try to find ideas there. As for film, I enjoy good storytelling (even the predictable kind) and therefore try to pick apart the story and fit the parts to the various stages of the monomyth.

What genre is your book and what popular author do you think your writing style in this book is most like?

Charlie Hills: The book is a humor book. I try to write like Bill Bryson but every once in a while it comes out like Dave Barry. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (other than the fact it’s supposed to be a Charlie Hills book).

Now, anything else you want your readers to know.
My book is available from my website at It’s also available from and, and on the shelves at BookPeople in Austin, Texas. If all goes well, it will be available on many more bookshelves as time goes on. If not, come by my house next spring.


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2 comments to Author Interview: Charlie Hills

  • The Aphasia Decoder....  says:

    I’ve put this book on my ‘want list.’ Thanks for pointing it out.

  • Anonymous  says:

    I liked this book. It made me laugh and also think about the destructive ways I eat. I could realate to almost everything he said and it all made sense.

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