Gillian-PhilipGillian Philip

Gillian Philip was born in 1964 in Glasgow where her father was an Episcopalian priest. In 1975 her family moved to Aberdeen, where she spent a ludicrous amount of time on the beach. When not swimming in a chilly sea, she liked nothing better than shutting herself in her room to write stories, mainly spy thrillers that lasted about 5 pages and involved Captain Scarlet, the Man from U.N.C.L.E. and a lot of horses.

English was her favourite and best school subject, so inexplicably she chose at university to read Politics & International Relations. Her studies on left-wing extremism, traditional urban terrorism, and Cold War diplomacy all became promptly obsolete.
Instead of applying herself to a career, she worked as a music shop assistant, a wine sales rep, a theatre usherette and barmaid, political assistant to an aspiring MP, and the typesetter at the university’s student newspaper. She was briefly a co-presenter on a local radio Sunday morning programme, a job for which she was uniquely ill-suited, having an inclination to swear under stress.

She married the aspiring MP in 1989 and a year later they moved to Barbados, staying for twelve years. To avoid spending her entire life in a beach bar she took up writing seriously, and her short stories were published by the People’s Friend, My Weekly and Woman’s Weekly. In the evenings she worked as a singer in a band in an Irish bar, playing a combination of Celtic folk rock, reggae and calypso. She still thinks this is the best fun she’s ever had that didn’t involve writing.

In 2001, following the birth of her twins, Gillian came home to Scotland permanently. She has since returned to writing full-time, concentrating on Young Adult novels. She now lives near Dallas in the countryside of Moray, with husband Ian, six-year-old twins Lucy and Jamie, and Oscar, a terrier puppy with an unfortunate taste for longhand notebooks. When writing and children permit, her hobbies are horse riding and fencing (epeé). Following her idle twenties, she hopes never to retire again – writing being the only job that lets you play with your imaginary friends till the small hours.

Life of The Party; Mind’s Eye ( Shades – Evans), Bad Faith (Strident Publishing), Crossing The Line(Bloomsbury), Firebrand (Strident), The Opposite of Amber (Bloomsbury); Bloodstone (August 2011)

Crossing The LIne was longlisted for the 2010 Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the2010 Angus Book Award. TTToCrossing The Line

The Opposite of Amber

philiptheoppofambercoverresizedThey found the fifth girl right after the snow melted …the place where he left her was winter water, crazed with ice-feathers and dusted with snow. The traces from her body were gone, the ones that said his name, but she had an extra skin of ice that protected her and she looked perfect, like Snow White.’ Ruby and her older sister, Jinn, are on their own, just about making ends meet. Jinn is beautiful, with glittering blonde hair, and makes it her business to look after Ruby. They are horrified by, but try to ignore, the local newspaper stories of prostitutes who are murdered, their bodies eventually discovered underwater. Then the no-good Nathan Baird turns up on the scene – again – and Jinn starts to change and no longer has time to look after Ruby. And it seems to Ruby that Jinn herself needs looking after. Her beautiful glittering hair starts to lose its shine. And then Jinn disappears. This is a deeply moving, chilling, and incredibly powerful thriller that celebrates the love two sisters have for each other and mourns the events beyond their control that will conspire to drive them apart.

‘If it hadn’t been for the encouragement, advice and practical help from Hilary and her readers, I’d have given up on writing. It can be soul-destroying never to know where you’re going wrong – and where you’re going right, too. I’d recommend Hilary’s service to any aspiring writer – when you’ve been banging your head against a wall, it feels so liberating when someone takes that wall down brick by brick.’~Gillian Philip