Gerri Hill - The Killing Room

For our February 2022 meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed The Killing Room by Gerri Hill. If you weren't able to make it, check out the transcript below.

A couple of notes on the transcript:

If you want to join us live, we discuss lesfic novels every month at (sign up or follow me on Twitter to find out what we're reading next). Some chat participants requested that their names be obscured, so below you'll see that everyone has been anonymized as Reader 1, Reader 2, etc.

Gerri Hill 4:00 PM

Hello everyone!

Reader 1 4:00 PM

Woohoo! Hello :slightly_smiling_face:

Reader 2 4:01 PM

Hi Gerri, thanks for joining us! Do you remember how this goes down from last time or would you like a quick refresher?

Gerri Hill 4:01 PM

I think I just pop in and answer questions, right?

Reader 3 4:01 PM

Yes :smiling_face_with_3_hearts:

Reader 2 4:02 PM

You got it!

Gerri Hill 4:02 PM

This is an older book and I actually started listening to it this morning...not finished, but it's a refresher of sorts.

Reader 2 4:02 PM

So what did everyone think of The Killing Room?

Reader 3 4:02 PM

I love The Killing Room. Not as much as The Locket but it's close!

Reader 4 4:03 PM

I loved it. It was my first Gerri Hill read. Gripping! I couldn't put it down.

Reader 1 4:03 PM

I listened to it for the second time to prepare for this book club, and it was just as good. I have to ask - because I've read a lot of your books, @Gerri Hill, and they are ALL good. Is there a "secret?" A formula? What's your writing process?

Reader 3 4:04 PM

I love how they meet it's one of my favorites!

Gerri Hill 4:04 PM

A secret? Well, I write about things I like! Not necessarily murder!

This one was sort of a two part...the first in the mountains, with them meeting...completely different than the second part with the murders.

Reader 4 4:05 PM

I loved the random meet then oh wait...there's more! lol Like how awkward would that be??

Reader 5 4:06 PM

I love that all your mystery books don't leave us with the obvious, we knew from chapter 1 type resolutions. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Reader 4 4:07 PM

I have to ask... WHAT'S JAKE'S GIVEN NAME?? lol I kept waiting, reading, waiting...did I miss it??

Gerri Hill 4:07 PM

I'm not sure how to answer that...just saying that "ideas come to me" seems trivial, but that's really kinda what happens. I do try hard to keep the bad guy covered!

Jake's name? No, no, won't get it out of me!

Reader 3 4:08 PM

I was wondering Jake's name too!!!!

Reader 6 4:08 PM

Late to the party sorry

Reader 4 4:09 PM

So that is the greatest mystery of them all??

Reader 3 4:09 PM

I need the name please???

I love Jake and Nicole! One of my favorite couples of yours so far!

Reader 1 4:10 PM

So, @Gerri Hill, how much of your (real) life do you put into your books?

Gerri Hill 4:10 PM

Actually, the "jake" name came about because I have a friend named Harriet who's nickname was "Jake" so that's kinda where that came from.

Reader 2 4:10 PM

Jeez, y’all trying to deadname poor Jake, let her be :joy:

Reader 1 4:10 PM


Reader 3 4:11 PM

No :joy:

Reader 2 4:11 PM

When you’re writing a mystery, do you know how it’s all going to play out or does it come to you as you’re writing it?

Gerri Hill 4:12 PM

My real life? Well, some for sure. I'm an "outdoor" person and love nature so a lot of that comes out in my books. But a lot of my characters like a good steak and I do not! A lot of my characters don't cook...and I love to.

I rarely know the outcome!

I sometimes have an outline but that usually goes away as I start writing.

Reader 4 4:13 PM

I loved how I just knew something was off about the bad guy but the mystery remained all the way through!

Reader 5 4:13 PM

When it comes to the realistic nature of your writing in terms of the police procedural and investigation etc… did you do research early in your writing career and rely on that for all the subsequent books or do you find that you do research for each independently?

Gerri Hill 4:14 PM

My next book, Timber Falls, started out completely different than how it turned out. Completely. So I usually go with the flow when writing and change directions if need be.

Reader 1 4:14 PM

Have you hiked the same paths Jake and Nicole hiked? I'm guessing yes, because I'm pretty sure the Collegiate Peaks showed up in some of your other books. But I gotta ask

Gerri Hill 4:15 PM

I do research and I have a friend who is a police officer...but I've found that it is so very different in each department.

Reader 3 4:15 PM

I knew it was him... It's was a really good lead and I was second guessing myself the entire time! I loved it!

Reader 6 4:16 PM

I could really relate to the struggle to get back what she had lost after the first shooting. How did you get that much insight into what it feels like to start over.

Gerri Hill 4:16 PM

I've been to Tin Cup several times...but mostly in a Jeep!

Reader 1 4:17 PM

Wow - so all research then?

Reader 3 4:18 PM

What gave you the idea for The Killing Room??

Gerri Hill 4:18 PM

I've hiked a lot of Colorado trails and spent time in that area....but I've never gotten lost!

Reader's been too many years to remember!!

Reader 3 4:19 PM


Reader 1 4:19 PM

If you don't know something, do you write first, then research and fix - or research first, then write?

Gerri Hill 4:20 PM

Usually research first or as I'm writing.

Reader 3 4:20 PM

Do you prefer writing the mystery or your romance books more??

Reader 5 4:21 PM

Sorta like @Reader 3’s question. Do you write your favorite type of books to read or do you have another favorite, like horror or something?

Following that up with what/who are you reading right now?

Gerri Hill 4:21 PM

The romance books are easier to write but I prefer the mystery...they are more challenging and interesting to me. I started out writing only romance.

Reader 1 4:22 PM

Who's your favorite character that you've written?

Gerri Hill 4:23 PM

To be honest, I rarely read fiction. I don't want to be influenced by other authors. Besides that, there is so little time!

Reader 6 4:23 PM

I'm from Central Montana and my favorite book of yours is Snow Falls because of your take on what it's like to be stranded by snow.

Reader 1 4:23 PM

Speaking of many hours a day/week do you write? It seems like every time I finish one of your books, another 5 come out.

Reader 3 4:23 PM

That makes me happy! Cause I love your mystery books! They are one of my favorites to read!

Gerri Hill 4:23 PM

My favorite character is CJ in Keepers of the Cave/Weeping Walls.

Reader 3 4:24 PM

Yes! Snow Falls was really good too!!!!

Reader 1 4:24 PM

Ah! I loved that book too. (Keepers of the Cave)

Gerri Hill 4:24 PM

It takes about 6 months to write a I write nearly every day.

Reader 3 4:24 PM

I haven't read them yet... But going to soon they are on my list of books next to read of yours

Reader 1 4:24 PM

What's your biggest challenge when it comes to writing?

Gerri Hill 4:27 PM

My biggest challenge is keeping my butt in the chair to write! There are so many distractions (the bird feeders need filling, the lawn needs mowing, the garden needs to be watered...oh, time to start dinner, etc) that it's difficult to make myself write sometimes.

Reader 3 4:27 PM

What's your least favorite part of writing?

Reader 1 4:28 PM

So, how many productive hours do you generally spend on the writing process on days when you write?

...and do you ever stare at a blank screen? If so, what do you do to get back into the flow?

Gerri Hill 4:29 PM

I don't really have a least favorite part. It's still fun to create new characters and plan their lives for them!! The editing process is painless. After so many books, it's routine at this point. I'd say getting started on a new book is the hardest. Once I get into it and feel them, then it flows pretty easily.

Productive hours??!! Yeah, there is some staring at a blank screen! Like...what the hell do I want to say and why isn't it flowing?!

Reader 2 4:30 PM

The editing process is painless?! That’s a superpower if I ever heard one

Reader 1 4:31 PM

So, in editing The Killing Room, did you kill off any scene you really loved?

Gerri Hill 4:31 PM

To get back into the flow...I will start reading it from the beginning and that will sometimes cause me to make changes (sometimes big changes) and sometimes to start completely over.

Reader 3 4:31 PM

Right?! I think the editing part would be so hard. Specially when cutting things and what not

To get back into the flow...I will start reading it from the beginning and that will sometimes cause me to make changes (sometimes big changes) and sometimes to start completely over.

That's how get my flow back when writing. Is rereading the whole thing! It helps so much

Gerri Hill 4:33 PM

No, I've not ever had to "kill" scenes so I guess I've been lucky in that regard.

Reader 3 4:33 PM

Yay! For you

How do you decide when you need to make a book a series compared to a stand alone

Reader 1 4:37 PM

How did you end up a writer? Was it a decision? An accident? If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing instead?

Gerri Hill 4:38 PM

As a rule, I don't really like sequels. Especially romance books. There are some with recurring characters (No Strings/Snow Falls....Rainbow Cedar/The Midnight Moon, etc) but not exactly sequels. Mostly, it's if I like the characters enough to return to them. The Hunter gang, Cameron and Andrea from Devil's Rock/Hell's Highway...and of course, CJ and Paige. They are really my favorites, with Tori and Sam being a close second.

Reader 5 4:40 PM

Books should have blooper chapters. If you had a blooper chapter or whole book of bloopers which of your books or characters would be featured the most from having changed most drastically from planning to the final book?

Gerri Hill 4:40 PM

It was a complete accident!! I always liked writing but never considered doing it, you know. This is an old story, but we lived in Colorado years ago and had a brutal winter in a tiny cabin and I had a couple of books to read...and decided to write my own!

Reader 1 4:41 PM

Well, thank goodness for bad weather!

Reader 3 4:41 PM

Nice! I love the Hunter Gang! They were the first books of yours I read after reading The Neighbor and The Secret Pond!

Gerri Hill 4:41 PM

Bloopers? The started out a completely different book than it ended up. And the upcoming Timber Falls. I did FOUR plot changes to that one so lots of bloopers there! Completely different characters too!

I love The Secret Pond. When I listened to it the first time, it made me cry. (I'm a sap!)

Reader 6 4:42 PM

Secret Pond was great as well

Reader 3 4:42 PM

Oh nice! Would you consider actually publishing a book of just "bloopers" from discarded changes from your books??

Gerri Hill 4:43 PM

No way!

Reader 1 4:43 PM

What's a question you really wish someone would ask?

Reader 2 4:44 PM

And also the answer :joy:

Gerri Hill 4:44 PM

Ha ha!

How many of you read The Cottage?

Reader 1 4:44 PM

I Have

Oh - I had to look at the cover to remember. Holy shit what an awesome book that was.

Favorite ending, ever.

Gerri Hill 4:46 PM

It wasn't well received...but I love it.

Reader 3 4:46 PM

It's on my list to read lol

Gerri Hill 4:46 PM

Another book of mine that I loved more than readers did....Paradox Valley!

Reader 3 4:46 PM

That's also on my list that's actually my next read :joy:

Gerri Hill 4:47 PM

I hope you enjoy it!

Reader 1 4:47 PM

I barely remember that one - I'll have to re-read it. What is it about those books, do you think, that makes some people not like them (and makes you love them)?

Reader 6 4:47 PM

I did read that one and it was extremely enjoyable.

Gerri Hill 4:48 PM

Not sure. I try to write for myself...and things I like. If I worried about what readers thought, it would drive me crazy.

Reader 3 4:48 PM

I'm sure I will! I haven't read a book from you yet that's disappointed me!

Reader 1 4:48 PM

Ditto, @Reader 3

Reader 2 4:49 PM

Do you think those weren’t well received for any particular reason or did the great Marketing Void/Amazon just grab them?

Reader 6 4:50 PM

Looking at my library, your books are leading the pack by a mile. I have read more of your titles that any other author. I love your characters and locations.

Reader 1 4:50 PM

I can't imagine anyone not liking The Cottage - except, maybe, for the sad-ish ending?

Reader 3 4:50 PM

That's the way to do it! That's how you can continue to love what you do! You have to enjoy what your writing to keep it really being good. I think that's why some authors have such hard times at times .... They want to try to make the readers happy when it's about enjoying what you do. Not everyone is going to like it but that's okay. That one book could be life changing for someone else

Gerri Hill 4:50 PM

Yes, sometimes Amazon puts them in weird places. The Cottage was not a happy ending, so there's that. Paradox Valley was kinda strange, I guess!!

Reader 5 4:51 PM

replied to a thread:

Yes, sometimes Amazon puts them in weird places. The Cottage was not a happy ending, so there's that. Paradox Valley was kinda strange, I guess!!

In an awesome way! It was so different, I loved it!

Gerri Hill 4:51 PM

I loved the travel in Paradox Valley and I loved Miss Jean.

Reader 3 4:51 PM

Not every book needs a happy ending.

Reader 4 4:53 PM

I agree with that! But romance they tend to expect a HEA.

Reader 1 4:53 PM

It was a different kind of happy ending with The Cottage...

Reader 3 4:54 PM

Most traditional romance yes... They want the HEA but sometimes it's necessary to break that for the story. You don't want to force it if it isn't gonna work for them.

Reader 1 4:55 PM

@Gerri Hill do you spend your non-writing time thinking about your books/characters? Or do you shift to other things?

Reader 3 4:55 PM

I think that's why I get so tired of Romance all the time... It's always gonna be the same outcome with them together.

Gerri Hill 4:57 PM

Yes, a lot of my non-writing time is spent thinking of new characters and stories. Too much sometimes, I think! But that's how I get to know them and make them real...I spend quite a bit of time with them before I start writing.

Reader 1 4:57 PM

Do you keep them in your head, or take notes when you think of something?

...and do you ever write two stories concurrently, or do you stick with one at a time?

Also, do you have a goal as an author? If so, what is it?

Gerri Hill 4:58 PM

Both. I record conversations too...different scenes and dialogue. That doesn't always make it into the book but it's giving me a feeling for the characters and their personalities.

I never write two stores at once! But I will, when I'm coming to the end of one book, start making notes of a new one.

Reader 5 5:00 PM

I just love how all your books are so very different. I always know when I pick up one of your books it will keep me engaged the whole time.

Gerri Hill 5:00 PM

A goal? I try to write two books a year and each takes about 6 I sometimes meet that and sometimes don't!

Reader 2 5:01 PM

Both. I record conversations too...different scenes and dialogue. That doesn't always make it into the book but it's giving me a feeling for the characters and their personalities.

That’s a great idea - like when a snippet of dialog comes into your head while you’re away from your computer?

Gerri Hill 5:01 PM

Thanks Reader's very hard to make them fresh and different. Especially since a lot of my settings are the same.

I'm going to surprise you all someday and having a setting IN THE CITY SOMEWHERE!

Reader 3 5:02 PM

Are you going to write another Paranormal mystery book in the future???

Reader 5 5:02 PM

I can't imagine how challenging it is!

Gerri Hill 5:04 PM

Oh paranormal....that just kinda happened. Keepers of the Cave wasn't intended to be paranormal...just different! Same with Paradox Valley. And I guess Gillette Park is in there too. I don't know....probably. Even though those books aren't the best sellers, I enjoy writing stuff that's different.

Reader 3 5:05 PM

I love Paranormal and there's not really a lot out there in the Lesfic community it seems that I actually enjoy! So it would be nice!

Reader 5 5:05 PM

We keep mentioning books and I'm here like, oh my gosh I loved that book, add back to downloaded to read again. My to read list has basically doubled in the last hour for rereads of your books.

Reader 3 5:06 PM

Oh Reader 5!!!

Reader 1 5:06 PM

What's something you wish your readers would know?

Gerri Hill 5:08 PM

Writing is a labor of love...and very time consuming and heart wrenching sometimes. I think readers go through a book in a handful of hours and don't realize how involved the process is.

Reader 6 5:09 PM

I'm a slow reader so you don't have to worry about me going through a book in a handful of hours.

Reader 3 5:09 PM

Pretty much. There's so much going on to a book you have read in less then 3 hours

Reader 1 5:09 PM

Well, I appreciate all your productive (and non-productive) hours...and just how prolific you are. When I need something good to read, I know I can count on your books.

Gerri Hill 5:10 PM

Thanks Reader 1...I appreciate that!

Reader 6 5:11 PM

I read and digest your books. They are such a joy to read.

Reader 3 5:11 PM

What's your tip for anew author

Gerri Hill 5:11 PM

A tip would be to write what you enjoy. Write what makes you happy. And to write as if you will be the only one reading it!

Reader 3 5:12 PM

Love that!

Gerri Hill 5:13 PM

Okay...if there are no more questions....I have bird feeders to fill!

Reader 5 5:13 PM

Thank you so much for your time!

Gerri Hill 5:14 PM

I enjoyed it so much! Thanks for asking me!

Reader 3 5:14 PM

Thank you for joining us Gerri!!!!! I love your books and you! And appreciate your love for what you do!!!!

Reader 6 5:14 PM

Thanks for such good books and spending time with us.

Gerri Hill 5:14 PM

Thanks Reader 3!

Reader 3 5:14 PM

Your most welcome!!!!!!

Reader 1 5:15 PM

Thanks for your time & all the answers...and of course, the books!

Gerri Hill 5:15 PM

My pleasure!