Unravelling an erotic thriller

Lisa Hilton is a British author who has written under the pen-name of L.S. Hilton and is making waves for her latest erotic thriller Domina. Domina is a sequel to New York Times bestseller Maestra, a hugely successful introduction to the Judith Rashleigh novels. The book was first published in the United Kingdom on April 6, 2017 by Zaffre Publishing and is set in Paris, Milan, UK and Switzerland. A major motion picture of Maestra is in development, from the producer of Ghostbusters and the screenwriter of The Girl on the Train. The series has drawn comparisons from international publishers and film personnel to Gone Girl and The Talented Mr Ripley. Lisa, a well-known and widely published British author, journalist, biographer and art critic was in Bengaluru recently and spoke to RITZ Magazine about her journey as a writer and her latest novel. Since Maestra’s publication last year, Lisa has been named Glamour Magazine’s ‘Writer of the Year’ and as one of PORTER magazine’s #IncredibleWomen of 2016. Sony Pictures have acquired Maestra’s film rights: Amy Pascal (Ghostbusters) is scheduled to produce the film with the screenplay written by Erin Cressida Wilson (The Girl on the Train, Secretary). Maestra was the Sunday Times number 1 bestseller and a New York Times bestseller. An opera librettist, she wrote Love Hurts, with music by Nicola Moro in late 2016 and the opera received its first performance in Milano at the Piccolo Teatro on 25 June 2016, conducted by James Ross. The US premiere followed in New York City, at Symphony Space, on 28 October 2016. She also curated the recent (controversial) Caravaggio show with Dr James Bradburne, the Anglo-Canadian director of the Pinacoteca di Brera gallery. Lisa has lived in Key West, New York, Paris and Milan, and is presently based in London. Her latest book, Domina released in India in May 2017.

  1. When was your first tryst with writing? What did you like about the art of creative writing and when and how did you decide that this is what you wanted to do professionally?

Lisa: I was published professionally at 11, when I wrote romantic short stories for “Jackie” magazine (the best paid job I have ever had!). I never really thought I would have any other job, although I can’t say I like writing- it’s only ever a permanent dialogue with one’s own inadequacy.

   2. How has the journey been over the years? What have been some of the most memorable moments and the highpoints so far?

Lisa: I’ve had some odd writing jobs- ghosting for a sports star, writing press for a pashmina company (how many synonyms are there for “soft”?), but I feel I have been very lucky to write professionally all my working life. Travelling has been a huge adventure since the publication of “maestra” and “Domina”, not least to India, a country I had always dreamed of visiting.

  1. Tell us more about your latest book about Domina?

Lisa: “Domina” is the second volume of the “Maestra” trilogy, a fast paced, glamorous erotic thriller set in the European art world. The plot revolves around Judith Rashleigh who has made it in life. Living in luxury amidst the splendours of Venice, she’s finally enjoying the life she killed for. But someone knows what Judith’s done. Judith can only save herself by finding a priceless painting – unfortunately, one that she’s convinced doesn’t even exist. And she’s not the only one seeking it. This time, Judith isn’t in control. Outflanked and out-thought, outrun and outgunned, she faces an enemy more ruthless and more powerful than she ever imagined. And if she doesn’t win, she dies.

  1. What is your schedule for your India visit?

Lisa: Sadly, I am only in India for a very short time, but I know I am going to come back! In Bengaluru, we are working with Books and Brews, a fantastic literary event at the Humming Tree, and also doing signings across the city.

  1. Any inspirations that you would like to share with us?

Lisa: I’m fascinated by Old Master paintings- Caravaggio’s work is a big theme in this book, and by casting a satirical eye on some of the most iconic European travel destinations such as the French Riviera.

  1. What are your other passions and hobbies?

Lisa: I love to cook and I write a restaurant column, so the chance to try some real Indian food has been a revelation! I am now addicted to chole, coconut chutney and masala chai.

— As told to Namita Gupta.