Episode 96: Writing the Anti-Hero – Interview with L.S. Hilton

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there Word Nerds!

I’m so glad you joined me for this episode of DIY MFA Radio because it’s going to be a juicy one.

Today I’m speaking with L.S. Hilton, author of Maestra. She grew up in England and has lived in Key West, New York City, Paris, and Milan, and after graduating from Oxford, she studied art history in Paris and Florence. She has worked as a journalist, art critic, and broadcaster and is presently based in London.

In this episode L.S. and I discuss:

  • Writing a flawed, yet sympathetic anti-hero.
  • Weaving intense elements like violence and sex into the narrative without making it gratuitous.
  • The role of art as an influence in narrative.
  • The difference between the British and the American editorial processes.

Plus, L.S. Hilton’s #1 tip for writers.



Judith has come a long way from her mother’s grimy flat in Liverpool. She has taught herself French and Italian, consumed literature, and traveled through Europe learning to squash her accent and blend in with the cultured set. When she lands a job at British Pictures, one of the best auction houses in London, she believes her hard work and hard won knowledge has finally paid off, but quickly realizes the job is mostly fetching coffee for her odious boss Rupert. A chance encounter with a girl from her past leads to a gig moonlighting at a champagne bar as a well-compensated companion for lonely drinkers, because her best Sandro suit has been worn to bits and honestly, she could use some attention.

When Judith believes Rupert has mistakenly purchased a forgery she sees her chance to distinguish herself in the department and save the House from a major faux pas. Yet, when Rupert discovers her closely examining the painting he instantly fires her. With nowhere else to turn and her perfect future in ruins she turns to an old friend from her youth: Rage.

Feeling reckless, Judith accompanies one of the champagne bar’s biggest clients to the French Riviera, but something goes terribly wrong and she decides to shed her identity completely. Tired of striving and the slow crawl to the top, Judith realizes: If you need to turn yourself into someone else, loneliness is a good place to start. And she’s been lonely a long time. It’s time for a new woman, with much better clothes, to take whatever she wants, however she can get it.

A glamorous, ferocious thriller, Maestra (G.P. Putnam’s Sons; On Sale April 19, 2016) is the beginning of a razor-sharp trilogy that introduces this darkly irresistible femme fatale whose vulnerability and ruthlessness will keep you guessing until the last page.

To learn more about L.S. Hilton and her books, visit her website or follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Link to Episode 96

(Right-click to download.)

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome.


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