Hilly Barmby’s Publication Journey

Hilly Barmby’s Publication Journey

Welcome to Hilly Barmby’s Publication Journey, another in the occasional series of guest posts by authors who reveal their journey to getting published.

Hilly’s latest book, a psychological thriller, is out this month. Best Served Cold is published by Hobeck Books.

Over to Hilly:

 My journey to publication

I’ve always been a daydreamer and a reader. I think I daydreamed my way through school, read my way through my years at art college and then finally decided to join the dots. My first foray was an autobiographical novel which a particular agent said was ‘laughably awful and this might make you laugh but we certainly didn’t’ or some such words. Ho-hum! Not one to give up (and I did laugh), I wrote my first middle-grade novel, which, truth be, is still unpublished. I sent this manuscript off to Cornerstones Literary Consultancy to be ripped apart (and they certainly did and at that point, I did nearly stop writing) but I persevered and started to send this little book out, revising endlessly as I went.

Since then, I have written more middle-grade books, (one being long-listed in the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition) and then progressed onto YA, and adult books. A lot of them have been critiqued by Cornerstones until I figured I could stand on my own two feet and more pointedly, I couldn’t afford them anymore. I hoped by then, I’d learnt the lessons they had taught me, which were invaluable and worth every penny.

I then stepped completely out of my comfort zone on a ‘what if’ moment, after watching activist Michael Moore’s film Bowling for Columbine. I wrote a psychological thriller set in the US south (where I’d never been) and sent it to a prestigious agent. We talked for hours but he decided he couldn’t work out where my book would fit with his vision. He asked me to write another one. (Seriously?) In between working full time as a Design Technology teacher, I wrote this new book, which he promptly turned down, as he said I needed a female agent. Hmm…

I moved from a small flat in Brighton to an organic fruit farm in the mountains of southern Spain. I’m not a farmer but I had land, and I got some local guys to build me a wooden studio between the orange trees. My first space that was completely mine, and not the corner of the kitchen table. The orange trees aren’t looking that good, but my writing is going great guns, as they say.

It was then I discovered that there were small traditional publishers that looked at un-agented work. I sent this first book, From My Cold Dead Hands, to Bloodhound Books and it was accepted. They also accepted the second one, The Pact, and the two books were published in 2022.

At the same time, I’d sent my YA dystopian novel Eazee Life to SpellBound Books and it, too, was accepted. Eazee Life was published in October 2023 under my pen name of Billie Hill. I told them that it was book one of a trilogy and they sent me a contract for three books, except I had only written the first one. I’m pleased to say that now, book two has been accepted and I’m part way through book three. Phew!

I sent my next psychological thriller to Hobeck Books and was delighted that it was accepted. Best Served Cold will be published mid-November. Hobeck Books have also taken on a second book, which is at the editing stage, called Never Forgive You. This will hopefully be published late March, 2024.


About Hilly

Hilly attended Rochester College of Art to experience an excellent Foundation Course, which led to a degree course in Graphic Design at Central School of Art and Design in London. Here, she led a colourful life, which she has woven into many of her stories.

After her degree course, she went on a woodworking course to make furniture. Combining her art and woodworking skills, she got a stall at Covent Garden Craft Market to sell hand-made chess and backgammon sets.

She moved to Brighton, a fabulous city but, after teaching Design Technology for fifteen years, she gave it all up to relocate to Órgiva in southern Spain. She has been here for the last seven years, living happily in an old farmhouse on an organic fruit farm in the mountains, with her partner and two rescue dogs.

Hilly is also part of Artists’ Network Alpujarra (ANA), a community of artists who have exhibited extensively in the region of the Alpujarra. She also makes ceramics, jewellery, and up-cycles anything not nailed down.

Hilly writes under the pen name of Billie Hill for her YA work. Eazee Life is book one of a trilogy.

She has two adult psychological thrillers published with Bloodhound Books and two to be published with Hobeck Books.


 Find Hilly on Social Media:






Hilly’s Books

Best Served Cold by Hilly Barmby. Published by Hobeck Books.

When obsession is mistaken for love, how far will someone go to avenge a perceived loss?

Best Served Cold. A psychological thriller set in Brighton.

This is the fabulous review from best-selling author Jennie Ensor.
‘I was lured into Best Served Cold from the first page. This twisted fairytale-themed psychological thriller starts off with a sinister moment and grows ever more dark and unsettling. Vividly-painted scenes and characters but, above all, terrific storytelling from Hilly Barmby.’ – Jennie Ensor, Author Of The Bad Neighbour
UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0CK4J2LV9   US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CK4J2LV9


Eazee Life by Billie Hill

‘A brilliant read. While it has echoes of other dystopian novels such as The Maze Runner series and a little bit of the Handmaiden’s Tale, Eazee Life has its own voice, message and style that is captivating and easy to get lost in. If you want a dystopian with deeper questions of society, climate and what it means to be human this is it.’

If this tickles your fancy, it is available now. https://amzn.eu/d/aHax9Tv


From My Cold Dead Hands by Hilly Barmby

Little by little, Cassie, an amnesiac, pieces together the truth about her Southern family, her old life, and a friend’s murder, in this engrossing novel of suspense.



The Pact by Hilly Barmby

When a long-planned reunion takes place, it stirs up old memories that have long been buried. . .

In the twelve years that have passed, much has happened.

So when Michael Storm arranges a New Year’s Eve party, it threatens to have deadly consequences.



I hope you enjoyed Hilly Barmby’s Publication Journey. Here are links to previous authors who have written their Publication Journey stories for the blog:

Jackie Baldwin

Penny Batchelor

Amanda Brittany

Alice Castle

Anne Coates

Helen Cooper

Chris Curran

Judi Daykin

Antony Dunford

Harry Fisher

Linda Huber

Lin Le Versha

S.E. Lynes

A.B. Morgan

Maureen Myant

Terri Nixon

Jonathan Peace

Brian Price

Sue Shepherd

By Rachel Sargeant

Rachel Sargeant is a British author. She writes the Gloucestershire Crime Series, published by Hobeck Books. The first title is Her Deadly Friend, and the second is Her Charming Man. Her titles with HarperCollins are: The Roommates, a psychological thriller set in a university during freshers' week; The Good Teacher, a detective mystery, featuring DC Pippa “Agatha” Adams, and The Perfect Neighbours, a psychological thriller set in Germany. Rachel studied at Aberystwyth University, spent several years living in Germany and now lives in Gloucestershire with her family. She holds a PhD from the University of Birmingham.

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