I am so very excited to share with everyone today an interview with the most wonderful, super talented Jenny Hilborne, author of Madness and Murder. Read on to find out the answers to life, eternal happiness and… oh wait…maybe not that… however you will discover a lot about Jenny, and her upcoming books too!
When did you first start writing? Did you start out with short stories or with a book?
I first dabbled with writing when I was about 7 years old. I wrote a short children’s story in class about a family of pigs (well, why not?). I remember my teacher liking it so much she showed it to another teacher – this is my first memory of someone enjoying something I wrote. Early memories are very profound; I’ve never forgotten the story or the pride I felt (unfortunately, I have forgotten the name of the teacher).
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’d have to say I always wrote, but never considered myself a writer in a “professional” or “serious” sense until I settled down to begin my first manuscript, in 2007.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in writing mysteries?
I love writing mysteries, just as much as I love reading them. Anything mysterious intrigues me. The challenge for me is accuracy in how homicide detectives solve crime, for which I turn to my detective friends and new acquaintances so generous with their time in answering my questions, and trying not to twist myself up too much in the plot.
Did you learn anything from writing your book?
I learned a lot about writing do’s and don’ts from the people I met along the way, including Echelon Press, the writer’s workshops at the Southern California Writer’s Conference, and the many authors I’ve met. When I compare my first draft to my finished book, I cringe at the thought I actually let someone read my first draft. I also learned from the detectives I worked with, who tirelessly answered my questions and took me out on late-night ride-along’s in crime infested parts of the city to give me a real taste of what they do. The learning never stops.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I’m no expert to be giving advice, so take out of it what you will. I advise attending as many writer’s conferences/workshops as possible to learn from all the talented writers out there and build a network of writer friends. Writing is a lonely business so it’s nice to have others to reach out to who understand. Never give up. Rejections are hard and they will either toughen you up or knock you out – for me, it’s all about attitude and your motivation for writing. You have to be prepared for long hours, solitude, set-backs, criticism, frustration, and competition. It’s tough to get any kind of break, but the sure way to fail is to quit.
Will you be having another book coming out soon? Can you tell us about it?
I’m SO glad you asked . My second suspense novel, NO ALIBI, will be published by Echelon Press in 2011, and I am currently working on my 3rd. All my novels are set in San Francisco. Here is a little blurb about NO ALIBI:
Isabelle Kingsley didn’t think her husband would ever cheat. Her husband didn’t think she would ever find out. Now he is missing, and his girlfriend is dead. Suspected of killing her, Isabelle turns to her best friend, only to discover another betrayal. Is there no one she can trust?
Homicide cop, John Doucette, is on the case. Something about Isabelle unnerves him. Could she be innocent? If she is, how did the murder weapon come to be in her possession? Someone from her past connects them; someone that Doucette does not want to face. Doucette must set aside his personal feelings and fears to work through the tangled web of deceit before the case goes cold and a killer goes free.
What project are you working on now?
Currently, I’m working on HIDE AND SEEK, my 3rd suspense novel; based on a child’s game with murderous consequences.
Have you been planning ahead on what you will write in the future? Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I don’t plan much, I’m far more of a fly-by-the-seat type. My story ideas come to me through either a jumble of fictionalized real-life events or my nightmares. I watch too much crime TV, have too many nightmares, and keep a pen & pad by the bed so when I wake up in a panic, I can jot in down and turn it into a novel. As for certain characters, by popular demand, Detective Mac Jackson, from MADNESS AND MURDER, gets to solve another homicide (or two) in HIDE AND SEEK.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers and fans?
I would love to hear from you to let me know what you liked, what didn’t work so much for you, and which of characters you’d like to see more of. I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to all my readers for your support in my writing career. Without you, I wouldn’t have a writing career, so it matters to me what you think.
Biggest thank you’s to Jenny for taking the time to answer all these questions!! You’re the best!