My Guest today is Jenn McKinlay: New York Times Best Selling Author of theCupcake Bakery Mysteries and the Library Lover's Mysteries!
R: Welcome, Jenn. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
The family occupation is that of librarian. My mother was a librarian, I became one and I met my husband when we were both working in one. The love of books and reading is so much a part of me that writing just seemed like a natural progression. Of course, I was sixteen and went to see the movie Romancing the Stone before it actually clicked in my head that being an author was a career choice.
R: What writers in your genre would you say have made the greatest influence on your writing?
In the mystery genre at large, I have been most influenced by Harlan Coben, Robert Crais and Janet Evanovich. In traditional mysteries specifically, I was influenced in my teens by Agatha Christie, Victoria Holt, and Elizabeth Peters.
R: You write three very different series, and two more under pseudonyms. What inspired each and which is your favorite?
Oh, picking a fave series is like picking a fave child. Impossible! Like children they annoy me equally on different days. Seriously, my fave is whichever one I’m writing at the moment because that’s the world in which I’m currently immersed.
The cupcake series was inspired by a sudden awareness of cupcakes everywhere. The library series, well, that’s where I’ve lived all my life, so it was a natural fit. The London hat shop, honestly, I’m an Anglophile who really needed a vacation, so I pitched and thankfully, my publisher bought it so I could have a nice vacay in London.
As for the other two series, written under the names Lucy Lawrence and Josie Belle, those were writer for hire projects that the publisher offered to me – probably because I kept submitting ideas to them and I wouldn’t go away. I think they were hoping to shake me loose. No such luck!
R: Tell us about your latest release, READ IT AND WEEP!
This was one of my favorite books to write! It’s set around a local production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Murder and mayhem strike the Briar Creek Community Theater stage as accidents befall the set and the actors. Lindsey Norris, town librarian, must solve the mystery of who is trying to sabotage the show before it’s curtains for them all!
R: Do you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share? How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?
I actually wrote three romantic comedies for Harlequin before I busted into mysteries. My first call came three months after my son was born. I was holding him and an editor from Harlequin called and said they wanted to buy my book. I said, “What book?” It was a book I had submitted a year, yes, a WHOLE year before. She said, “Hmm, people usually scream about now.” I said, “I can’t. It would wake the baby.”
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
Coffee. I drink about 6-8 cups/day.
R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
I swear like a drunken sailor on shore leave. Isn’t that terrible for a cozy author? I get all these emails telling me how nice it is that I write “clean” books with no foul language and all I can think is WTF? Is swearing really so wrong? Yeah, I know, I am working on it. In the meantime, I figure my swear jar will pay for my sons’ college tuition.
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?
Drunk or sober? Hard to say. It’s a pretty long list either way since I tend not make my decisions out of fear or common sense.
R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
If I can get a grin or a belly laugh out of a reader, then it’s all good.
R: What are you working on at the moment / next?
ON BORROWED TIME, the fifth library lover’s mystery.
R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Reformed pantser, solid plotter now.
R: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)
Skateboarding, hiking, and gardening are my outside hobbies. Knitting and reading are my inside ones.
R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?
www.jennmckinlay.com I used to be on facebook and twitter more, but now I only pop in occasionally on a professional page. It occurred to me, while freaking out over a deadline, that my two most precious commodities are time and privacy, so I have become more respectful of them.
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Write every single day. Period.
R: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
My happy place is the library, so I am quite sure I would be in one somewhere – hopefully, in a castle in Tuscany. Yeah, that would be cool.
Just for Fun:
Night or Day? Night.
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) I have both, so fish (I have one of those, too).
Beach or Pool? Beach.
Steak or salad? Salad.
Favorite Drink? Coca-Cola (which is why I never buy it).
Favorite Book? Phonebook (it’s where I get character names).
Favorite TV Series? Buffy.
Favorite Movie? Romancing the Stone (naturally).
Favorite Actor: It changes depending upon what movie I’ve just seen.
Favorite Actress: See above.
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Dirty Martini, and keep them coming!
Hawaii or Alaska? I’ve been to Hawaii but I’d love to see Alaska one day.
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be __Ameila Earhart_________________
If I had just one wish, it would be______long, healthy, happy lives for my loved ones.___________________________________
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be __Nope. I’m thoroughly good._____
Thanks for a great interview!
INCREDIBLE BLOGGING CAT