What a charming and unassuming young author! It was a pleasure to spend some time getting to know Jenny.
Jenny Hilborne has worked in a variety of fields, including the retail music industry, residential real estate, commercial real estate and finance. Born and raised in South West England, she relocated to Southern California in 1997. Jenny is a member of Sisters in Crime, San Diego chapter. No Alibi is her second suspense novel, set in San Francisco, published by Echelon Press. Madness and Murder was released in 2010, also by Echelon Press.
She says that while being a dual citizen does not influence her, the process to gain dual citizenship did, and she says that the process "flavors" her books. The reason for choosing San Francisco as the location for her first novel is simple. She said, "I love the place. I have been there. I wish I could live there. It's eclectic, kind of like me, and it's easy for a killer to move around!"
Tell us about the genre of your work.
I write mystery/suspense. Sometimes my novels cross into the thriller genre. The genre chose me. I love all things mysterious and puzzling.
What are some of your books, stories that have been published?
Madness and Murder, my debut mystery/thriller, was published by Echelon Press in 2010. Homicide detective, Mac Jackson, is on a collision course with a civilian in his hunt for a relentless killer who leaves him a trail of dead bodies and not much else to go on.
Frustrated by the rising body count and lack of evidence, veteran homicide detective, Mac Jackson, questions his own ethics when he risks the life of an innocent young woman to trap a cunning and sadistic serial killer. Known for his uncanny precision with a hunch, he is all too aware that, this time, the stakes are much higher if his gamble fails to pay off.
Jessica Croft, withdrawn, vulnerable, and emotionally scarred, moves from Sacramento to begin a new life in San Francisco with her twin brother, Judd. Ninety miles from the sinister, shameful secrets of her past, and the madness that tore their family apart, she hopes to find tranquility, maybe even love. However, her chance for happiness is short-lived when she suddenly finds herself the target of a relentless madman with a deadly agenda. Loath to continue living a life of fear, Jessica tells no one when she takes a bold risk to draw him out; dangerously unaware of the trap he has already set for her. Now nothing may be able to save her except the accuracy of a hunch.
Madness and Murder: ISBN 1590805925, available through Amazon.com; EAN 2940012224934, available through Barnes & Noble. http://www.amazon.com/Madness-and-Murder-ebook/dp/B003TLMX5C/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1304248232&sr=1-1
No Alibi: ISBN 9781590807163, available through Amazon.com April 2011 http://www.amazon.com/No-Alibi-ebook/dp/B004WPOFQY/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1304248074&sr=1-2
When Inspector John Doucette is handed the case of a murder lover, he finds himself immersed in a tangled web of deceit, confronted by infidelity, betrayal, and someone from his past; someone he does not want to face.
How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?
I listen to conversations, watch the news, and read the papers. Any time a name jumps out at me, I write it down in a list I keep of possible names for future characters. As for places, I chose San Francisco for its diversity, excitement and the ease with which a killer can move around. My fourth novel is set in England, near my hometown. Too many twisted country roads begging to be the setting for a murder.
How did you develop the character of your protagonist in this book?
Many real life elements are woven into my stories, fictionalized to protect the not-yet proven guilty. Ideas come to me as I write, so the development of the characters happens throughout the novel.
What about an antagonist…is there a unique “bad guy” or a recurring nemesis of any kind?
Other than they all commit heinous crimes, I do not have a recurring nemesis. I tap into real life experiences when I create the antagonist, too (not necessarily mine).
What is your favorite thing about your book?
In No Alibi, it is the ending. I threw in the twist at the last minute and surprised myself. I hope it will surprise my readers.
Why and when did you begin writing?
I dabbled as a kid, and started crafting my first manuscript in 2007. I dreamed about it for years, but fear held it back. Suddenly, I realized I could do it (with a little encouragement from an English professor) and set catching up on lost time.
What is your writing schedule?
I write mostly on the weekend and sometimes during the evening. I work full time so it is a juggling act. Throw in marketing and appearances/events, and it gets a bit crazy. Then the schedule goes out the window and I write when I can. I am always plotting.
What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?
I just finished Hide and Seek, my third suspense novel, and I am on chapter 10 of Fatal Fury – a suspense novel set in England.
What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write (especially mystery)?
I am no expert to dish out advice so I will call them tips. My number one tip is to find your motivation for writing. It is a lonely profession and filled with rejection. Without motivation, you will not make it through the setbacks. Once you know why you do it, go at it and never give up. Believe in yourself. Take constructive criticism for what it’s worth – learn from it. Oh, and grow a thick skin J
Are there any other comments, advice or tips that you would give to beginning writers?
Jump on the online forums and soak up the experiences of those who have gone before you, but do not take it all to heart, and do not get discouraged. Network, and do it early.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Reading has always been a something I liked to do, and when I was growing up, I had one favorite author: Enid Blyton. I started reading at a young age, after I got entranced by her magical fairytale books, and never stopped. As an adult, the mystery genre intrigued me, and I read Lawrence Sanders, Sidney Sheldon, Sandra Brown, to name a few. I love to read new authors all the time. Now I read, work, dream about travel, and sleep. When I am not working, it is not often I am not writing.
What “Made It” moments have you experienced in life?
These are a few of my milestones: my first publishing contract (followed by my second), my dual citizenship, obtaining a drivers license in a foreign country, regaining my independence, and surviving divorce.
As a first time author, the biggest challenge for me was understanding the rejections, and getting feedback as to what I needed to do to improve my work. Most rejection letters are one-liners, if you are lucky, with nothing to help you understand where you went wrong. I found that incredibly frustrating. When I met my publisher, and got my first rejection letter from her, I asked the editor for feedback. She was gracious enough to give it, and this unlocked the door for me. Once I knew where I had gone wrong, I made corrections and pumped out a much tighter piece of work, which she went on to accept after resubmission.
Fatal Fury. This is a suspense novel set in Oxford, England. I changed the setting to give my readers a new angle on my books, take them across the pond, and show them my beautiful homeland. I will return to San Francisco for future novels.
I am a bit of an eclectic type. I prefer stand alone to series. I might bring Jackson back in a third novel, I have not decided. I want to see how readers like Doucette. He is very different to Jackson. As for a theme, I seem to be drawn to the character who struggles to fit in. I think this was/is me, after I moved to the States and got my first taste of prejudice. It hit me like a sledgehammer, made me think, “this is what some folk deal with every day.” It is ugly, unkind, and unfair. It festers and changes your personality. You might become withdrawn, or openly angry. I channel those emotions into making my “weak” character stronger. I dislike cliques, clicks, “in-crowd” types, whatever you want to call them.
Stay up-to-date with Jenny on her website at http://jfhilborne.wordpress.com/, or on her blog at