Friday, November 14, 2014

Guest Post: Cozy Mystery Author Jenn McKinlay


 Nov 4th is a very special day for me. Yes, it’s election day, but no I’m not running for office, rather I am celebrating the publication of my twentieth mystery ON BORROWED TIME. When I began this journey I had no idea that I had twenty novels inside me, in fact, I was surprised I even had one! My first mystery came out in 2009. It was the first mystery in a short lived series that I wrote under the name Lucy Lawrence. I loved that series set in a paper store in Massachusetts, not only because it was my first but also because I learned so much about writing a series during its creation.

 Because that series didn’t last, I was convinced my writing career was doomed. I began pitching more and more ideas until I had three series under my own name Jenn McKinlay; the library lover’s series, the cupcake bakery series, and the London hat shop series. You’d think that would be enough, but no. I also took on another series under the name Josie Belle about a group of bargain hunters. When people see the amount of books I write, about four a year, they often ask me how. I wish there was a simple answer but writing is such a unique experience that one size most definitely does not fit all. I have author friends who tell me that every single word is excruciating.

 I know others who tell me they have to think about the book for months before they can write a word. And then there are the crazy ones who write three books at the same time and never get mixed up. Incredible, I know. For me, writing is a lot like falling down a rabbit hole. I don’t think about it too much, in fact, it’s sort of an out of body experience where the story is unfolding in front of me and I am just dutifully taking down notes. Frequently, when I go back over the book before turning it in, I literally have no recall of writing a particular scene or conversation, which is a little unnerving.

 Then again, I fall asleep at the computer so often it could be that I’ve trained myself to write in my sleep and just don’t know it. In any case, the one thing that I have learned is that for me the cupboard never seems to be bare. It’s actually the opposite. The more I write the more ideas I get and the more stories I want to tell. Not all of them are worthy. Sometimes it’s just a snippet that goes nowhere, like a puff of smoke when a candle is blown out, but other times the idea sinks its fangs so deeply into me I know I won’t shake it loose until I write it.

 ON BORROWED TIME was like that, and I got absolutely no peace until the book was done. Here’s a brief description of the twentieth book to give you an idea of the story that demanded to be told: Holiday cheer fills the air in the town of Briar Creek, making even the grumpiest public servant almost chipper. Things take a somber turn; however, when Lindsey finds her brother Jack hiding in one of the library’s meeting rooms. He tells her that he’s on the run from someone who wants to kill him and that he’ll explain later.

 When later comes, Lindsey opens the door to the meeting room to find her brother missing, leaving a dead body in his place. Now Lindsey is in on borrowed time, trying to find her brother before the police or the killer do. I hope you enjoy reading ON BORROWED TIME as much as I enjoyed writing it. Here’s to twenty more mysteries or more! For more information about me or my books, you can go to my website or find me on Facebook or Twitter.

 Happy reading! Jenn


  1. Sounds like a exciting mystery! I will have to get it!

  2. I loved the decoupage series you wrote. My favorite of your's though is the cupcake bakery mysteries. It didn't hurt that there was an Angie in it!! Can't wait to read your library lovers series. I have some of them sitting on my tbr shelf.



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