Author Chit Chat: Jennifer Hillier (Little Secrets)

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Thank you Jennifer Hillier for taking the time out to partake in my author feature! I am a huge fan of her novels, Little Secrets and Jar of Hearts. Jennifer is a pro a creating a highly addictive plot with heart stopping twists you won’t see coming. If you haven’t read Little Secrets yet, you must get your hands on it ASAP!

1) What inspired you to write Little Secrets?

I’m most inspired to write about what scares me, and as a mother to a five-year-old son (who was four at the time I wrote the book, the same age as Marin’s son, Sebastian), the thing that scares me the most now is losing him. However, I didn’t want to focus the story on Sebastian’s kidnapping, or the investigation – I wanted to explore how his disappearance affected Marin, and how she coped with not knowing where her child was. This meant I had to imagine it happening to me – which, let me just say, is a mental and emotional journey I’ll never want to take again. But I find that when I allow myself to imagine worst-case scenarios, it deludes me into thinking I can somehow prevent them from actually happening in real life. And if they do, then hey, I’m prepared because I’ve thought them through already!

2) When you first saw the cover for Little Secrets, what were your initial thoughts?

The cover that’s on the book right now is the second one the publisher sent me. The first one was great, but I felt that it didn’t quite capture the intensity of the emotion in the book. So the publisher came up with this one, and I love it – it really fits Marin, and the story.

3) If you could re-name your book title, what would you choose?

I am terrible with titles! Seriously terrible, so I honestly don’t know. We went through dozens of possible titles before settling on Little Secrets, and of course now I can’t imagine it being called anything else. But the working title I had was “She & Her” (yes, it was awful), and the title I submitted the finished draft under was “The Darkest Dark” (which I think was slightly better, but still wasn’t right).

4) If you could hang out with one of your fictional characters, who would it be and why?

I’d hang out with Sal, at his janky bar, and watch football. He makes a great amaretto sour and really delicious garlic fries that I hopefully wouldn’t have to pay for.

5) Out of all the books you’ve written, which one is your favorite and why?

It’s like choosing between children! I feel guilty for picking just one, so I’ll pick two. Little Secrets, because there’s so much of myself in it, and Jar of Hearts, which was just a really fun book for me to write.

6) Do you have any quirks or rituals during the writing phase of a novel?

Oh, I have so many. I need to write in the same spot every day. I need coffee. I need complete silence. I’m also very secretive – I don’t like to show anyone any pages, or discuss any part of the story until it’s finished. That last one isn’t always helpful, though – I need to learn it’s okay to ask for feedback if I’m stuck on something. Even now, six books later, I have a hard time asking for help. Early on in my career, I got too much feedback on a first draft that wasn’t yet complete, and it destroyed my confidence in what I was working on. I’d like to get past that, and try to remember that my editor is there to help me get to the finish line, not tear my work (and me) apart.

7) Last but not least, do you have anything you’d like to say to your current and future readers?

Just that I hope everyone is well and safe during this strange time. And that I hope people are finding comfort, distraction, and entertainment in great books.

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Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Books A Million

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hi there, I’m Jennifer Hillier. I write about dark, twisted people who do dark, twisted things. My newest psychological thriller, Little Secrets, is now available from Minotaur Books. I’m also the author of Jar of Hearts (Minotaur), CreepFreakThe Butcher, and Wonderland (Gallery Books).

I was in born in Toronto, but I spent eight years in the Seattle area, which is where all my novels are set. I’m a Seahawks fan but I married a Packers guy. We have a young son who looks most like me when he’s crying. My favorite author is Stephen King (but whose isn’t?). I’m afraid of the dark and can’t sleep unless I’ve checked the locks on the doors several times. I love writing when it’s raining, sleeping when it’s sunny, and reading after everyone else has gone to bed. I cherish my family (those who read, and those who don’t), and my friends (those who write, and those who don’t).

I’m a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Crime Writers of Canada. I’m also a regular columnist at The Thrill Begins, where I talk a lot about my writing journey and dispense advice you may or may not find helpful.

You can also find me on Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but hopefully not every day.

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