Jenn McKinlay

New York Times Bestselling Author

News! Events! Contests!

Jenn McKinlay's News #19

December 29, 2015

Book News: COPY CAP MURDER the fourth London Hat Shop mystery will be released on January 5th – Very exciting!

Events: There will be a signing at the Poisoned Pen on Saturday, January 9th at 2:00 pm with my friend Paige Shelton, who will be signing TO HELVETICA AND BACK and Elizabeth Heiter signing her thriller SEIZED. I’m really looking forward to hearing both of these ladies speak.

Contests: Every Wednesday on my Facebook page, I host a book giveaway. This week on Dec 30th to celebrate the new year, I am giving away 10 signed copies of COPY CAP MURDER, so if you belong to FB, be sure to check it out!

What’s on my mind?

Connections. When I started the writing game, I did it as I do everything. I was all in. Three hundred percent. Complete immersion. Single-minded and all consumed. It was all I talked about, thought about, and every second of every day was geared toward getting the writing done.

Because I was working around quality time with my hooligans, if the writing didn’t happen until midnight so be it. I was a sleep deprived zombie, truly, I don’t even remember writing some of my books, but the alternative of not getting the writing done was unthinkable. Honestly, it’s an exhausting way to live and not just for me but for everyone around me as well. There were moments when my nearest and dearest would look at me and plead, “Can we have one conversation that does not involve plot points or character development?” I would then, of course, steer the conversation toward the power of a good setting. Yeah, I’m tenacious like that.

There are good elements to being able to focus so intently. The work gets done and not just a little, rather a lot of work gets done and in record time. This makes publishers happy. The flipside, however, is that to devote so much time to the writing, I had to cut back on all of my social obligations. Dinner with friends, parties, shopping dates, sporting events, you name it, was a check mark in the “No” box on the evite.

This fall, after five years of working non-stop, I hit my first speed bump. The words just wouldn’t come. Bewildered, I poked my head out of my little hobbit house and realized that the world wasn’t the same as I had left it. I had misplaced many of my friends. People I cared for had married, moved, procreated, and in a few cases died, and I had missed it. I’m an extrovert and a people person, which means I’m usually the first one to arrive at the party and the last one to leave, so this made me incredibly sad. It was also my call to action.

I started reaching out to all of the people that I had lost touch with during my workaholic episode, people are wonderfully forgiving during the holidays, and I started making plans for dinner, lunch, brunch, happy hour, and movies. My calendar which used to only list the Hub’s gigs and the hooligans’ activities suddenly had stuff for me on it. Very exciting!

Am I getting my work done? Yeah, no. Is it worth it? Absofreakinglutey. Yesterday, I had a three-and-a-half-hour lunch with a long time friend who I hadn’t seen in over two years. We hugged and it was as if no time had passed, we caught up, we encouraged, we shared, we cried, and best of all, we laughed long and hard. I left that meal with a renewed sense of myself and what’s really important in my life. The people.

And that’s when the epiphany kicked in, man, I love those! As I was driving home, I started thinking about the book I’d been stuck on for weeks. Suddenly, the ideas started to flow, and I realized, it’s my connection to others and the laughter, peace, joy, and wisdom, that they bring me that makes my words flow. My inner circle had always been a constant source of inspiration for me and when I shut them off, I sealed up my well of words and quite predictably (duh!) it ran dry.

Because life always seems to be in lock step with art, in my latest book COPY CAP MURDER, the main characters Scarlett and Vivian, who are cousins, are trying to find their way back to each other after it’s discovered that one of them has been keeping a pretty big secret. Because I wrote the book last year, I wonder if somewhere in my subconscious a part of me knew that I needed to tend my connections. Either way, I am so glad I did.

As Robert Burns wrote in his poem in 1788 now so popular on New Year’s Eve in song, “Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?...(No!)...And there’s a hand my trusty friend! And give me a hand o’ thine! And we’ll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne.”

Wishing you and yours a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!