Monday, February 13, 2012

Scene of the Crime with Author Jenn McKinlay!

I was at my favorite bookstore, The Poisoned Pen, last week when I realized that they only had one copy left of Due or Die-- the second book in Jenn McKinlay's Library Lover's mystery series. If the maneuver had been caught on film, my hand would've been a blur as it snatched up that lone copy and added it to my to-buy stack. I had enjoyed the first, Books Can Be Deceiving, so much that I knew I had to buy the second.

If you like to read cozy mysteries, you've probably read a book or two in one of Jenn's series.  She writes about the operators of a cupcake bakery, the director of a public library, a decoupage teacher, and a group of skilled bargain hunters. Don't worry-- a link is coming up that will help you with Jenn's books!

Jenn McKinlay

If you'd like to learn more about the author, here are a few links for you:

I'd say it was time to get to know this Scottsdale, Arizona, author a little better, wouldn't you? Let's get to the interview!

What was the very first book you remember reading and loving? What makes that book so special? 

My mom is a librarian, so my first memories are of being read to particularly Bill Peet's picture books.  I became an avid reader on my own and Nancy Drew was the first series I devoured, but it was Anne of Green Gables when I was eleven that made me realize what an author could do with words.  L. M. Montgomery's writing is so brilliant and so lovely - it
made me want to write, too.

Outside of your writing and all associated commitments, what do you like to do in your free time?

I love riding my skateboard, knitting, gardening, baking and reading.  I like to be busy but unstructured.

If I were to visit your hometown, where would you recommend that I go? (I like seeing and doing things that aren't in all the guide books.)

from the Musical Instrument Museum
If you came here to Scottsdale, I would say you have to go to the MIM (Musical Instrument Museum).  It is my favorite new place in the city.  Instruments have been gathered from all over the world and when you walk through, as you enter each display a video shows people playing the instruments you're looking at and you can hear the music through your head set.  SO COOL!

You have total control over casting a movie based on your life. Which actor would you cast as you?

Joan Cusack
Joan Cusack, a tall, brunette who has excellent comic timing.  You'd have to have all that to portray my goofy life.

Who is your favorite recurring character in crime fiction?

That's like asking me to pick my favorite child!  Ack!  All I can say is that some days I want to have Joe Pike riding shotgun in my life and other days I just want to shoot hoops in the driveway with Myron Bolitar.  Of course, if I'm making a donut run, it's Stephanie Plum all the way.

Name one book that you've read that you wish you had written. What is it about that book that made it come to mind?

Wow.  Really good question!  And very hard to answer, mostly because I hope I will write that book one day, you know, the book that I can say is the best of all that I've written.  I'm not there yet.  But if there is one that I hold up to that standard, I would have to say One for the Money by Janet Evanovich.  It spun my head around when I read it and really made me appreciate that humor and suspense can coexist fabulously in a female first person narrative.

How did you celebrate when you first heard you were to be published? What did you do the first time you saw one of your books on a shelf in a bookstore?

When I got the call, I went into shock.  Then I called everyone I knew.  My mom cried.  My dad shouted "Fantastic!"  It was awesome.  First sighting on a bookstore shelf was surreal.  I kept circling the shelf and looking at it to make sure it was really there -- until security started to follow me.  I'm sure they thought I was nuts.

I don't know if you've seen it, but I love Parnell Hall's video about book signings. What is the most unusual experience you've had at a book signing or author event?

I have seen it.  It's hilarious.  The strangest experience I ever had as an author was being a judge at a cupcake contest (writing cupcake bakery mysteries will get you these sweet gigs) and for the category of most unusual cupcake, I had to eat a cupcake with cricket body parts in the cake and a whole cricket on top.  Crunchy.

[I started looking up graphics for this, but decided to give it a miss!]

What's the best thing about eBooks? What's the worst?

The best thing is immediacy. You want it - it's yours in seconds.  The worst thing is that they are so easily pirated.  It's hard to make a living at something when people steal your work and give it away for free.

On Sale Now!

Thank you so much, Jenn, for giving us a chance to get to know you a little better. 

May your book sales do nothing but increase!


  1. This was a fun interview! I'm getting "Due Or Die" as a surprise gift for my girlfriend who adores cozy mysteries.

    1. That is certainly a gift your friend will enjoy!

  2. There are so many series out there that sound like I would enjoy them - it's so hard to choose which ones to try. But Jenn McKinlay sounds like so much fun, that I HAVE to get this one. Thanks for the insight!

    1. You're very welcome! So many, many books, and so very little time!

  3. She does sound like a fun person to know. It's funny that she kept looking to make sure that really was her book in the store. If she writes with that same personality, I'm in.

  4. I didn't see Due or Die there!! Now I know why....If I had, we would have had a fight to the I'll just have to track it down!! That could involve a trip to the bookstore for Valentine's Day. Yum!!!

    I love these glimpses into authors. Thanks!

    1. Now you know why I like to sneak into places early...saves me fighting off the competition! ;-)


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