This week I set the transporter's controls for the Fijian Islands. Soon, author Jen Hilborne and I are swinging in hammocks, sipping cocktails, enjoying a nice island breeze, and gazing out on a deliciously blue ocean. What could be better than this? Oh yeah, learning more about a cool mystery author.
1. Who is Jen Hilborne and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
Jen Hilborne is a mystery writer and a native Brit escaping the cold for the warmer climes of currently Southern California. What makes me the most fascinating person in my city...psst, it's actually a small village...is the fact no one knows when they might end up in one of my murder novels.
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
Most people would be surprised to learn I was knocked off my bicycle by a big rig when I was 12 years old, oh...and the fact I have trained in Shotokan Karate and earned 7 belts (in case that miserable trucker ever crosses my path again. He's definitely going to end up in one of my murders).
3. What interested you to be become a writer rather than something else such as becoming NASCAR driver?
I never had an idea what I wanted to be or do with my life. I chose writing mysteries because I love making up stories and love anything mysterious. Nothing else holds my interest like writing.
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
I would share dinner with Stephen King. He looks harmless.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island (or suffering a four hour layover at the airport), why would your book(s) be great company?
My book is filled with twists and turns and dastardly deeds. Your layover will be over well before you've figured out "whodunnit."
6. Share the Hilborne process of writing in regards to: idea and character development, story outline, research (do you Google, visit places/people or make it up on the spot?), writing schedule, editing, and number of rewrites.
I don't have a process. I'm what they call a panster. I write every day, whenever I can, and whatever comes into my head. I start each new book with either a title, or an idea of the murder, and go from there. I do not outline, but once I know who my characters are, I do a bio on each of them and add to it as I go. I re-write until I have nothing better to add - could be ten times, could be four. I do oodles of research on Google, in library books, out in the field, and by connecting with various law enforcement personnel.
7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”
My best advice is to get it on paper, then find the most compelling part of your story and make it the first chapter. Start with action.
8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read "Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
My philosophy: "When in doubt, do it! I'd rather regret what I do than what I don't."
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?
I'll always write. I have mysteries stacking up in my head. No Alibi, my second suspense novel, is due to be released in 2011 by Echelon Press, and I am currently editing my third mystery, titled Hide and Seek.
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
My info is in many places: www.jfhilborne.com, http://twitter.com/JFHilborne,
http://jhilborne.wordpress.com, http://www.scribd.com/jhilborne The first chapter of each of my books is posted on Scribd, plus some other writing's. I am also on Goodreads and Facebook.