(Note: this is a repost of a newsletter that was originally sent out on Thursday, May 24, 2018)
I’m basking in the glow of a terrific review…
which, I gotta be honest with you, is getting harder to do the more books I write. It’s not that it isn’t amazing to receive a great review—or disappointing to receive a bad one—but over time, I think you learn to cope with the extreme highs and lows of the writing business by feeling things a little less strongly either way. Survival seems to lie somewhere in the middle.
But not this time. This time, JAR OF HEARTS received a review that made my heart grow two sizes bigger. Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up:
I feel like I wrote this book as well as I could. Every so often I’ll come across an excerpt of JAR, posted by a book reviewer who felt that a particular passage resonated with them (or didn’t). In my past books, there’s always been a sentence or two—or a chapter—that I would totally tweak, if I could go back and do it all over again. Sometimes it’s because I’ve grown as a writer and there’s a phrase that could simply be written better. Other times it’s just me being super hard on myself and nitpicking word choices I made years ago, that of course I can’t change now.
But with JAR OF HEARTS, I wouldn’t change anything. Not one word. I stand by all the decisions I made. Which doesn’t mean the book is perfect, or that everyone will love it. Hell, no. (And I know better than to expect that). It just means that I love it. And that, my friends, is such a rare feeling. That’s a unicorn feeling. We writers are the most self-critical creatures on the planet, and what reads well to us one day might read like utter crap the next day, for no reason other than we slept badly and woke up with a kink in our neck.
There are no kinks in my neck with JAR OF HEARTS. Succeed or fail, I’m genuinely overjoyed with how the book turned out, and really, really proud of myself. And no matter what happens, I’ll always have that.
So, okay, maybe I’m firmly planted in the Land of Self-Delusion. But you know what? THE VIEWS ARE LOVELY AND I AM SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING BUYING A SUMMER HOME HERE.
Oh! I almost forgot the review! Kristopher Zgorski of BOLO Books, thank you so much for enjoying JAR OF HEARTS and completely understanding what I was trying to say. His entire review blew me away, but this might be my favorite part:
“While Jar of Hearts features a serial killer, it is not a serial killer novel. While it has elements of deep investigation, it’s not a police procedural. And while it has a love story at the core, it is by no means a romance. Encompassing elements of all of those things and more, this novel finds a way to be something wholly original and yet completely accessible. Jar of Hearts is pure, unadulterated suspense, but even that does not accurately describe the unique power contained within this story. If Shakespeare were alive and writing psychological suspense novels today, his output would look very similar to Jennifer Hillier’s Jar of Hearts. This book is an epic tragedy for the modern age; and just as in the Elizabethan era, the masses shall flock to it in droves.” Read the full review here.
I mean, wow, right?
* * *
JAR OF HEARTS officially has a UK cover!
As a person with no visual artistry skills or talent whatsoever, I’m always knocked sideways by book covers that bring my words to life in a completely different way. I’ve been lucky to have had great covers throughout my whole career, and I’m totally in love with my US/Canadian cover for JAR OF HEARTS.
But the UK cover is stunning, too! It’s like the equally hot, fraternal twin sister. Wowza.
* * *
I have another winner to announce! Congratulations, Katie Knight, you have won an ARC of JAR OF HEARTS! Please send your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* * *
I’ve been reading a ridiculous amount of good stuff lately. Probably because I’ve just come back from another vacation, where it rained every damned day, and so what else was there to do but read? Here are this week’s recommendations:
THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I didn’t think a tale about the past marriages of an aging Hollywood movie star would be my thing, but after the first couple of chapters, I was hooked. The story is immersive and cinematic, with a satisfying twist.
NEVER LET YOU GO by Chevy Stevens
Some writers just keep getting better… and Chevy was pretty damned good to begin with. Compelling writing with fully fleshed-out main characters (a mother and daughter, told in alternating points of view) puts a fresh narrative on the horrors of an abusive marriage. Full disclaimer: Chevy blurbed JAR OF HEARTS, which makes me fangirl even harder.
THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F*CK by Mark Manson
There is nothing woo-woo or New Age-y about this non-fiction self-help book, which gives really honest, funny, practical advice on how to prioritize what to care about. I know I need help with that, because it’s seriously exhausting caring about everything all the time. (Note: Manson says the word “fuck” a lot, which is fucking fine by me).
* * *
I had a dream the other night that I was using a chopsticks to eat spaghetti out of an extra long tennis ball can, and there were a bunch of noodles stuck at the bottom that I just couldn’t get to no matter how much I reached or shook the can. Hello, stupid anxiety dream! Less than three weeks to go until book launch—you’re right on time.
Luckily, there are moments of pure joy to balance out the terror, and coming home to my very first hot-off-the-press hardcover of JAR OF HEARTS was one of them.
Guys, this hardcover is beautiful. The pictures don’t do it justice. There’s even embossing on the spine! And the Canadian/International trade paperback edition (below, which my three-year-old is “reading”) is just as gorgeous. It has flaps!
My husband asked me, “Is this how you imagined it?”
Yes. Except better.
Until next time, friends.