(Note: This is a repost of the newsletter I sent out on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. To receive newsletters like this right to your inbox – and why wouldn’t you want that? jk – please sign up here. You could win an ARC of JAR OF HEARTS!)
So, obviously, you’re awesome. I’m going to do my best to make sure you don’t regret this, and I promise I won’t email you too often – maybe a few more newsletters than usual in the coming months, but then after that you probably won’t receive more than one per month (because I’m lazy AF, yo).
But! You’re reading this right now! Which means you signed up! Which means you can win one of five ARCs (advanced reader copies) of my newest book, JAR OF HEARTS, which is out June 12. Which means you’ll get the book early, because you’re cool and special and in-the-know. Every newsletter, I’ll randomly select a winner from my subscribers’ list and announce it in the next newsletter. Cool?
Today’s winner of an ARC of JAR OF HEARTS is: Jessie Chandler
Congratulations, Jessie! Please send your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org.There’s so much exciting stuff happening with JAR OF HEARTS that I don’t even know where to start. I’m with a new publisher and OMG the experience has been nothing short of amazing (and my agent agrees). Picture my face when I say this (not blinking, dead serious): I have never met a more dedicated, passionate team of publishing professionals than the folks at Minotaur Books. And it’s not just my editor, who acquired JAR OF HEARTS, and who’s been with St. Martin’s Press for thirty years. It’s everyone – the publicity team, the marketing team, the sales team, and also Raincoast Books, who does the distribution for Canada. Even the publisher of Minotaur himself. They are ALL kick ass. I know writers say stuff like this all the time. We say nice things about our publisher, who in turn say kind things about us and our work. It’s kind of what you’re supposed to do. But even if I didn’t say it, the proof is in the early book reviews on Goodreads (well over 200 and counting, with over 300 ratings, and still seven weeks to go until pub – SAY WHAT?), the 2700-plus adds (also Goodreads), and the numerous Instagram photos of the ARC, which are popping up daily. Here’s just one of a hundred examples of amazing pictures people have snapped of the book:
Yes, those are actual candy hearts that many book reviewers received. With custom sayings, taken directly from the book. I mean… guys. I’ve been paying attention for the past ten years. I know this kind of marketing thrust doesn’t happen for most books. And I am so grateful for all of this that if I let myself think about it for longer than a minute, I will actually cry (yes, that happens, and it’s embarrassing every time).
My first starred review for any book of mine, ever, happened with this book. That was A Very Good Day. It’s from Library Journal, who called the book “Concise and original… a psychological thriller unlike any other.” Read the full review here.
Publisher’s Weekly liked it, too! They, uh, have historically not enjoyed my work so much in the past, but they said great things about JAR OF HEARTS, calling it “Engrossing… there’s no denying her page-turner’s grab-you-by-the-throat power.” Dude, I’ll take it. Full review here.
And – this is something I haven’t posted online anywhere yet, so aren’t you glad you signed up? – Booklist just came in with their review, and here’s a quote: “There is a dynamite thriller-horror plot pulsing through these pages… When wielding sharp, or even worse, slightly dull objects, Hillier has a Chelsea Cain-like ability to horrify her readers in a way that feels agonizingly real.” (No link to the full review yet). But I’ll take this, too.
And we sold the movie rights to Cinelou Films! That was A Very, VERY Good Day (and all the credit for this goes to my brilliant, hardworking agent – literally, all I did was answer the phone when she called to tell me the news). Here’s a snippet of the press release that went out in February:
EXCLUSIVE: Cinelou Films has secured the film rights to Jennifer Hillier’s novel, Jar of Hearts, which is slated for publication June 12 via Minotaur Books. The announcement was made today by Cinelou co-CEOs Mark Canton and Courtney Solomon, both of whom will produce the project with Danny Davids, Neil Canton and David Hopwood. Hillier will serve as an exec producer.
A lot of people have asked me if it will actually be made into a movie, and the truth is, I don’t know. Statistically (again, I’ve been paying attention for the last ten years), the odds are it won’t. For every author I personally know (and I know a bunch) who sold the film rights to their books, only a tiny fraction have actually made it to the big (or small) screen. BUT! It does happen! I personally have four author friends whose movies are currently in production or about to be released as limited-series TV shows. So, the dream is alive. Always.
And most days, for writers, those dreams are all we have.
It’s a hard job, being a writer. I’m not complaining, just musing. Let’s talk about this for a minute. I’m fortunate to have made lots of writer friends over the years (and this by itself is a blessing – I can clearly remember how it felt in the early days when I didn’t know any writers at all, and it was lonely). Every writer I know has had their career take a detour, or two or three, at some point. Some have achieved huge success. Some don’t even write anymore. The majority of us are somewhere in the middle – still plugging away, doing our thing, shaking off the sting of a rejection or a bad review, and wishing. Wishing for something more, something different, something better, whatever that means for each of us. Writers write alone, but I truly believe we survive this job because of each other. Everyone’s success is a reminder that it, too, can happen for you, if you just keep going. I know I believe that, and for a time, that belief was all I had. That, and a burning hunger to write a better book. Which is the only part I can control, anyway.
I hope I’m always hungry.
A writer friend at a crossroads asked me what my best advice was to stay in the game. Being only five books in, I sure as hell don’t know a lot. But I do know a little, and so I’ll tell you what I told him: evolve. Don’t be afraid to grow, and change, and try something new. Redefine yourself and your writing as often as you need or want to. Be authentically you, whatever that package looks like today. It took me forever to feel comfortable being the girly girl that I am (and dude, I am the girliest) because I worried I wouldn’t be taken seriously as a writer if readers (and fellow writers) knew how obsessed I am with hair and makeup and clothing trends. Fiction writers aren’t supposed to care about that stuff, right? We’re supposed to be above all that “superficial crap.” But pretending not to be me was exhausting. Being myself takes a lot less energy. (And just how obsessed am I with girly things? I’ve been a VIB Rouge at Sephora since they started the program, and I haven’t missed a year. And I usually hit Rouge status by April… and if you understood any of this, you’re either impressed, or seriously worried about my bank account).
One last piece of advice: be relentless in your pursuit. Whatever it is that you’re chasing, it’s only over when you say it is.
Okay, back to the book. If I haven’t yet convinced you, and all your friends, and your neighbors, and the lady who cuts your hair, and your Great Aunt Elma in Idaho who loves thrillers “and the gorier the better, my dear” to give my new psychological thriller a try, then here’s an excerpt for your reading pleasure. JAR OF HEARTS is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who’s been searching for the truth all these years. Click to read the first three chapters.
And if you were already planning to buy the book on June 12 (you lovely person, you!), would you consider pre-ordering? You won’t get charged until the book is sent to you, but pre-orders make a world of difference to an author and earn you warm, mushy, virtual hugs from me (or handshakes, if that’s your preference, or fist bumps, if you’re a germaphobe, or nothing, if you just want to be left alone to read the damn book). Click here for buy links to all your favorite retailers.
Until next time, friends!
P.S. If there’s anything specific you’d like to see in these newsletters, please let me know! I’ll do my best to answer any questions you might have about the new book and my writing/publishing journey. The next newsletter will have a list of books I’ve read and loved, which I think you’ll love, too.