Jennifer Hillier

Books in the time of coronavirus

Jan 11, 2021 | Book Recommendations, Little Secrets, Shameless Self-Promotion

(Note: This is a repost of a newsletter originally sent to subscribers on April 3, 2020)

Hey there!

It’s me, your favorite author (ha!) who forgets to send out newsletters. I see you, reading this on your phone or your tablet or your laptop while you attempt to work from home. You’re wearing nice pajamas! Or are those sweatpants? Either way, I like them. You’re doing the whole work-from-home thing exactly right.

It’s a strange, scary time right now, and I hope you and your loved ones are all healthy and safe. It feels like everyone knows someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19. I have friends who are out of work. I have friends who are still working but whose incomes are drastically reduced. I have friends who are still working but now have homeschooling to add to the list of things to do. I have friends who are doctors, nurses, and paramedics, working on the frontline and risking their lives every damn day to make sure the rest of us are okay.

Is it weird to be launching a book in the midst of a pandemic? HELL YES. And I completely understand if books are the last thing on your mind right now. But Little Secrets is coming out April 21st, and it’s still my job to tell you about it (and I’m so, so lucky to still have a job).

What is Little Secrets about? Here’s the elevator pitch:

A year after her four-year-old son is kidnapped from a busy farmer’s market, a woman discovers her husband is cheating on her with a much younger woman, and that the two worst things that have ever happened to her may not be unrelated.


I’m proud and grateful that Little Secrets has generated some good buzz, and is a top pick in:

The Hollywood Reporter
Entertainment Weekly
Business Insider
Huffington Post

It’s also a LibraryReads pick in the U.S., and a LoanStars pick in Canada. And I’m featured on this month’s cover of The Big Thrill magazine!

The book has received amazing endorsements from bestselling authors Riley Sager, Chevy Stevens, Laura Lippman, Alafair Burke, Liv Constantine, Mary Kubica, Mark Edwards, Matthew Farrell, and Lisa Regan, all of whom I read regularly, and love.

Want to hear the first chapter read aloud by my friend and fellow thriller author, Hannah Mary McKinnon? Click on the graphic below and it will take you to the Facebook link. Hannah does First Chapter Fun every day at 11:30 am EST, so be sure to follow her on Facebook.

Little Secrets will be out April 21st, and you can pre-order it now to make sure you get it as soon as it’s available. I’m hearing book shipments for new releases are definitely still happening, but might be slightly delayed. Or, if you’re a GIVE IT TO ME IMMEDIATELY type of person, you can pre-order the e-book now, and it will download to your e-reader right at midnight on April 21st.

Click here to pre-order Little Secrets

I have new coworkers and they’re annoying

It occurred to me the other day that I have not had a “day job” since 2007. THIRTEEN YEARS. I panicked when this hit me – that I haven’t had a salary or benefits or any type of job security in well over a decade. This wasn’t intentional. It wasn’t like I gave two weeks’ notice at my last “real” job (which was at the University of Waterloo, where I worked in Financial Aid) and boogied out of the office on my last day, glad to never have to set foot in an office again. I was moving to Seattle for my then-husband’s job, and I assumed I would find another job – something similar, hopefully – when I got there.

But I couldn’t get another job. Homeland Security lost my information, not once, but twice, and my work permit took a year to be approved (I’m Canadian). In the meantime, I was writing a lot. I was feeling creative and stimulated by being in a whole new environment, and Seattle is just so vibrant, and rainy, and green, with interesting people, and really good coffee, and moody music.

While waiting, I wrote a book. It sucked. And then I wrote another one, and found an agent. She sold that book (Creep) to Gallery, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, and then Gallery went on to publish three more of my books. And then I moved over to Minotaur, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press (which is part of Macmillan), who published Jar of Hearts and the forthcoming Little Secrets, and eventually, they’ll publish two more.

So here I am. Six books in thirteen years. Not a lot compared to some writers, but it’s not nothin’, either.

Somewhere along the way, writing became my “day job.” And normally, self-isolating wouldn’t be that hard for me, since I’m a writer and basically go nowhere during the day.

But now, there are three of us at home all day. ALL DAY. And we are INSIDE. Together. Sharing air. ALL THE TIME. I read a funny meme on Instagram that said to think of your family as your coworkers, that way they’ll be less annoying.

But are they less annoying, though? Because “Max” is a very needy coworker. Since he’s only five years old, he needs constant assistance with everything (making it impossible for me to write), and he leaves Legos and crumbs all over the floor (which require daily vacuuming, which he’s too small to do). Not really a team player. And “Darryl” spends a good chunk of the day on VERY IMPORTANT phone calls, and he speaks in an ABNORMALLY LOUD VOICE on all of them.

Luckily they’re both cute.

What have I been reading?

Unlike toilet paper, there’s no shortage of books available in this house. Here are some books I’ve recently read and loved, if you’re looking for something juicy you can sink into (click on book covers for more info):


And what have I been watching?

I’ve been very into action/disaster movies lately, particularly shark movies. What can I say, I find it comforting that the villains in these movies (who are SHARKS) are CLEARLY VISIBLE and EASILY AVOIDABLE, which means IF YOU DON’T GO IN THE OCEAN, YOU WILL LIVE. Fun, mindless entertainment (and I always root for the shark). I can recommend 47 Meters Down,
The Meg, and Jaws (of course)

If you’re into wacky, weird true crime, you might give Tiger King on Netflix a try. It’s about people who own private zoos. But don’t say I didn’t warn you; it’s a trainwreck (and I’m predicting Joe Exotic will be the most popular Halloween costume this October).

Am I working on my fitness? HA, NO.

I know we’re all limited to being home most of the time, and getting in regular physical activity is a bit more challenging. If you’re not working out much, or at all, that’s okay! There is no obligation to stay fit during a pandemic – a lot of us are just trying to get through the day, and the only goal you need to have is to survive this thing. I can say I do miss going to yoga classes and, you know, seeing other people I don’t live with. I downloaded this app called Down Dog, and I’ve been doing yoga from home. And it’s totally free until May 1st (July 1st if you’re a healthcare worker).

That’s it for now. Have a great weekend! (Wait, is it the weekend? I’ve lost track of the days). Sending out good thoughts to all of you.

Now go wash your hands.

Talk soon,

<3 Jenny