Jennifer Hillier

Books in the wild, TV dreams, and New York

Jul 18, 2018 | Book Events, Conferences, Jar of Hearts, Newsletter, Personal, Shameless Self-Promotion

(Note: this is a repost of a newsletter sent out on Wednesday, July 11, 2018)

It’s been a month since JAR OF HEARTS came out

and the response to the book has been amazing. I never know whether my friends and family will actually read my book, because not everybody is a reader, and not everybody enjoys my particular brand of dark, murdery fiction. Even if they know the author. Hmmm… especially if they know the author.

So to have a busy mom friend (who’s lucky if she can get through five pages of anything before she’s pulled away to do something else) text me that she read the book in three days, and that my book was PHE-NO-ME-NAL (and that’s how she texted it, with emphasis and everything), is about as great as it gets.

Of course I love my bookworm readers—nobody is more supportive of authors than a bookworm reader!—but between you and me, sometimes the validation I find myself chasing is the kind you get from the “occasional reader.”

I remember watching an interview with Lee Child a few years back at ThrillerFest. The interviewer asked him, “How do you sell so many books?”

Lee Child turned to the audience and asked us, “Who here reads more than a dozen books a year?” Every hand went up. Which wasn’t surprising—we were at ThrillerFest, after all. But he pointed out that we’re not the norm. We’re, like, the 1%.

The key to bestsellerdom, according to Lee Child (who’d know a little something about it—and yes, I always think of him by his first and last name because, hello, he’s LEE CHILD) is to write a book that the person who only reads one book a year will buy. Which is really, really hard to do.

But having your book available in stores like Costco and Walmart here in Canada is a great start.

Here I am, casually-yet-awkwardly posing at Costco. What? Doesn’t everybody pose for pictures inside Costco?


Here I am, snapping a selfie at Walmart and trying to act like it’s totally normal to take selfies at Walmart.


And here I am at Indigo ( . When I was a teenager, it used to be called Chapters, but whatever you call it, this store is still my first love.

* * *

What’s up with the hardcover/paperback thing?

I get a lot of questions about all the different formats for JAR OF HEARTS. In a nutshell:

US stores sell the hardcover.

Canadian stores sell the trade paperback.

UK stores will have a trade paperback with an entirely different cover. The UK version releases on August 2nd.

However, in Canadian libraries, the hardcover is what you’ll find. And Canadian readers who’d prefer to own a hardcover can order it online.

But back to the UK for a minute. Look at these beauties from Corvus Books! I swooned. The cover feels like velvet and the petals are shiny.

Of course there’s the ebook, which is available across all digital formats (Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Google Play).

And last but most certainly not least, there’s the audiobook. Guys, I know it’s my book, but it’s January LaVoy ‘s voice, and she is brilliant. She’s how I wish I sounded. Take a listen here.

* * *

TV dreams

I have big writing dreams and I talk about them a lot. A LOT. Sorry. But one of them is to imagine that one day, JAR OF HEARTS will be a limited series TV show on HBO or Showtime where the characters can have sex, swear, and do the horrible things they do, allowing the story to unfold as it’s meant to be told.

In my wildest fantasies, Meghan Markle is playing Geo (I said it was a fantasy) and the series is the perfect blend of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, THE NIGHT OF, and THE SINNER.

But, until that day comes (*wish wish wish*), I will settle for JAR OF HEARTS making the USA Network’s recommended reading list for fans of the THE SINNER! (I love this show, by the way. Totally binge-worthy, if you haven’t seen it).

Cinematic dreams do come true, and for people I actually know. Author Rob Hart recently landed a movie deal with Ron Howard. (And his newest novel, POTTER’S FIELD, just came out).

And my friend Riley Sager‘s book, THE LAST TIME I LIED, landed a deal with Amazon Studios to have it adapted into a limited series.

See, kids? It happens. You gotta work your ass off, for sure. But you also gotta dream big. I really believe both these things are necessary.

I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of Riley’s book, which is a thriller about missing girls at summer camp, and here’s what I said:

“Final Girls was outstanding, but dare I say it, The Last Time I Lied is a next-level thriller. Crisp writing, perfect pacing, and with tension that never lets up, Riley Sager’s latest propulsive tale is a one-weekend read that will leave you chilled to the bone.”

Go get it!

* * *

Work trips that don’t feel like work

I’m off to ThrillerFest bright and early tomorrow morning (Thursday), which will be my seventh trip to the Grand Hyatt in New York City.

I love New York. I do as much outside the conference as I do in it, and I’ll be getting some much-needed face time with my agent and editor, and hanging out in person with writing friends I haven’t seen since last year.

I’ll be around all weekend, but Saturday will be my busy day at the conference. I’ll be at the Debut Authors Breakfast at 9 a.m., and then my panel is at 10:30, and then I’ll be signing books for whoever is around at 12:20 in the bookstore room. Later that evening, I’ll be at the banquet with my editor.

I love going to the breakfast. Not because of the free bacon (although, come on, free bacon), but because I love welcoming all the debut writers into the fold. It’s a big deal. My debut class was 2011. The breakfast reminds me of what I wanted back then, and how far I’ve come. I need that reminder.

My panel is called Clinical, Cognitive or Development? Creating Psychological Thrillers with Karen Dionne, Carla Buckley, Lynne Constantine and Val Constantine (who write under the pen name Liv Constantine), Anthony Franze, and Daniel Palmer. I might just be too star-struck to say anything. These folks can write.

And on Sunday, assuming I don’t pass out from nerves, I’ll be doing my first ever reading at Noir at the Bar. So if you’re around, come to Shade and watch me stammer my way through it. (I do not pretend to be a good reader. I do not sound like January LaVoy. I may have to do a tequila shot first).

My husband Darren will be flying into NYC late Saturday night, so at least I’ll have someone to prop me up on Sunday if one tequila shot turns into four. On Monday, we have tickets to see the Foo Fighters at Madison Square Garden.

Of course, all bets for all plans are off if I win tickets in the Hamilton lottery.

Until next time, friends.