Jennifer Hillier

How it really feels to release a new book

May 8, 2018 | Jar of Hearts, Newsletter, Personal

(Note: this is a repost of my May 1, 2018 newsletter. To subscribe and enter to win an ARC of JAR OF HEARTS, sign up here.)

We’re exactly six weeks away from the JAR OF HEARTS release . . .

and folks ask me every day if I’m excited to see my book out in the world. Of course, my answer is yes. It’s really exciting, so exciting that I get butterflies in my stomach when I think about it, which turns into nausea if I think about it while I’m eating. For the most part, I’m sleeping just fine… every other night.

I have to be honest: it’s stressful. There’s no way around it. I’m a fiction writer, which means that while this book may have been seeded by certain true events (serial killers Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo, if you watched my first video), the story is a figment of my imagination. And readers will react to it subjectively, and have opinions, and sometimes opinions can be harsh, and at the end of the day, I’m just a girl, standing in front a reader, asking them to love her (book).

(Okay, I just threw up a little in my mouth typing that—I love the movie Notting Hill, but I’ve always hated that sappy line. It’s only slightly less worse than “You complete me” from Jerry Maguire, which is an otherwise great movie. Barf.)

See how testy I am? Book releases do this to me! I’m a chill person, normally. I’M NICE, DAMMIT. Sorry.

You’d think by now I’d have a better handle on all of it, but increased visibility means increased stress. My most important job is writing, yes. But my second most important job—at least for the next little while – is talking about what I’ve written. And I’m not a natural salesperson, so this part is really hard for me. I don’t ever tell someone I’ve just met what I do unless they ask directly, and even then I don’t mention what kind of books I write unless they press. I’m shy!

Which leads to the question that all writers hate to get asked: how’s the next book going? (Because hopefully there’s always a next book). Well, it’s going slower than I’d like. I have what I feel is a rock-solid idea, but it’s been hard to get into a groove because I’m always talking about JAR OF HEARTS. And this is just how it is right now. Will I finish the next book? Heck, yeah. I’ve never not finished a book I’ve started, ever. It would… bother me. It would feel like getting my fur rubbed the wrong way. I’m a little obsessive about unfinished work (and I’ll talk more about how I’m handling this at the end of this newsletter).

Speaking of obsession, let’s throw it back for just a moment to my first book CREEP, which is about a popular college professor who’s stalked and terrorized by her student. I like to think of it as Fatal Attraction meets Disclosure. If, by some chance, you haven’t read it yet, it’s the Kindle Daily Deal for the month of May! Only $1.99 (which is cheaper than your morning latte).




Have you been reading the news about the Golden State Killer? After more than three decades, they finally arrested the guy, and it turns out he used to be a police officer. Sound familiar? Maybe it’s because I wrote a story just like this back in 2014, about a retired chief of police who turns out to be a serial killer called  THE BUTCHER (and don’t worry, this isn’t a spoiler – I reveal this juicy nugget early on and the story starts from there). Man, I loved writing this book. Only took me seven weeks to write the first draft. But four years later, I’m still getting angry emails about my villain, Edward Shank. What can I say, he’s not a nice guy. Villains usually aren’t.