(Note: This is a repost of a newsletter originally sent to subscribers on April 21, 2020)
I hope you’re doing well, or as well as can be expected. If you’re like me, then you’re probably wearing the same pajamas that you were wearing the last time I sent out a newsletter. Hopefully you’ve washed them since then (I think mine are clean?). I wish I could say that this is the very first time I’ve ever launched a book wearing pajamas, but sadly, it is not.
But never mind that, because LITTLE SECRETS is out today!
I am so, so proud to see this book out in the world, even if the world looks very different these days. The past month of lockdown/self-isolation/social distancing/quarantine has been a constant reminder that I don’t control the universe, despite wanting to, and occasionally needing to believe that I do. I’m pretty sure we can all agree that we’ll come out of this experience… changed.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for a book to take your mind off things, please do give Little Secrets a try. I uploaded a video to IGTV talking briefly about what the book is about, and you can click on the photo to watch it (or if you don’t do Instagram, you can watch it on my sad little YouTube channel):
* * *
It takes a village
I owe a huge thank-you to my publishing team at Minotaur Books for all their hard work building buzz for this book. They’re all in New York, and they’re all working from home, which I can only imagine makes everything ten times more challenging. As of today, Little Secrets has over 1,500 ratings and over 1,000 reviews on Goodreads, with an overall rating of 4.37. That’s amazing.
And the trade reviews have been (knock on wood) pretty great:
“A diabolically plotted psychological thriller of lust, obsession, greed, and betrayal… Hillier remains an author to watch.” – Publishers Weekly
“A delightfully twisty psychological thriller perfect for fans of You and Gone Girl.” – Kirkus Reviews
“This book belongs at the top of your must-read list.” – Suspense Magazine
It’s also a top pick in:
Amazon Best Books of the Month
Kobo Best Mysteries & Thrillers
The Hollywood Reporter
Not a day goes by where I’m not blown away by the abundance of awesomeness this book has received. I’m very, very lucky. Thank you to all who’ve pre-ordered, read early copies, submitted reviews, and told others about the book. I’m so grateful.
Congratulations also go to…
… the amazing Elizabeth Heiter, LynDee Walker, and Janelle Brown! I’m thrilled to share a book birthday with three of my author friends, whose books are also out today (click on covers for more info). Congratulations, ladies!
* * *
“Little Books” Big Giveaway
My kind and generous friend Vanessa Lillie came up with the fantastic idea to give away a sweet stack of seven SIGNED books in celebration of the release of Little Secrets. One lucky winner will receive:
Little Lovely Things by Maureen Joyce Connolly
Little Darlings by Melanie Golding
One Little Secret by Cate Holahan
Little Voices by Vanessa Lillie
Pretty as a Picture by Elizabeth Little
One Little Secret by Roz Nay
and of course Little Secrets by me.
To enter, head to Vanessa Lillie’s Instagram post and be sure to follow the rules. International entries are welcome.
Life lessons, blah blah blah
So I need to say this, because I know what you’re all thinking, whether you’re comfortable asking me to my face or not (well, not my actual face these days, but my Zoom or FaceTime face):
Jenny, are you worried about how this book is going to sell?
Girl, please. I am always worried about how a book is going to sell. It never goes away, I never don’t care, I’m never not thinking about it.
But one of the biggest lessons I had to learn, when I decided that I wanted to be a novelist – and not a one-book wonder, but a career writer with a long body of work, who lives to a ripe old age without going insane – is that I had to accept that I can’t control anything other than writing the best book I can. Even in the most ideal circumstances – a strong novel, an enthusiastic publisher, a nice marketing budget, writer friends who’ll do what they can to help get the word out – it’s all still a crapshoot. That’s the business of publishing, and you can stress about it until you stop eating and your hair falls out (hi, Jar of Hearts Jenny) or you can… accept what is.
I’m not saying I like it. But learning not to fight it has saved me so much time and energy. I remind myself every day that careers are made book by book. Readership is built book by book. And while every writer would love to have That One Big Hit they can retire on, it so rarely happens.
Besides, even if I did get That One Big Hit, I’d still write books. What the heck else have I got to do? I might write them in a beach house with a housekeeper, chef, and a personal massage therapist named Dirk, but I’d still be writing and tormenting fictional people for my own amusement. Because other than the people I love, writing is the only thing that truly makes me feel alive.
So Little Secrets Jenny is considerably calmer. I’m healthy, my family is healthy, my friends are healthy, and I wrote the best book I could. It’s all I can do. It’s all anyone can do. Minus the pandemic, this is a much better mental space to occupy. Also, my hair has never been healthier (though I could definitely use a haircut).
With both ThrillerFest NYC and Bouchercon Sacramento cancelled for 2020 – which is understandable, but a huge bummer, especially considering how magical both experiences were for me last year – authors are shifting to virtual events (which will happen with both TFest and Bcon as well). Here are a few I’ve got lined up:
April 23: Facebook Live with Mark Edwards
April 25: Instagram Live with The Reading Beauty
April 26: Instagram Live with Crime by the Book
April 30: Thriller Thursday on Zoom with Liv Constantine
June 4: Book Club Chat on Zoom with Amy Impellizeri
I also had the best time chatting with NYT bestelling author (and one of the nicest people in the business) Lisa Unger, as part of her Three Good Things series. Click on the photo to watch it on YouTube and find out what prompted me to declare that “avocado is the chicken of fruit.”
And I had a really fun chat with the guys from The Crew Reviews podcast. This was recorded pre-pandemic, and I’m certain I overshared and said something totally cringe-worthy, as I always do. Click on the photo to watch.
* * *
Hillier really gets female fury
I read every review my publicist sends me (I don’t go searching them out anymore, for the sake of self-care) and I have to say, this one from Airmail might just be my favorite:
“Little Secrets may start out as a guilty pleasure, but it moves on to territory that’s vividly emotional (Hillier really gets female fury) and painfully human.”
I can’t tell you how much I love this. I feel so seen, because this is exactly what I was trying to do. I write to entertain (always), and if my books do no more than that for you, that’s perfectly fine.
But deep down, I also want to rip your heart out and set it on fire, leaving you wondering what the hell you just read that’s making you feel all these feelings.
I mean, not that you asked.
Hope you’re healthy and safe! Stay inside! Wash your hands! And read lots and lots of books!