Jennifer Hillier

Spring has sprung

Jan 11, 2021 | Awards, Book Events, Jar of Hearts, Newsletter, Writing Process

(Note: This was originally sent out to newsletter subscribers on April 15, 2019)

Some books are harder to write than others.

I don’t know why. I turned in my sixth book six weeks ago, and I’m noticing a pattern — I’ve had the most fun writing every other book. Creep, The Butcher, and Jar of Hearts were so much fun to write. Freak, Wonderland, and this new one felt like… work. WTF? I didn’t sign up to be a writer so I could work.

Except I did, and I’m learning that every book is its own unique experience. Also, every book is work. This new book took a year and eight months to write. I wrote The Butcher in seven weeks. Jar of Hearts took seven months. What’s the difference? I don’t know, honestly. Life got in the way a bit this time. But I can’t blame it all on that. Some books just take more time. This one was challenging because there are fewer dead bodies. And no serial killer. I know, right? What’s happening to me? Fewer dead people? No serial killer? Am I getting soft in my middle age?

I’ll let you decide when the time comes… but I always write about what scares me. And what scares me now is different than what scared me ten years ago.

My first book club

Can you believe I did my first ever book club just a couple of weeks ago? A friend of mine has belonged to a book club for ten years, and we finally got a date on the calendar for me to come and talk to them. I spent an evening with a passionate, dedicated group of readers, all who’d finished Jar of Hearts. They asked so many thoughtful, insightful questions, and they made me dive deep into my process. It was an amazing evening.

Back to high school

Last Monday, I went back to high school for the first time since I myself was a high school student. That was twenty-five years ago, my friends. What an awesome, trippy experience. A teacher friend invited me to speak to her ninth grade English class at Grimsby Secondary School, and let me just say, I don’t know how she does it every day. Teenagers are a tough, intimidating audience! But I think we all had fun. I know I did.

I’m taking over Bloom!

I’ve been invited by the lovely folks at Bloom to take over their Facebook page for a day. It’s on Wednesday, April 17 — two days from now — so if you’re on Facebook, be sure to like the page at to follow what I’m up to. The organization that runs Bloom is the Tall Poppy Writers, and the group is fun and lighthearted, dedicated to all kinds of books and the authors who write them.

Arthur Ellis Shortlist Event 

Also this Wednesday, I’ll be attending my very first Crime Writers of Canadaevent. The CWC has invited me to be a guest speaker at the Toronto Arthur Ellis Awards shortlist presentation. I’ll have the opportunity to briefly pitch Jar of Hearts to the audience, and then I’ll be reading the shortlist names for one of the award categories, Best First Crime Novel. The winners will be announced in May.

If you’re in the Toronto area this Wednesday and looking for something fun to do, come out to Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay Street, this Wednesday at 7 pm. The event is free, and open to all.

2019 Thriller Awards

Last Tuesday, as I was meandering around one of my favorite clothing stores, my Apple watch started vibrating like crazy. At first the texts didn’t make sense… until the moment they did. I’ll let you read this text exchange between me and my good friend Ed Aymar:

And this was my face the moment it all sunk in:

It’s hard to describe what this means to me. I’ve never thought of myself as the kind of writer whose books get nominated for awards. And that’s always been okay. I know how fortunate I’ve been in this business, and how much support I’ve had from the writing community. But a nomination for an ITW award means so much! International Thriller Writers is a fantastic organization, and I’ve been attending ThrillerFest in NYC for going on ten years now. I’m honored, humbled, and overjoyed.

Huge congratulations to all the nominees, especially my fellow nominees for Best Hardcover Novel: Lou Berney, Julia Heaberlin, Karin Slaughter, and Paul Tremblay. My first award nomination! Wow.

And back to Ed for a moment. His latest thriller, The Unrepentant, released last month, and you should buy it, because it’s really good.

Also, my friend Angie Kim‘s debut novel, Miracle Creek, is probably the best courtroom thriller I’ve ever read. It’s coming out Tuesday, and you should buy it, too. You won’t be disappointed.

Happy Spring!