Friday, March 29, 2013

Author Interviews: Jen McConnel

By Kayla Curry

I met Jen McConnel through my writing group. We connected right away and we’ve been working together on various promotions and events since then. She’s an awesome person to talk to and she’s very helpful. I was able to get her to answer a few questions for us:

[FFQ] Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

[JM] I'm a teacher, a traveler, and a dreamer. I live in North Carolina, and when I'm not locked away writing, I'm teaching writing at the community college. I love to travel, and I'm slowly crossing off the countries on my dream list.

[FFQ] Can you share a little of your current work with us?

[JM] I'd be happy to: here's a sneak peak scene!

The man in the light blue suit coat leaned across Lou to peer out the tiny window. She sucked in her breath, trying to make herself small in the seat, but he still brushed against her.
“Bloody rain. I hope they can land in this.”
She forced a smile at his American accent and anachronistic British slang. “It’s always raining in Scotland. They’ll manage.”
He sat back in his seat, frowning. “Not my idea of a vacation spot, then.”
Lou nodded, brushing a stray curl off her forehead, but she didn’t try to engage the man in conversation. However, he must have been tired of sitting beside her silently, because he continued.
“I don’t know why I agreed to come here.”
She sighed. “So you’re not on vacation?”
He shrugged. “Meeting an old school friend. She lives in Italy now.”
Lou struggled to keep up. “Then why Scotland?”
“Halfway. I live in Milwaukee these days.” The flight attendant came by just then, and the man ordered scotch on the rocks. “Have to get in practice, right?” He winked at Lou.
“I’ll just have a cup of coffee,” she spoke over her companion, and the flight attendant flashed her a tired smile. Lou sat back in her seat and closed her icy blue eyes, but her seatmate didn’t get the hint.
“Why are you going to Scotland?”
She thought about lying, but she was too tired. The flight had been turbulent, and she hadn’t slept at all. “Family visit.”
“Lucky. At least you won’t have to pay for a hotel room.”
Lou didn’t bother to correct him.

[FFQ] Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

[JM] It sure wasn't easy! I've been writing seriously for about five years, and in that time, I've queried countless agents. I had an agent for awhile for my YA, but when she left the business, I decided to strike out on my own. I formed a publishing company and published my first novel, The Burning of Isobel Key, under my own imprint. It's been a wild ride so far, but I love how much I'm learning. I'll never be bored in this business!

[FFQ] Can you tell us about your new release?

[JM] Ten years after the trip to Scotland that changed her life, Lou is back in the misty, magical country. This time, however, she’s not on vacation: Lou is there to settle some distasteful and depressing family business. When Brian, her old Highland fling, turns up, Lou is forced to wrestle with a past that she thought was dead and buried. As tension between the former lovers mounts, something wicked is stirring in Scotland. Lou must use all her strength to handle the increasingly desperate situation, but will she be strong enough to battle both a vengeful ghost and her heart?

The Key Inheritance is a novella that takes place a decade after the events of The Burning of Isobel Key. This contemporary story crosses into the supernatural as Lou discovers evidence of a long-dead spirit who refuses to rest in peace. Lou may have thought that she was finished with the witch Isobel Key, but her inheritance is more than the young woman can handle alone.

[FFQ] Who designed the covers?

[JM] Heidi Sutherlin: you can check out more of her fabulous work here.

You can find Jen McConnel on her blog and on twitter.

The Burning of Isobel Key and The Key Inheritance are available now. Click the links to check them out on Amazon!