Hey everyone! Well today as part of Book Talk With R & T you get to hear it straight from the author’s mouth- yes, folks, Jenny Milchman took some time to answer some questions- so yay!!! Before we go to the interview portion of the show- let’s take a moment to do some linky love. First, Rhiannon @ Ivory Owl Reviews review of RUIN FALLS is fantastic- she says “It was exactly what a thriller should be!” (Doesn’t that just make you curious?! You know, if it does- well, there is a giveaway!!!)
Now, on to the interview….. (said in my best Batman voice!)
Interview with Jenny Milchman
Your debut book tour was dubbed “the world’s longest book tour” at seven months long! How long will the Ruin Falls book tour be?
Shelf Awareness called the “Let It Snow” tour for Cover of Snow the world’s longest. It was magical enough that when my next book came out, we decided to set out again. “Over the Falls” was short by comparison—4 months and 20,000 miles—but that was only because Ruin Falls came out later in the year and we had to get the kids back in time for school. “Car-schooling” can only go so far…although that’s pretty far.
What is the biggest lesson you learned on your book tour?
That life is lived one by one. One book at a time. One friend at a time. One bookstore at a time. One magical meeting, one stretch of road. And also that as much as the virtual world has expanded our real one, nothing beats a handshake or a hug given face-to-face. The real magic happens when the virtual meets the real, I think. You and I met via the blog, Tamara—but everything changed when we also got together for a good old-fashioned, sit down chat.
What is your writing schedule like? (Do you write every day? Do you have a certain spot you work best? Favorite beverage?)
Well, the first thing I should tell you is that I can’t write a new book while on the road. I can edit on the road. But a new novel is such a deep, immersive process that I need to tunnel down, slip through the portal, and not come out until the story dumps me out—a little like a water slide at an amusement park. It takes me between three and six months to write a first draft, and I like to write in the mornings. I don’t do any email or social media then. In fact, until recently I wrote on a machine that was running Windows 98 and had no Internet or USB port. I backed up on floppy disks. Now even though I’ve joined the 21st century, I still don’t go online till after I’ve gone into my story world and come back out. I don’t eat or drink—and I can write anywhere so long as it’s clutter-free. But I’d better stop now just in case all of the above hasn’t already shown you how crazy I am!
Jenny, you are an advocate for the book blogger/author/publisher relationship. The wildly successful #30Authors that The Book Wheel hosted all September long was inspired by you. Can you tell us why you are such an advocate for the book blogger/author/publisher relationship?
I feel about book bloggers much as I do booksellers…that you all are the ones out there, whether in a bookstore or on the web, hand-selling authors’ books. And hand-selling is where it’s at. Word of Mouth is how new releases by established authors and brand new debuts get discovered. You remind us that our fave author has a new book out; you introduce us to someone who’s just getting started. No advertisement speaks as well as someone you trust saying, “You have to read this.” And book bloggers have become people we trust for those recommendations. Anything I can do—and I’m still pretty new at this—to shine a light on the book bloggers and build a bridge between you and the publishers, I want to do, because I think it all enlivens the conversation you started about great books.
Ruin Falls is your second published book but you have “a cyber drawerful” of unpublished works. Are they all thrillers?
They are all what reviewer Oline Cogdill calls family thrillers. Novels where the protagonist is going to cross what I think of as the horizon of the Before and After, and life as she knows it—a life you or me or anyone we know could relate to—is going to go from ordinary, to one nobody would ever want to live. My heroines all have to dig deep and face their weaknesses, their small and raw parts, in order to restore justice to their lives and triumph in the end. I think it’s a trajectory we all can imagine facing—even if we never have to. One of the most precious things I’ve ever heard in response to my books came from a woman who said, “I feel a little stronger about myself after I read one.”
How are you using social media to connect with fans?
I’m fairly active on Facebook and Twitter, and every now and then join in on a LinkedIn conversation. I share a lot about other authors—their appearances, releases, guest spots on my blog—and articles or posts that come my way. And I always, always respond to readers and fans. It’s one of the biggest joys of this business, outside of the writing itself!
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Oh, this one is impossible to answer! I never want to leave someone out. But I’ll list what I know is a subset. First of all, first and foremost, is Stephen King. Huge influence on me. I think he’s a master of character. I also love Laura Lippman’s standalones, Nancy Pickard, Lisa Unger, Tana French. And then there’s Lee Child, Michael Koryta, Gregg Hurwitz, Grant Jerkins…how much room do I have?
What are you working on now?
I am about to embark on the final, or close-to-final, round of edits on my 2015 release, As Night Falls. It’s about a woman who opens her front door to find two convicts on her porch. After I finish edits, I get to start my next novel…and it’s verrrrry hard to wait.
How are you balancing your life- mommy/author/book touring? Are you feeling pressure? If so, can you tell us how you cope with all the “hats” you have to wear?
The funny thing is that I find the juggle easier on book tour than when we’re at home. People always ask me how I can live out of a suitcase, “car-school” two kids, and do all those events. But first of all, anything that get me out of housework gets a massive thumbs up on my end. And school-school, real school, what with making the bus, and all the meetings and activities, and homework and special events…well, as many of your readers probably know, it’s not exactly easy. On book tour we are all working together every second of the day, while at home, we are pushed and pulled in a lot of different directions. I admire all the writers—women—people out there who balance all of that every day. I actually get something of a break!
Recently, we discussed about the “thriller” genre being more male dominated. Why do you think there are not as many women thriller writers? Are there any we should be keeping our eyes on for us readers who enjoy reading thrillers written by women?
International Thriller Writers, an organization that has a large part of my heart, was apparently founded in part to give female thriller writers more of a voice. And I suppose it’s true, as you and I were saying, that there are a lot of techno thriller, action/adventure, typically male examples of the genre. But I personally have always read a great deal of female thriller authors. Lisa Gardner, Lisa Unger, Alafair Burke, Tess Gerritsen, Karin Slaughter—and the list goes on—all write highly–charged, fast-paced novels. I think that the thriller or crime fiction genre is varied enough that there’s something in it for everyone. One thing you get when you begin reading some of the women writers is a relational level—how the ties that bind also become the ones that choke. I am fascinated by that aspect…and I suspect a lot of your readers might be, too?
So readers… tell me: Did you find another female thriller writer to add to your list? Let me know in the comments!
Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,
Book Talk with R & T