Chris High interviews me. And, a big fat giveaway.

Maybe it's narcissistic of me to admit this, but as an author I enjoy being interviewed. I'm always surprised at the questions I get asked, and am even more surprised by the answers I give, especially when I'm forced to really think about why I made some of the choices I did.

In an interview with Chris High, I talk about apple scented candles, why damaged people often make the strongest people, and how I wrote CREEP from a lonely place. Did I overshare? Maybe. Click here to read the whole interview.

And if you have time, please check out Chris High's great review of CREEP. Here's a portion of it:
Jennifer Hillier has created with Creep – her debut novel – an almost perfect piece of crime fiction that tears through the all the established barriers. Click to read the rest of the review.

Because it's Friday (yay), because it's January (blah), and because I'm on the home stretch with revisions for FREAK (cry), I am giving away a signed hardcover of CREEP to one random commenter below. All you have to do is tell me you want one.

Maybe I'll even give away two. Or three. We'll see how it goes. Open to anyone in Canada and the U.S.

Happy Friday, guys!

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A hitwoman named Maggie and a lizard named God

I'm happy to have my good friend, author JB Lynn, here today. Her newest release, CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN, releases TOMORROW! That's Tuesday, January 24th, from Harper Collins/Avon Impulse.

I was fortunate to read an early draft of this... what is it? Romantic suspense? Comedic crime thriller? Women's fiction? You know what, it doesn't even matter. Whatever you want to call it, CONFESSIONS is fast, furious, and funny, and I ripped right through it. I highly recommend it.

Here's the blurb:

Maggie Lee is not your average hit woman. For one thing, she’s never killed anyone. For another, after hitting her head in the car accident that killed her sister, her new best friend is a talking lizard – a picky eater obsessed with Wheel of Fortune, who only Maggie can hear.

Maggie, who can barely take care of herself, is desperate to help her injured and orphaned niece get the best medical care possible, so she reluctantly accepts a mobster’s lucrative job offer: major cash to kill his monstrous son-in-law.

Paired with Patrick Mulligan, a charming murder mentor (who happens to moonlight as a police detective), Maggie stumbles down her new career path, contending with self-doubt, three meddling aunts, a semi-psychic friend predicting her doom, and a day job she hates. Oh, and let’s not forget about Paul Kowalski, the sexy beat cop who could throw her ass in jail if he finds out what she’s up to.

Training has never been this complicated! And, this time, Maggie has to get the job done. Because if she doesn’t – she’s the mob’s next target.

You can follow Maggie and God and their hilarious tweets on Twitter at @NeuroticTweets.

Now for the interview:

I was honored when Jenny asked me to do this guest blog post interviewing myself. Then I was completely panicked when I realized I’m not an interviewer. I couldn’t come up with anything to ask myself. That’s why I decided to use the 10 questions James Lipton asks his guests on Inside the Actors Studio.

1.    What is your favorite word?
“sidle”. I overuse it. Or “piquant”. I don’t use that enough.

2.    What is your least favorite word?

3.    What turns you on?
People who are passionate about…something. Excitement about cooking, architecture, Star Trek…anything that’s not mean or malicious, is infectious.

4.    What turns you off?
Unfairness. And reality TV “stars” with no discernible talent or societal value.

5.    What sound or noise do you love?
The crunching of Autumn leaves underfoot and the end of the coffeemaker’s cycle.

6.    What sound or noise do you hate?
Crying and sleet hitting a window.

7.    What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck. It’s a noun, a verb, and an adjective!

8.    What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
A world-renowned chef. No peeling or chopping and no clean-up.

9.    What profession would you not like to do?
Window cleaner. I’m terrified of heights.

10.    If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“Coffee’s ready.”

 About JB Lynn:

A lifelong resident of NJ (something she hopes you won’t hold against her), JB Lynn doesn’t care if the cup is half full or empty; all she cares about is whether it’s regular or decaf! She writes with a parrot on her shoulder, two dogs at her feet and a patient husband in the next room.

When she isn’t at her desk writing, JB indulges her half marathon addiction. She compares physical training to the novel writing process, “Both require discipline and hard work, and you have to be a little bit nuts to put yourself through the ordeal.”

JB is well aware that any success she achieves is due to the tireless efforts of her critique partners, her wonderful friends who embrace her writer’s neuroses, and to you, the reader.

JB can be reached at

Thanks for stopping in, Jen! So happy to have you.

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New house, new writing space

I realized last Friday as the moving truck was pulling up (did you see the size of that thing? Safe to say the neighbors all know we're here!) that this is my 13th move. And moving-in day was Friday the 13th. So I figure this is either going to be the luckiest place I've ever lived, or the unluckiest.

We are about 80% unpacked, which is pretty damned good considering we moved 14,000 pounds of stuff from Seattle to Toronto. And the truck only arrived four days ago! While there's no real rush to unpack, here's the thing: I dislike being disorganized. I dislike clutter. I dislike cardboard boxes. I dislike dust and dirt. I'm really picky when it comes to my living space, especially since I work from home. Ever watch Friends? I'm a total Monica.

Today's big project was getting my office set up. Since this was a corporate move, we had professional packers come to our house in Seattle to box everything up. Which was great, except that somehow my books, which were alphabetized in Seattle, arrived in Toronto completely out of order. Yes, I realize there are worse things, but since I was so organized at our old house, I assumed unpacking my office would be quick and easy. Yeah, no. This one room took ALL DAY.

Here's a before picture, right after we got my shelves put back together:

And here's my office now:

I'm very happy with how it turned out. I feel like this space has really good energy, and I hope this means I'll write another book here. Or two. Or three.

Tonight, someone on Twitter asked me if I had separate tables for writing and editing. I do. I write all my early drafts at the computer, but I do all my hard copy editing at that blue glass table. I love that table, and I'll be sitting there again when I work on FREAK edits over the next few weeks. 

I know not every writer is fortunate enough to have a dedicated space for writing. I'm very lucky to have an office I don't have to share. I wrote my first novel (now trunked) on an uncomfortable sofa in a cramped living room, and I know I could never take having a personal writing space for granted. Ever. 

Where do you write?

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Why is it Mondays in January are more blah than Mondays in any other month?

I'm still staying at my mom's and it looks like I'll be here for the rest of the week. My ass is beginning to hurt because I've been sitting on her very nice-looking (but not super comfortable) dining room chairs for hours on end, working on edits for the next book. The hard wood squishing my butt cheeks really makes me appreciate my beloved office chair, which is packed on a massive moving truck, and which won't arrive at the new house until Friday night.

Our moving truck. If you see it, tell the driver to go faster, please.

No, I'm not complaining. Life doesn't suck (and even if it did, who'd want to hear about that, anyway?). Mainly I'm just missing my stuff. A girl can miss her stuff, can't she? Like, a girl can be tired of wearing the same two pairs of jeans all week, can't she? And the same four sweaters?

She can, and she is.

But gradually I am settling back into life in Canada (or "Canadia", as my friend Economic Disconnect likes to say, bless his dead, black heart). Tim Horton's coffee is really good coffee, which I had forgotten, and I haven't had Starbucks once since crossing the border. And people are FREAKING NICE here! I had very nearly forgotten that, too. Not that people weren't nice in the U.S. – they most certainly were – but after almost five years away, I can say very objectively that people are REALLY FREAKING NICE in Canada. As you may have heard. It's not a rumor.

I'm getting used to the weight of all the extra coins in my wallet (thanks to loonies and toonies, which are our one dollar and two dollar coins), and I'm getting used to hearing a lot of Barenaked Ladies, Hedley, Avril Lavigne, and Nickelback on the radio (I don't mind the first two, but the last two can suck it, and we will not discuss Justin Bieber), and I'm also getting used to seeing everything labelled in French as well as English. All small things, but all subtle reminders that I'm back in the country where I was born and raised, and that Canada really does distinctively have its own unique flavour. And look, I spelled 'flavour' the Canadian way! (Which looks totally funny to me now.)

Another reminder? I was out with friends today and they must have said "eh" about a hundred times in the span of an hour. So that rumor? Sadly true. Weird how I can hear it now, though. 

It's good to be home. And this is one of the reasons why:

Me with my soon-to-be 12-year-old niece, Kayla. She was 7, and so little, when I left!
And now she's totally into Justin Bieber.

So, while I continue to wait for the big truck to arrive, I am working on edits for FREAK while squirming in this very stiff chair. What are you working on? Catch me up!

* * *

Pinball wizard

Happy new year!

I am once again a Canadian resident.

We made the drive from Seattle to Toronto in four and half days, arriving on New Year's Eve around 7 p.m. If you were following me on Twitter (and if you're not, why aren't you! I'm at @jenniferhillier), you already know the drive was completely boring and filled with tweets about donuts and windmills and crying cats and my intense dislike of peeing in public restrooms. (Hello, McDonald's? Your bathrooms are DISGUSTING.)

But I'm here. My furniture and clothing and books aren't here, and won't be until sometime between January 10th and 12th, but we made it, and the cats are okay, and other than being super tired and maybe a little cranky, I am here.

Confession time.

I don't like change.

I say that I do. I fantasize about doing amazing, crazy, wonderful things with my life that are totally outside the box, but in the end, I don't like change. When confronted with it, my first instinct is to lie on the floor and turtle up. And moving from one country to another is probably one of the biggest life changes there is.

My mood right now is all over the place. I feel like a pinball – I'm bouncing off sharp edges and soft edges, boomeranging back and forth between moments of extreme excitement at what the future holds and desperate sadness at what I've left behind. Sometimes it feels like I'm falling into a dark hole, but then suddenly I get cannonballed back out again for huge, joyful bonus points. Crazy, yes? But I can't think of how else to explain it. Life has been so unpredictable lately, in both good and not so good ways.

Life is a pinball machine. And despite some bad bounces, a lot of really good things happened.

The Highlights of 2011:

Signed another book deal in April. FREAK will be released this summer.
(I've seen a cover, but I can't show it to you yet. And psst... you can pre-order it already!)

Saw my debut novel, CREEP, hit bookshelves in July in the U.S. and Canada.

Visited the offices of Simon & Schuster in NYC, and met my editor and sales team.

Met my agent in person, and we had dinner with Margaret Atwood.

Spoke at the Debut Author's Breakfast at ThrillerFest in NYC.

Had a wonderful (but thoroughly awkward) conversation with my favorite thriller writer, Jeffery Deaver. 

Finally met some writing friends in person (JB, Ghenet, Lisa, Dan, and Nancy, to name a few!)

Launched CREEP at my favorite bookstore in Toronto with friends and family in attendance.

Launched CREEP in paperback in the U.K. 
Many thanks to Catherine, my editor at Sphere UK, for this picture she snapped in the supermarket!

Made some new best friends (you know who you are, and there aren't enough words to describe what you've brought to my life).

For 2012, I hope:
  • To embrace life in Toronto once again.
  • To write a new book and get back that feeling of pure joy that can only come from a creating a new story.
  • To see FREAK on the shelves this summer.
  • To attend more writers conferences, because I believe it's important to be around other people who understand this special breed of crazy.
  • To never take my family or friends for granted, because in the end, they're all that matter.
  • That each and every one of you gets whatever it is you want most this year.

Let's bounce, people!

What do you want most this year?

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