JennyHIlbourneJenny Hilborne is a native Brit, currently dividing her time between Southern California and her hometown of Swindon, England. With a background in real estate and the finance industry, she is the author of four published mysteries and thrillers.

Time to chat with Jenny!

What is your latest book?

My latest book is a psychological thriller titled Stone Cold. It’s set in the idyllic English Cotswolds, where murder is rare. A double murder is shocking.

Is your recent book part of a series?

While Stone Cold was written as a stand alone, I haven’t ruled out the possibility of a sequel, based on reader feedback.

What else have you written?

Madness And Murder is my debut novel, and a psychological thriller set in San Francisco. It features homicide inspector Mac Jackson who, by popular demand, returns in my 3rd suspense Hide And Seek. I’ve also written another San Francisco based suspense titled No Alibi.

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

All the time. All of my books have gone in directions different to those I’d originally intended. While it makes the writing process much harder, it strengthens the stories. If I’m surprised by what my characters do and say, I’m sure my readers will be, too.

Some authors, like me, always write scenes in order. But I know some authors write scenes out of order. How about you?

I’m a panster. As I don’t plot, the scenes are written in order. That’s not to say I don’t juggle them in the edits. In the editing of Madness And Murder, chapter fourteen eventually became chapter one.

Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?

I rarely know the ending until I get there. If I have an idea of how a book will end, it will usually change before I get to it. As for the title, I try to establish that as early as possible. Working on an untitled piece is difficult.

How important is the choosing of character names to you? Have you ever decided on a name and then changed it because it wasn’t right for the character?

I find stellar names in my spam folder and have used a few of them for my characters. I’ve occasionally changed names where it didn’t suit the personality. At the request of a non-profit organization, I recently donated a character name with all the proceeds going to help improve lives of those with disabilities. It was a great cause and the character name the winner chose will be featured in my upcoming paranormal thriller.

What do you like best about the books you read? What do you like least?

As a reader, I prefer plot-based fiction and mostly enjoy dark and gritty thrillers. My favorites are the ones where the hero/heroine is hiding their own dark secrets, is less than perfect and not always likeable. I find them more realistic. Anything too saccharine is a turnoff for me. What I least like reading in thrillers is romance. It slows the story and often makes me cringe.

How much research was involved in writing your book? How did you go about it?

For Stone Cold, I spent six months in the UK and did a lot of research out in the field rather than online. It was refreshing. I drove the same routes the characters take in the book, visited the graveyard with the broken gate where Mara learns the secret behind the forgotten grave, and spent time with local police at the police station and inside the cells to get a real feel for the criminal side of life.

Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?

Feedback from my readers often surprises me. I write for pleasure. Apart from rooting for the underdog, I never attempt to deliver any kind of message in my work, so it surprises me when readers respond with what they picked up. For Madness And Murder, readers made me aware the book has a theme of second chances running through it. I was completely unaware.

Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?

Currently, I split my time between San Diego and my hometown of Swindon in the south west of England. If I were to live elsewhere, it would be San Francisco or New Zealand; San Fran for the research and NZ because traffic doesn’t stink like it does here.

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

I wish I could sing, or play a musical instrument. A jam session by an open fire always seems like such a great way to spend an evening.

What makes you angry?

Rudeness, stupidity, and cruelty. In any order.

If you are a TV watcher, would you share the names of your favorite shows with us?

I confess to watching Big Brother, Survivor, and Snapped.

Have you ever walked out of a movie? If so, what was it?

I walked out of Platoon. It was too graphic. The image of violent death is disturbing.

If you could add a room onto your current home, what would you put in it?

A library room with wall-to-wall books and a comfy leather chair.