Way back in 2008, I decided to write my first novel. I was working as an editor and technical writer for a software company but yearned to be a famous fiction writer. Two events occurred that pushed me into the publishing world.

The first one was a discussion I had with one of my daughters. I worked from home, so my girls often saw me at my desk typing away. I can’t remember which daughter it was (probably the youngest because she’s still full of questions), but she asked me if I liked my job. I said, “I’m very good at my job, but no, I’d rather be writing novels.” She said, “Why don’t you?” I didn’t bother to explain about paying bills and the need for mommy to have a full-time job. Instead, I thought, maybe I can do it in my spare time? I think it is important to be a role model for your kids, so I wanted to show them that you can pursue your dreams no matter how old you are. Cera's Place - Ebook Small

The second event was a reading I had with a psychic. My husband and I were at his company’s Christmas party, and his boss had hired two psychics as part of the entertainment. I couldn’t hear most of the reading because of the party going on behind me, but toward the end, she gave me the opportunity to ask a question. I said, “Will I ever write a book?” After a moment, she said, “Yes.” I got up to leave, and she grabbed my wrist, leaned in, and said, “You will write a book.” OK, shivers.

Soon after that, I started writing Cera’s Place, a historical romance set in post-Civil War San Francisco. It took several years to complete, and I had no idea what I was doing, as I knew nothing about story structure. But I had a lot of fun writing it, and to this day, Cera and Jake are my favorite characters out of all my books.

Venice-in-the-Moonlight-EbookCOVERThe reviews were mixed, but there were enough positive ones that I went on to write Venice in the Moonlight, which is set in eighteenth-century Italy. This time, I did follow traditional story structure, and I picked Venice as the setting because I had fallen in love with the city during a visit with my husband. I also thought incorporating Casanova as a minor character would be fun. During my research, however, I learned that he wasn’t such a great guy—so the movies got that wrong. He wouldn’t have survived the #MeToo movement.

I decided to try a contemporary romance next. Like most people, my life has had its share of ups and downs. The worst down was the three-year period when my father died, my friend was killed in an accident, I got divorced, and my brother died from AIDS. I had a lot of demons to exorcise, and I chose writing as a way to dispel them. First Crush, Last Love is loosely based on my teens and twenties, though there is plenty of fiction in it.647e1-first-crush-customdesign-jayaheer2017-ebook-complete

After reliving my past through First Crush, Last Love, I was burnt out and pretty sure I wouldn’t write another book. Then one day, I was watching the 2015 version of And Then There Were None. I love mysteries, I love Agatha Christie, and I love Aidan Turner (Poldark) shirtless and in a towel. (If you’ve seen this version, then you understand that last line. If you haven’t seen this version, find it and watch it.) Suddenly, I had the inspiration for my next book. I was going to reimagine And Then There Were None but set the story in a remote lodge in northern Wisconsin on New Year’s Eve.

I started Killer Resolutions that day, and it’s been really fun to write. It’s dark, full of murder, and hopefully will keep readers guessing who the real killer is. I was about three quarters done with a first draft, when in June of 2018, I read that Hallmark Publishing was accepting submissions. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

Great-Jewel-Robbery-FRONTCOVERI put aside Killer Resolutions and, following Hallmark Publishing mystery guidelines, I started on The Great Jewel Robbery. It took me less than a year to write it, which is a new record for me, as I am an extremely slow writer. Unfortunately, Hallmark passed on my manuscript, but I don’t mind being an independent author. After all of this time, it would be hard to give up creative control of my books.

I plan on finishing Killer Resolutions in time to ring in 2020, so if you love dark mysteries, keep an eye out for my next release.

As you can see, my writing journey has been all over the place—historical romances, contemporary romances, dark mysteries, cozy mysteries—I blame it on being a Gemini. We’re known for our split personalities!

If you enjoy The Great Jewel Robbery, please take a moment to leave a review on Goodreads or wherever you purchased the book. I love to read feedback from readers.

Take care,

Elizabeth McKenna