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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Welcome Guest Blogger Jenn McKinlay!

London.  

Was there ever a place that beckoned you, that called to you as if it knew you belonged there?  London is that for me.  I love everything about it.  The history, the rain, the palaces, the fog, the pub grub, the underground, the Thames, you name it, I love it

This love affair began with a book, naturally.  I have been fascinated by London and the United Kingdom since I started reading Victoria Holt when I was twelve.  The very first novel I checked out of the adult section of the public library was Holt’s Mistress of Mellyn.   A governess, the cliffs of Cornwall, a brooding hero, it’s great stuff.  The librarian in me feels compelled to mention that Holt also wrote under the names Jean Plaidy, Phillipa Carr, and Kathleen Kellow, among other pseudonyms, penning over two hundred historical and romantic suspense tales, and I’m pretty sure I devoured every one. 

When I started writing my own mysteries, I stayed within settings that I knew, New England where I grew up and Arizona where I’ve lived almost as long.  It was easy to write about these places because I knew the landmarks, the people, the culture, the flora and fauna.  After several mysteries, however, I felt like I needed a challenge.  I wanted to try and write about a place that was totally new and different.  Now my clever plan was to take a vacation to London, indulge my Anglophile self completely, and then write about it.   Life being life, the trip got postponed and the book was due before I put one foot on Portobello Road.

Fear not, the Internet to the rescue!  For my first book, I walked the streets virtually and read every book I could about an American’s perspective on London.  It all fell into place and the book came out pretty well, I think.  And then it was time to write the second one.  The well was dry.  I couldn’t Google Earth my way out of this one.  And so, I packed up my hooligans and my mom and we headed to London.
  
The trip is long when you’re traveling all the way from Arizona. We tried to sleep on the plane, there was a stop in Dublin that I don’t really remember, and then we were landing at Gatwick Airport. The train took us to Victoria Station but again it was all a bit of a blur. What I learned right away was that Londoners are without a doubt the most gracious hosts, every time we stopped and stared about us with puzzled expressions on our faces, someone would approach with a kind word and excellent directions. We checked into our hotel on Hyde Park and passed out. As I fell asleep, I couldn’t believe I was really in London.

The next day we had tickets for the London Eye. We wanted to start our trip with the big view of the city. And it was there, when I walked out of the station toward the Thames River, that I caught my first sight of Big Ben. My heart expanded so big in my chest that I thought I’d pop a rib. My entire life I had dreamed of standing on the banks of the river gazing at the iconic clock face, and there I was. It was a moment I will never ever forget because it was just as amazing as I had imagined it would be. How often in life does that happen?

Death of a Mad Hatter was written during my stay in London while I gorged myself on the sights and sounds of the city with which I am now completely smitten. It comes out on May 6th and here’s a little description so you can decide if you’d like to join me on the trip. Scarlett Parker and her British cousin, Vivian Tremont, are hard at work at Mim’s Whims—their ladies’ hat shop on London’s chic Portobello Road—to create hats for an Alice in Wonderland themed afternoon tea, a fund-raiser for a local children’s hospital. It seems like a wonderfully whimsical way to pass the hat, and Scarlett and Viv are delighted to outfit the Grisby family, the hosts who are hoping to raise enough money to name a new hospital wing after their patriarch.

Unfortunately, the Grisby heir will not live to see it—he’s been poisoned. When traces of the poison are found on the hat Scarlett and Viv made for him, the police become curiouser and curiouser about their involvement. Now the ladies need to don their thinking caps and find the tea party crasher who’s mad enough to kill at the drop of a hat.…

Thanks so much for letting me visit today! Cheerio, Pip pip, and all good things, 


Jenn




Jenn McKinlay is the New York Times bestselling 
author of several mystery series. 
She lives in sunny AZ in a house overrun with kids, 
pets, and her husband’s guitars. 
You can visit her website at www.jennmckinlay.com.




     
Berkley Prime Crime has generously offered a copy of Death of a Mad Hatter to one of my readers. Please comment here before midnight on May 15, and
please don't forget to include an email address where I can contact you if you win.



28 comments:

  1. Would love to win a copy of this book! It is several of my favorite things all in one package! A cozy mystery set in England and Alice in Wonderland! Yay! Win or lose, can't wait to read it! misstree1963@gmail.com

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  2. This book sounds so good, I absolutely love mysteries!!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, but I can't enter you in the drawing without a valid email address.

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  3. I'm excited about reading new mystery books.This one sounds great. mmamacitagrita@gmail.com

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    1. I loved it, Helen. Thanks for reading!

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  4. I love Jenn McKinlay's books! I would love to win, but even if I don't I will still continue to read this wonderful author's books! Thank you for this wonderful opportunity! areewekidding@yahoo.com

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  5. When my daughter was small I use to read Alice in Wonderland to her so anything to do with this classic peaks my interest. Can't wait to read it. scarletbegonia5858@gmail.com

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  6. Love this series. This one looks good

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    1. Thanks for commenting, but I can't enter you in the contest without a valid email address.

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  7. I'm a big fan of Jenn McKinlay. She's one of my favorite cozy mystery authors! krmccoy86@gmail.com

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    1. Mine, too, Kimberly. Thanks for stopping by, and for commenting!

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  8. Want to read this because Alice In Wonderland is my daughter's favorite book. Love the idea of hats too. I remember when everyone wore a hat when they went anywhere. Ronnalord(at) msn (dot) com

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    1. It worked! Thanks for your persistence, Ronna!

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  9. Thank you for a chance to win a copy of Death of a Mad Hatter. I have read some of Jenn's other series and have enjoyed them.

    twbooks (at) cox (dot) net.

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    1. I like them, too! Thank you for reading my blog!

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  10. I haven't read this series, but I like Jenn's other series.

    kaye.killgore@comcast.net

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    1. This is as good as the others! Thanks for dropping by, Kaye!

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  11. i haven't yet read one of your books.... but, every one i read about, makes me want to even more!
    Woofmew@aol.com

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    1. You won't be disappointed! Thanks for reading Stuff and Nonsense!

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  12. I'd love to start reading this series! Thank you for the giveaway!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

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  13. I love Jenn McKinlay's books. I read Books Can Be Deceiving and was hooked. I haven't started this series yet.. But I would love too. Oh and I love your description of finally getting to go to London. Its on my bucket list. Its crazy how we can fall in love with a place we haven't been yet. Thanks for the chance!
    jandeplus3 @ live.com

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    1. Thank you for reading Stuff and Nonsense!

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  14. I've enjoyed all of Jenn's books. I'm sure I will enjoy this one too. The magic number is 28:)

    karen94066 at aol.com

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  15. I'd love to read this book! I know I will enjoy it! Thank you!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

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