HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: This is SUCH a big deal—it’ll take three days this week to celebrate it! And a fourth day next week.
Ta dah: we are so thrilled to welcome our new Reds! The fabulous friends and fabulously talented authors Jenn McKinlay and Ingrid Thoft.
I will pause now while you give them a standing ovation.
Since they’re now officially Reds, it’s only fitting that I bring out my Jungle Red Questions, right? (They have not seen each other’s answers!)
|Jenn at Poisoned Pen|
HANK: When was the first moment you thought: I could be a mystery writer?
INGRID: Honestly, I don’t remember an exact moment, but I can identify a turning point when I was first shopping for an agent and got positive feedback. It’s transformational when someone other than a family member or close friend reads your work and asks to read more. I always wanted writing to be my career, but things shift when someone else sees that in your future, too.
JENN: Honestly, it was when I had nothing left to lose as I had failed at all other types of writing. I avoided writing mysteries for years because I didn't think I was clever enough. Life lesson: Failure is good!
HANK: I love that you both started with “Honestly.”
Okay, what’s the book from your childhood that most affected or inspired you?
|Ingrid and Hank|
INGRID: You really have to ask? Nancy Drew had a big effect on me, as did the Encyclopedia Brown series. I remember loving “The Phantom Tollbooth,” by Norton Juster, “Meet the Austins” by Madeleine L’Engle and “The Westing Game,” by Ellen Raskin. All of the Judy Blume books were favorites, and I still have my copy of “Just the Beginning” by Betty Miles.
JENN: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier was a game changer for me when I was eleven. It opened up the world of suspense and I never looked back.
HANK: When and where are you happiest?
INGRID: I’m happiest with the people I love when they are happy and healthy. The deal is sweetened by a good book, a beach, and a healthy coral reef to snorkel over or scuba dive. Good food and a good cocktail are also important ingredients in the happiness recipe.
JENN: At my family's summer cottage on the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. Truly, the most beautiful and peaceful place on earth.
HANK: So, the new Reds are water/beach people!
Where do you live? And give us… one sentence about your family.
INGRID: I live in Seattle with my husband, Doug. I’m from Massachusetts and make frequent trips back for research purposes and to see family. I was responding to these questions in my family’s presence over Christmas, and my niece Zoë suggested the following sentence: Zoë is the greatest niece ever. Hmmm…not the sentence I would choose. My one sentence would be that my family is funny, and we get stuff done.
JENN: I live in sunny Arizona in a house overrun with kids, pets, and my husband's guitars. I'm the lone girl so I call it the frat house.
HANK: West Coasters! So does that make us…four east, four west?
You can tell I like to organize. But NOT outline! How about you?
INGRID: I’ve been an outliner for the Fina books, and I’m currently outlining a stand alone. I am trying to be a little more open-minded about not outlining too strictly this time around, but just typing that makes my skin start to itch with the possibility of hives. I’m a planner, in life and in my books, but I’m intrigued when I hear other writers talk about a less regimented process. We’ll see how it turns out!
JENN: Yes, I work from a ten-page outline and I rarely deviate from it. Writing, for me, is much easier with a map.
HANK: When I first read that answer, Jenn, I thought it said “nap.” That writing was easier with a nap. Also true. So when’s your next book out—and what is it?
INGRID: My next book, DUPLICITY, will be out on January 10th. It’s the fourth book in my Fina Ludlow series. Fina is a private investigator in Boston, who works for the Ludlow family firm of personal injury attorneys. She breaks the rules and the law when it suits her, and she has a strong code of ethics. In DUPLICITY, she is hired to investigate the activities of an evangelical church and the hold it seems to have over its members.
JENN: ASSAULT AND BERET comes out on Jan 3rd. The fifth and final in the London Hat Shop mystery series. London milliner Vivian Tremont and her American cousin and partner, Scarlett Parker, tip their caps to their beloved shop on Portobello Road in Notting Hill and set off for Paris, where Viv can’t wait to teach a hat-making class. But she has another reason to travel to the City of Light: to find the man she impulsively eloped with years ago and have their marriage annulled.
HANK: What’s the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?
INGRID: We’ve taken a helicopter to the top of a glacier in Alaska and climbed ice cliffs with ice axes and crampons, but I didn’t find that particularly dangerous. Maybe scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef? We didn’t do the shark dive during which they chum the waters, but we encountered sharks on other dives during the trip. It’s their ocean, after all!
JENN: My dad was a glider pilot, so I took some lessons and flew the ship. I even managed to steer it through a wingover! It didn't occur to me that crashing was very real possibility until my feet were back on the ground -- probably a good thing.
HANK: Yeah, I had a boyfriend who was a glider pilot, and I was so proud of myself for going up with him. (The things we do….) At one point in the flight he said “Damn!”
I was terrified! “What?” I yelped. “Oh nothing,” he said. “I was just thinking I could have done that maneuver more perfectly. I said: “That’s not ‘Damn!’ That’s ‘Hmm.’ Or—tell me later.”
But wait—there’s more! Tomorrow, we’ll hear much more about Jenn’s new book. And on Wednesday—more revealing answers. We’ll discover which new Red is a singer. Which Red cannot for the life of her make banana cake, and which new Red has galeophobia.
Welcome to the Jungle, sisters! And we are so thrilled you are here! (And happiest of New Years and much love to Reds emeritae Jan, Rosemary and Susan—once a Red, always a Red!)
Also! In the comments tell me what questions YOU’D like us to ask! And later in the week, we’ll have the answers from Jenn and Ingrid!