Jenny is the author of the slow burning suspense thriller The Hiking Trip (among others). She’s a mother of two, and a killer of many (on paper, at least).
Hi Jenny, thank you for agreeing to go on a hiking trip through the forest of my interview questions with me! I promise I didn’t bring a gun, so there’s nothing to fear. Probably.
The hiking trip features a mother of two as its main protagonist. You’re a mother yourself, so please, be honest – do you have a swear jar, and how often do you need to empty it?
I genuinely used to have a swear jar but it was either pay the mortgage or pay for my language! My son honestly said to me the other day ‘I miss when we used to have a swear jar and I was rich’.
Hah, I knew it! Well, Laura is the heroine of your book, and when someone threatens her, she does everything to protect her family. I always thought that mothers are the most dangerous species in the world (followed closely by the common sabretooth tiger, which is now extinct – maybe it threatened to many children?). What would you do protect your family? After all, you’re some kind of serial killer yourself! (On paper, at least.)
I’ve always thought I would do ANYTHING to protect my family, and that’s what I’d like to say. Unfortunately I’m a ridiculously moral person (that’s why I like writing about amoral, awful people) so when it came to the crunch I’m not certain I could do anything illegal, however I wouldn’t suggest anyone tests that theory!
I concur with everything you just said! Hopefully we’ll never have to explore the lengths we’d go to defend our families. But talking about exploring – did you ever take a hiking trip yourself, living in a tent? And if yes, how did that experience shape you?
I’ve camped a ton of times, but never a hiking trip. After writing The Hiking Trip I’d like to do the West Coast Trail for my 40th in a couple of years.
I see the charme of it, but then again I’ve already turned forty, so I clearly see the charme of a nice bed in a hotel room, too! Talking about charme, Sera and the charming Ric are supposed siblings here, but it’s quite clear from the start that there is more to them than this pretended relation. By whom were those two inspired? (I thought about the movie Cruel Intentions – could that have been an inspiration for you?)
I love that movie! It’s funny you should say that because I did watch it again while I was researching this book – I like to fill my cup with lots of different inspiration while I’m working through a plot and Katherine and Sebastian were definitely part of that.
Funny thing is I’ve never watched the movie, only heard people tell about it. Your thrillers seem to have a deep, psychological root. Did you study psychology, or are you just a really keen observer of human mentality?
I have an MSC in Psychology – I love studying human behaviours and figuring out what makes characters act the way they do. Writing is easier than psychology though because I can make my characters actions fit my theories.
I think in science that would be called a bias, but in writing we can simply call it plotting! Apropos plot, I’m really curious – did you plan that matryoshka doll like stack of secrets hiding within secrets from the inside out, or did you just discover while writing that there should be another lair of lies behind that current lie? (I’m not going into details here to remain spoiler free.)
I planned the big twist, but the others grew organically. I often do that – imagine my book will end with one twist then find that another sneaks its way in at the end. A few times on the last page, just when you think you have it all figured out! I like the ones that surprise me but once they come to me they seem completely obvious.
Last but not least – do you have a favourite drink or cocktail that you like to sip while plotting murder scenes?
I’d love to be really interesting on this one and pretend I write drunk and edit sober but my writing tipple of choice is unfortunately an incredibly indulgent sugary, milky, tea.
Thank you so much for your time! And if you ever feel the need for a more potent tea, I got you covered.
Long Island Iced Tea
This drink is often an abomination that people like to order to get drunk insanely fast, but it can actually be a really good cocktail if you use high quality ingredients! (In other words, don’t buy cheap alcohol – that’s a life lesson, by the way!) You’ll need:
- 2 cl gin (i. e. Bombay Sapphire)
- 2 cl vodka (i. e. Three Sixty, Absolut)
- 2 cl orange liqueur (i. e. Triple Sec, Curacao)
- 2 cl tequila (i. e. Siete Leguas Reposado)
- 2 cl rum (traditionally white, but I suggest you try a brown one, like Pampero, Brugal, or Appleton Estate)
- 4cl lemon juice
- 2 cl sugar sirup
- cola as a filler
- Ice cubes
You don’t need a shaker for this. This Longdrink is built in the glass, just add everything and stir it gently.
There is no actual tea involved – the name is derived from the color that is similar to iced tea due to the cola, but your version will be a little darker (and a touch more tasty) if you use brown rum instead of white one!