Monday, January 24, 2011

Leaving corpses where I used to have lunch....

Oh, that Susan at Win A Book! She's a piece of work. Hello to her wonderful fans. (where did she get half a billion readers?) Jenny, Susan *sneak* and I have our heads together today...with a devious plan....

Two words come quickly to mind when reading Madness and Murder...insanity, and homicide. Isn't that remarkable?...that rush of 'Oh, my God! I get this!". Such is the skill of J.F. Hilborne, or JennyFrank. There is a reason you recognize the obvious gift of direction with her prose. She is almost Shakespearean - because - she's from....England!

"Well!" you say, "I suspected that, but wasn't sure..."
I know! It just makes you go wobbly, huh!

Nineteen years ago, plus three, JennyFrank was handed to her parents, and they rushed to get a pram. Her nickname, for years, was Oops. They seemed better prepared in a few years; she was the baby sister no longer, and was a big sister to two other girls. Remember, this was England, the time of great ships, red coated armies who stood in such ordered lines as they marched. A family of six had to hide in the bleak countryside. She longed for years to be able to go to school, as normal, properly numbered siblings were allowed to do. As she tended sheep on the moors, she dreamed of America. Where the language was less strenuous.

"Someday, in 1997, I shall flee this woolen place! Leave the Henges, and the drizzle behind me. I shall be... a Californian!... and join a society of predatory dogs with verbal skills."

Oh, you've noticed that smile, haven't you. Ok. I'm lying.
But, I'm not going to tell you, in which parts.

Like most Britainfleeers. (itsa word! Britain flee-er. Just ask her.) Anyway, like most refugees, she came to Southern California, because she needed a few years out of the rain. Uneducated, unable to speak to the natives, JennyFrank struggled to fit in. But, tall and thin, in a land where no one was blonde, she almost returned to her homeland. It's a mystery why she stayed. None of her sisters will speak of it. They offered me a really nice, hand knitted sweater, to leave them alone, but, I can't wear wool.

She's just here; and, that, as they say, is...well, that. (God! That language! It'll wack your spell check fo shizz!)

So, she writes this book. (I think that's it.) And some publisher guy hears about it.
And now she's on a blog. America really has been the land of dreams for this lady.

But, we ordered a banker from the U.K. and they doubled our value, sending a fiend along with her. I've forgotten to mention, the wicked, evil, murderous JennyFred.
Yes, she was born a twin. It is that Jenny F. who penned Madness and Murder.
She, who tells me exactly what her serial killer does to his victims; in details to make a coroner wince. Two personalities must be the result of duel citizenship. Either that, or sheep shearing is practice for other means of torture. The second M in her book title gets a very good workout in her tale.

That brings me to the bridge. The little JennyFrank could boast of living near one of the most famous bridges in the world -  The London Bridge. (not the one we were sold.) I've lived near the other, more famous bridge - The Golden Gate, which is painted rust color, BTW. It is near my beloved Art Deco suspension marvel where JennyFred leaves her corpses in M&M. I worked downtown in San Francisco, and had lunch at the Embarcadero regularly; Boudin Cafe actually. All that time, she could have killed me. She has a second book, due for release on Tax Day this year. If it is set in the Rockies, I may need to move.

She came to California, in 1997 - remember? I was living in San Fran in 1998.
I could have been a statistic, or headline: CRAZED, BLONDE BRIT BATTERS BOJANGLES

I suggest extreme caution around her; here she comes.....

Have you tried to drive down Lombard Street? I lived there for a year and never got the courage.
Yes, I did drive it and it’s not as difficult as it looks, in a compact car anyway. I just got little dizzy.

You were raised in the U.K., but you are now a good-twin/evil-twin citizen. Have you lost your British accent?
Not at all. It gets a little diluted when I’m around Americans, but a trip home and a good dosing of Brits levels me out. I do get into trouble now and then for dropping Brit clangers when talking to Americans – you know, the phrases that don’t mean the same in both places.

Brits don’t seem as eager to learn a second language, as others on the continent. Do you speak a second language?
Yes, but not fluently. I learned foreign languages from the age of 11; German, French, and later Russian. I can speak a smattering of French and have a reasonable understanding of German. Oh, and I do know some swear words in other languages but I doubt if that will impress anyone. (This, my dear readers, is only due to Brits needing to phone over the Channel for decent food. The French deliver that week, or it's free.)

 Why murder mysteries? Aren’t you a banker, by profession? Those are mild folks – or should be.
I work in the banking industry but I’m not a banker. As for mild…well, I haven’t come across too many mild personalities in this industry. Quite the opposite. I write murder mysteries because I love them, I can craft them, and I can pull from a lot of real life influences when I plot. Plotting makes me look interesting when I’m not even really listening. Say no more, eh?!

Does your job require you to travel much? What is the most exotic country you’ve visited?
I used to travel in the job, but not any more. I don’t think I’ve been anywhere I’d call exotic, but the most interesting country I’ve visited is the former Yugoslavia. I went to furthest point before the Albanian border and it was fascinating.

Give us the moment, when you realized you were about to write a complete novel.
July 2007. Etched in my brain. I set about with unwavering determination after several years of fear-induced procrastination.

Was there any event in the plot, which arrived as a surprise – something which wanted to move off in its own direction?
Yes indeed. My villain came out of nowhere, tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hey, forget about that other guy. I’m way badder ‘n him!” I let him have his way and it totally altered the course of my novel. I’m far happier with the result.

Do you outline and plan your work in any way?
No, I’m a total panster. I sit down and write what comes to me at the time. I fix it all in the re-writes. I’m an eclectic personality; order on the outside, jumbled on the inside.

Describe your first visit to the U.S., what brought you here?
A Boeing 747 brought me here.   I came to America quite unexpectedly. I wanted to visit Canada but couldn’t get a ticket because I left it too late to book. I thought everything was huge.  Enormous. The roads baffled me, couldn’t figure out how anyone knew when it was their turn to go. The people were so friendly I came back.

Any twins in your family?...your sisters, perhaps?
No twins. One of me is probably quite enough. I do have 3 wonderful sisters and there are only 5 years between all four of us so we’re close.

Your next novel is also set in San Francisco. What is the draw of that location? Why does it spark your creativity?
When I go to a place, it either calls to me or it doesn’t. Most places don’t. San Francisco does. Parts of it remind of England. I had to set my novels there so I could have an excuse to keep going back for the research .

I’ve come to think all British children are packed off to boarding school. Were you?
No, I went to a regular public school. Funny, how the stereotypes of British folk still exist. We’re not that reserved either, and we don’t have a stiff upper lip. We just sound snooty!

Were you a creepy kid? You don’t shy from striking descriptions of bodily injury in your text.
HAHA. Me, creepy? I was sweet and loving. Barf.  No, I wasn’t creepy at all. I was a wallflower. I still am. But definitely not creepy. Am I?

Which would you rather do, on your next long trip; sail or fly?
Fly. My biggest fear is drowning. The water is not for me, and I’m a Pisces. I think it’s a cruel twist of fate.

Have you ever seen the Queen?
Yes, but only in magazines and on book covers. I’ve been to Buck palace many a time, but she’s never been home. Has she read your book? You know what, I’ll bet she has, but I don’t think she’d admit it. Folk might think she’s creepy.

Tell us about Wolfwriters, if you are allowed, please. They aren’t some secret society of murder-mystery fans are they? You know, meeting in obscure places and play acting all sorts of crimes…
Wolfwriters  is a group of writers who meet several times a month in San Diego to read and critique each others work. I’m not currently active in the group due to my hectic commute and work schedule, but they are a great bunch of folk who share constructive criticism and a bunch of laughs with each other. (That commute she complains about, is about two hours each direction. She advertises her book on the rear window of her car!)

Which do you have the strongest passion for – writing, or reading?
Both. Writing probably has the edge.

Do you get nervous before book signings?
No. They’re just people. I’m delighted to meet them.

Have you ever encountered a ‘strange’ fan?
Probably, but I didn’t recognize them.

Give us the title of the book, which you might not otherwise admit to reading.
The Idiot's guide to Forensics. I’d rather do my own research but I don’t always have enough time.

Cooking at home, or dinner out?
Cooking at home, as long as I’m not doing the actual cooking.

Did you work in a record store for a while? Here in the U.S. or Britain?
I did. It was in the UK for about 4 years in total when I was in my 20’s. I absolutely loved it. What could be better back then than listening to my favorite tunes all day and getting paid for it?

Do you like bagpipes? Can you play them? What instrument can you play?
I do like them. Many would disagree with me here, but I don’t have enough wind to play them! I love listening to them. I can play (badly) the drums, the oboe and the violin. I learned all 3 when I was younger and sucked at all of them.

If you could have named yourself, what name would you chose?
I would be Alison. I have a sister named Alison and I think it’s an excellent name. Plus I’d be at the front of the alphabet, which was always an advantage at school. I do like my own name, however. I go by Jen or Jenny, but not Jennifer. I like Jennifer but find it too stuffy for me.


J.F. Thank you for the sweet use of your answers. I understood every word. But, I must admit. your sister said you would chatter like mad when given the chance.  Are you certain you said all you desired to say? Jut drop a note if you wish. I rarely believe interviews should have an ending....
Oh, and if you want to hear bagpipes done RIGHT! check out this guy...



  1. Ha,ha!! 'She is almost Shakesperean because she's from England', 'she tended sheep on the moors', 'all British children are packed off to boarding school'. I love it!
    Another fun and hilarious interview, Joel!
    @Jen, is it really JennyFrank? I'm left wondering. He gave me a middle name in my interview and I'm sure most people now think that's my name LOL.

  2. What a crack up, we Brits must take our revenge soon. Frank is not my middle name, neither is it Fred. It's a closely guarded Shakespearian secret ;)

  3. Since we have officially knighted our Bojangles, will he now develop a British accent?

    Another fun interview! Jen, I loved this line of yours, "I’m an eclectic personality; order on the outside, jumbled on the inside." You should use that in one of your books!

  4. Before we teach Bo-J a British accent, we must educate him on the Queen's English. Next time she's home, I'll have her add it to her schedule.

  5. Ha! Locution lessons from Lizzy? LOVE IT!

  6. Sounds interesting. Count me in, please.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  7. I'm in!


    jhsmail at comcast dot net

  8. Great interview!!! And the book sounds awesome!! I'm in!


  9. Great giveaway! I'd love to be entered.

    Please count me in. Thanks.

    avalonne83 [at] yahoo [dot] it

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Our delightful author, [b]Jenny Hilborne[/b], has consented to provide 5 free e-books, in thanks to the wonderful visits prompted by Susan and Win-A-Book. We are thrilled to have her eager readers here.

    Jenny asks, and will award the free e-books to the first five correct answers to this question from her book, Madness and Murder: What is the name of Jessica's dead brother?

    That answer can be found on her own website, just follow the link given above in the feature. The E-books will be awarded by email, just be sure to list that with your answer.

    Thank you again - we hadn't thought of a giveaway to compliment the feature, guys know Susan. She's like Trevor, she usually gets what she wants. :)

  12. Not sure that link is working Joel, been awfully quiet on the back end of the question. Maybe this one will work:


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