Monday, August 01, 2016

A Conversation with Mystery Author Jennifer David Hesse

Omnimystery News: Author Interview with Jennifer David Hesse

We are delighted to welcome author Jennifer David Hesse to Omnimystery News today, courtesy of Great Escapes Book Tours, which is coordinating her current book tour. We encourage you to visit all of the participating host sites; you can find her schedule here.

Jennifer begins a new series with Midsummer Night's Mischief (Kensington; July 2016 mass market paperback and ebook formats) and we recently had the chance to catch up with her to talk more about it.

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Omnimystery News: Introduce us to your new series lead character. 

Jennifer David Hesse
Photo provided courtesy of
Jennifer David Hesse

Jennifer David Hesse: Keli Milanni is a twenty-nine-year-old lawyer in a small general practice law firm. She's a modern woman — single, independent, and health-conscious. (She follows a vegan diet.) She's also secretly a Wiccan. Wicca is such an unconventional and often misunderstood religion that Keli is afraid to let anyone know about this aspect of herself. Of course, that brings up some internal conflict which makes for an interesting character to write.

OMN: How would you tweet a summary of Midsummer Night's Mischief?

JDH: This is actually an easy question, because I landed my agent (Rachel Brooks of L. Perkins Agency) through a Twitter contest called #PitMad. Here's the tweet that garnered me an invitation to submit a query letter: "A closet Wiccan, Keli casts a spell to find love. When a client's rare book disappears, she needs more than magic to catch the thief."

OMN: Tell us a more about the setting for the book. How important is it to the series?

JDH: Edindale is a fictional town in Southern Illinois. I picked this region for two reasons: First, I've spent most of my life in Illinois, so I have first-hand knowledge about this part of the country. Second, and more importantly, Southern Illinois is geologically interesting and lends a great atmosphere for mystery stories. Unlike the flat farmlands of Central Illinois, where I grew up, and the urban metropolis of Chicago, where I live now, Southern Illinois has a more intriguing landscape. With its rolling hills, vast forests, caves, canyons, and swamps, it's an ideal place for hiding secrets and hunting clues.

OMN: Was Midsummer Night's Mischief your working title for the book?

JDH: No — It was actually Magic on a Midsummer's Night. It was my agent, Rachel, who suggested I brainstorm other ideas to come up with something that better fit the cozy genre. We wanted to keep the reference to Midsummer Night, since the book takes place around the Wiccan holiday Midsummer, and also because the mystery revolves around the theft of Shakespeare's First Folio. But we also wanted to make sure it sounded like a mystery book. I think the final title is much better than the working title!

OMN: How involved were you with the cover design?

JDH: My editor asked me to send him ideas for the cover. He told me it would be illustrated, but beyond that he was very open as to what we would feature. He asked me to send him specific images or scenes I thought might make for a good cover. My top choice was to feature shadowy figures dancing around a bonfire in the forest, which is pretty much how it ended up. I love the end result!

OMN: What kinds of books did you read when you were young? And do you think any of these influenced how and what you write today?

JDH: Yes, absolutely. I read a lot of mysteries as a child, including every Nancy Drew book I could get my hands on. (In fact, I pretty much wanted to be Nancy Drew!) As I grew up, and continuing on into adulthood, I read many different kinds of books, but I always came back to mysteries. Mysteries are so fun and engaging. Perhaps it was inevitable that I would become a mystery writer.

OMN: What's next for you?

JDH: Right now, the Wiccan Wheel Mysteries are my main focus. I'm promoting Book #1, awaiting the page proofs for Book #2, and drafting Book #3. I do have ideas for future book projects, but this series is really just getting started. So, I'm hoping Keli will stick around for a while!

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Jennifer David Hesse Book Tour

Like her main character, Jennifer David Hesse is also a lawyer, an English major, and a vegetarian. Unlike Keli, Jennifer is not a twenty-nine-year old single lady, and she does not practice family law. (Jennifer's legal focus is environmental law.) As a nature-loving, mystery-reading, magic-seeking, daydreaming kinda gal, Jennifer is thrilled to be able to write fun, lighthearted whodunits ~ with a touch of romance & a hint of magic. Born and raised in Central Illinois, Jennifer now makes her home in Chicago with her husband, jazz guitarist Scott Hesse, and their daughter, Sage. When she's not working or writing, Jennifer enjoys yoga, hiking, and movie and pizza night with her family.

For more information about the author, please visit her website at JenniferDavidHesse.com and her author page on Goodreads, or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Midsummer Night's Mischief by Jennifer David Hesse

Midsummer Night's Mischief by Jennifer David Hesse

A Wiccan Wheel Mystery

Publisher: Kensington

Amazon.com Print/Kindle Format(s)BN.com Print/Nook Format(s)iTunes iBook FormatKobo eBook Format

As the Summer Solstice approaches in idyllic Edindale, Illinois, attorney Keli Milanni isn't feeling the magic. She's about to land in a cauldron of hot water at work. Good thing she has her private practice to fall back on — as a Wiccan. She'll just have to summon her inner Goddess and set the world to rights …

Midsummer Eve is meant for gratitude and celebration, but Keli is not in her typically upbeat mood. The family of a recently deceased client is blaming her for the loss of a Shakespearean heirloom worth millions, and Keli's career may be on the line. With both a Renaissance Faire and a literary convention in town, Edindale is rife with suspicious characters, and the intrepid attorney decides to tap into her unique skills to crack the case …

But Keli weaves a tangled web when her investigation brings her up-close and personal with her suspects — including sexy Wes Callahan, her client's grandson. The tattooed bartender could be the man she's been looking for in more ways than one. As the sun sets on the mystical holiday, Keli will need just a touch of the divine to ferret out the real villain and return Edindale, and her heart, to a state of perfect harmony …

Midsummer Night's Mischief by Jennifer David Hesse

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