Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Jen Blood

Born and raised in Midcoast Maine, Jen Blood wrote (actually, dictated) her first story when she was three years old. It involved a little girl with blue eyes, blonde hair, and a tuna fish sandwich; since that time, she has continued to focus on character-driven fiction, though the plots have become slightly more complex over the years. Jen is author of the bestselling, Maine-based Erin Solomon mysteries, and the soon-to-be-released romantic thriller Midnight Lullaby. Jen currently lives in the Midcoast once more, where she runs an editing business, paddles the nearby pond, hangs out with her mystical pup Killian, and – of course – is forever busy scribbling the next mystery.

What are your ties to Maine or the Boothbay Peninsula?

I grew up in Midcoast Maine, living in the same crooked house on Beechwood Street in Thomaston from three till eighteen, and for brief stints for years thereafter. I lived in Portland for several years, traveled a little, and ultimately landed back in the Midcoast region a few years ago, where I live currently.

What is your favorite thing about writing in Maine?

The things that drove me crazy when I was a kid growing up in Maine are many of the things that I love about the state today. The Midcoast is a tight-knit community filled with a great mix of dodgy codgers and offbeat younger folk, all of whom march to their own drummers. They’re unique, kind, and fiercely loyal, and I love integrating those characters into my work, at the same time shining a light on local businesses that deserve a second look.

What are the most important themes in your work?

Themes… hmm. Friendship and loyalty are very big in my books. Love, naturally. Finding your own truth regardless of the cost, and being brave enough to confront that truth and keep moving. There are also explosions and fires and crafty bad guys, though, so don’t let all this lofty talk fool you.

Tell us about the books you will be signing at Books In Boothbay this year?

This past winter, I completed the five-book Erin Solomon pentalogy, so I’ll have all five novels available to sign at that time. The series follows reporter Erin Solomon as she returns to her hometown of Littlehope, Maine, to investigate an alleged cult suicide she witnessed as a child. Over the course of the five novels, Erin delves more deeply into the mystery when she learns that her own father played a central role in the tragedy. The books take readers from the heart of Midcoast Maine to the backwoods of Western Kentucky; from the wilds of the Allagash all the way down to the ancient temples of the Yucatan Peninsula. There’s love, loss, serpentine twists, well-drawn characters, and an epic love story. And a dog. Don’t forget the dog.

What do you hope readers will discover in your latest book?

I hope they’ll come to appreciate the journey Erin has been on through the course of the five novels, while simultaneously discovering the truth behind all the mysteries she’s been delving into. I’ve very much enjoyed exploring the arcs for all of my characters since the first novel came out in 2012, but particularly love the evolution of the relationship between Erin and her mother, and the two love interests who have developed and matured in the series.

If you have attended Books In Boothbay in the past, please tell us what you enjoyed about it?

I love Books in Boothbay! It’s such a great opportunity to mix with other Maine authors, booksellers, book lovers, and – of course – readers! It’s a nice, friendly vibe in a beautiful place, and is honestly one of the things I’ve come to look forward to most about July in Maine.

What do you feel about the future of our local libraries?

It’s certainly not an easy time to be a library these days, with ebooks and Amazon and all those things that make it so simple for readers to just stay locked behind closed doors rather than venturing into the wide world. But, I also think it’s an exciting time, and I love reading about the new ways that libraries are opening themselves up to Mainers with outreach programs, readings, and community events. They remain a great source of inspiration for me and most of the book lovers I know, and I hope those individuals who value the written word will continue to do everything possible to make libraries a vibrant, relevant part of our communities.

Come meet Jen Blood and a more authors than you can count at Books in Boothbay on July 11!

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