Lou is in the middle of a quarter-life crisis. Fresh out of college, she’s unemployed and unsure of herself. But when she gets the chance to escape to Scotland with her best friend, it could be the answer to her quest for self-discovery. The trip is not at all what she expected, especially when her tour guide turns out to be the dreamy historian Brian, and together they embark on a hunt for information about Isobel Key, a woman accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century.
They set out to learn the truth of the condemned witch, but Lou isn’t prepared for the knowledge that awaits her. She must face her own demons if she has any hope of righting the wrongs of the past.
Flashing between seventeenth century Scotland and a contemporary romance, THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY is a mystery that will please readers of all ages.
How long have you been writing?
Forever! I loved writing poetry and stories when I was younger, but in college I wandered away from creative writing (despite being an English major). I started seriously writing fiction almost six years ago.
What’s your writing process?
I’m a total pantser when I draft; I attack a new idea and worry about editing later. I also like to have more than one project going (at different stages) at a time; I rotate between them, using revisions on book A to take a break after drafting book B. My editing process is really drawn out, and actually involves outlining and other planning; I can spend years revising!
What sparked the idea for this book?
In 2007, I traveled to Scotland, and while I was there, the history (particularly of the witch trials) fascinated me. I didn’t plan to write a book about it, though; in 2009, when I sat down to my first NaNoWriMo, this story began to take shape.
Did you know how the book would end when you started it?
Not at all! I love it when my characters surprise me!
Which character are you most like?
Each of the characters shares something with me, but they are each distinctly different, too. I guess in my early twenties, I was most like Tammy, Lou’s best friend: loud, driven, and a bit oblivious to other people.
If your book (or MC) had a theme song, what would it be?
Hmm. I guess I’d have to say “Witchy Woman” by the Eagles. 🙂
What’s your favorite line/scene in the book?
That’s a tough question! Without giving anything away, I really love the last line: “But secrets do not stay buried forever.”
Was there anything (e.g., the introduction of a character or plot twist) that surprised you when you were writing?
So many things, but lots of them are plot spoilers. I guess one of the biggest surprises was that the book ended up becoming a mystery; that’s one of my favorite genres to read, but not one I ever thought I’d write.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on revisions to the sequel to ISOBEL, coming out early next year. It’s so fun to revisit these characters!
Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn’t crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time. Her debut NA novel, THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY, is coming December 2013 from Bloomsbury Spark . Visit http://www.jenmcconnel.com to learn more.