Jenn McKinlay | The Best Part of Writing: Research

Hello, Readers,

The fifth Hat Shop mystery ASSAULT AND BERET is on the shelves now and since I wrote it a year ago, I had to go back and remind myself of what happened in the book. It sounds crazy, I know, but after I finished that book, I went on to write four more so you can imagine that all of those characters, plots, and settings fill up the filing cabinet in my head and make it very difficult to remember who did what to whom, when and where.

Which brings me to the best part of writing, at least for me, the research! I love doing the ground work for a book. Usually, I learn so much more than I can ever stuff into a story, but when the book is released, it gives me a chance to revisit all of the facts that I learned and much like reacquainting myself with the characters, it’s like visiting with old friends. I usually remember exactly what I was doing when I learned a new fact or read and interesting story. That is, when I take the time to revisit the book that is being released.

True story, funny story: I was once doing a book signing during a time when I had a cluster of books coming out, like, every two months and even I was having a hard time keeping up with them all. When someone asked me to tell them a little bit about the book that I was there to sign, I couldn’t remember ANYTHING. Finally, a writer friend bailed me out by chiming in and saying, “There are cupcakes and people die.” Ha! Take that, Cliff Notes!

After that, I learned my lesson and now I go back and peruse the book that’s coming out, so that when someone asks me a question, I have a chance of answering it or at least I can reference the right book. This month I was delighted to go back to Paris with Scarlett and Viv and the gang from Portobello Road and revisit all that happened to them while they were there. It is the series finale so quite a bit happens, actually.

While I was skimming it, I remembered that one of my favorite components of the book was William Graham, Viv’s estranged husband, who is an insurance investigator in the art world. His profession allowed me to research how paintings are evaluated by authentication or attribution, which was fascinating. I particularly enjoyed learning about the piece Red, Black, and Silver possibly by Jackson Pollock. It was rumored to have been painted for his lover who hired forensic experts who found a polar bear hair from the polar bear rug he had in his studio at the time the piece was painted and they used that information to argue that it was indeed a Pollock. Pollock’s wife, however, hired the old school art connoisseurs, professionals who likely knew Pollock’s work better than he did himself, and they argued that the piece was inconsistent with his body of work. Both women have since died and the case has never been resolved. The researcher in me loves this stuff!

Now don’t get me wrong, I love the word-smithing part of writing just as much as the research, but there is no doubt that the more I research a time, place, or profession, the more material I have to work from, which is always a good thing. Now here’s a brief description of ASSAULT AND BERET, so you can say you’ve done your research before you grab a copy of the book!

Allons-y to Paris for more hats and homicide from the New York Times bestselling author of Copy Cap Murder!

London milliner Vivian Tremont and her American cousin and partner, Scarlett Parker, tip their caps to their beloved shop on Portobello Road in Notting Hill and set off for Paris, where Viv can’t wait to teach a hat-making class. But she has another reason to travel to the City of Light: to find the man she impulsively eloped with years ago and have their marriage annulled.

William Graham is not only handsome and charming, but he also has a glamorous job as an insurance investigator who works with priceless pieces of art, most recently a small Renoir that has been discovered in a junk shop. But when both Will and the masterpiece suddenly disappear, it’s up to the ladies from London to follow the trail of clues. They’ll need to hold on to their chapeaux, however, because someone is a master in the art of deception…

THANKS FOR LETTING ME VISIT!

HAPPY READING!

About Jenn McKinlay

Jenn McKinlay

Jenn McKinlay took her first decoupage class when she was twelve years old. Since then, cutting and pasting have become a way of life. With two small children at home, she finds decoupage a fun craft as well as a very handy tool, especially when used to cover up doodles made in permanent marker on otherwise lovely furniture. And yes, they know her by name at her local Michael’s Craft Store. She is the author of three previous novels under the name Jennifer McKinlay and lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her musician husband Chris, their two sons, two cats, one dog and one fish.

Library Lover’s Mystery | Cupcake Bakery Mystery | Hat Shop Mystery

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ASSAULT AND BERET by Jenn McKinlay

Hat Shop Mystery

Assault and Beret

Allons-y to Paris for more hats and homicide from the New York Times bestselling author of Copy Cap Murder!

London milliner Vivian Tremont and her American cousin and partner, Scarlett Parker, tip their caps to their beloved shop on Portobello Road in Notting Hill and set off for Paris, where Viv can’t wait to teach a hat-making class. But she has another reason to travel to the City of Light: to find the man she impulsively eloped with years ago and have their marriage annulled.

William Graham is not only handsome and charming, but he also has a glamorous job as an insurance investigator who works with priceless pieces of art, most recently a small Renoir that has been discovered in a junk shop. But when both Will and the masterpiece suddenly disappear, it’s up to the ladies from London to follow the trail of clues. They’ll need to hold on to their chapeaux, however, because someone is a master in the art of deception…

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: January 3, 2017, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425279595 / eISBN: 9780698187818]



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