Suzanne Clayborn is a psychically gifted southerner working in her dream job in Chicago, which also conveniently takes her away from the ghosts of her past.
Welcome to one of the February 9th stops on the blog tour for The Woods of Hitchcock by Ann W. Jarvie with Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, author guest posts & interviews, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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Author Guest Post
Topic: Author’s Choice – What questions are you most asked by readers?
Thank you, Westveil Publishing, for the opportunity to answer the questions I’m most asked about my new thriller, The Woods of Hitchcock, including the latest ones, and to announce some breaking news.
What’s your new novel about?
The Woods of Hitchcock is a thriller about a psychically gifted Chicago copywriter and victim of violence who returns to South Carolina’s equestrian country to solve a riddle involving murder, the metaphysical and the secrets of her eccentric family.
Did you have a literary theme in mind as you wrote it?
Yes, thematically, I wanted The Woods of Hitchcock to be a Hero’s Journey—of a woman running away from the literal ghosts of her past until she discovers the secret gifts of spirit within herself.
Where are your books sold? What about signed books?
My books are available through Barnes & Noble, Amazon and most online retail booksellers. I’ve had a number of book signing events in coordination with Barnes & Noble, but I’m excited to announce some breaking news here: I’m having my first IN-STORE book signing event this upcoming Saturday—on Feb. 12, 2020—at the Barnes & Noble/Desert Ridge store in Phoenix, Arizona.
It will be my first in-store book signing, the first of the new year for the store, and one of the first such events in the United States (since the pandemic). I’ll be signing my new thriller, The Woods of Hitchcock, and debut novel, The Soul Retrieval.
Why do you use both real and imaginary settings in this novel?
One of the beautiful things about writing fiction is that you can use one or both! If I take liberties with a location to fit my story, I’ll fictionalize it. But if I refer to an actual town or locale, I’ll research it thoroughly to get the details accurate. For example, because Hitchcock Woods is a real equestrian forest preserve in South Carolina, and I wanted to share my love and fascination of it with readers, I presented its trails, features and urban surroundings as true to life as possible.
The Americos Building in Chicago in my opening scene is pure fiction, although my descriptions of its surroundings in Chicago’s Loop are based upon my experience working and living in that area.
Is The Woods of Hitchcock the sequel to your first novel, The Soul Retrieval?
Yes, although it’s not a direct sequel, the styles are much different and each story stands completely on its own. The heroine of The Soul Retrieval, Henrietta Clayborn, was a thirtysomething in the 1950s in an epic novel, but she plays a mentoring role as an eightysomething in this contemporary thriller. The Woods of Hitchcock centers on Henrietta’s granddaughter, Suzanne Clayborn, but as I mentioned, Suzanne’s story stands on its own.
What was the inspiration for this novel?
When I was growing up in Aiken County, South Carolina, and first heard the name “Hitchcock Woods,” even as a young teen, I honestly thought it sounded more like a suspense novel than the enchanting equestrian forest preserve that it is. Perhaps I was seeing into my own future. While I was living in Chicago and started writing novels, I kept coming back “home” and to Hitchcock Woods, walking and riding horses in it with family and friends, eventually realizing it, as well as Chicago, would be the ideal settings for my fictional character, Suzanne Clayborn, and her suspenseful Hero’s Journey.
Does Hitchcock Woods have anything to do with the filmmaker, Alfred Hitchcock?
Not at all. But I’ve intentionally included a few subtle Hitchcockian film themes and plot devices in The Woods of Hitchcock—for fun, surprise and added suspense. I’ve even included something that might be likened to one of Alfred’s famous “cameo” appearances, and I challenge readers to find it!
Why did you include ghosts in this novel?
I’ve always loved a good ghost story and also tales with forbidden secrets and metaphysical elements. But rather than writing about them in the horror genre, I wanted to create a contemporary thriller. So, I started to imagine what it was truly like to see, feel and hear ghosts as well as higher spiritual beings. Consequently, these psychic abilities kept creeping into my main character’s profile. I decided to go with them in a big way to satisfy my own interests and to enhance overall suspense.
Is The Secrets of Bears Repeating manuscript, mentioned in this novel, something that is written?
In part, yes. Like my character Henrietta, I started compiling my list of “ancient metaphysical truths worth repeating” as I wrote The Soul Retrieval. Also, like Henrietta, my intention is to publish it one day…when it’s ready.
What is your background?
I have a B.A. in journalism from the University of South Carolina and twenty-five years’ experience as a copywriter in advertising and public relations agencies, both in Chicago and South Carolina. My debut novel, The Soul Retrieval, received four literary awards, the highest score by Writer’s Digest Awards and an exciting number of positive reviews. I have two adult sons and currently live in Arizona, with my husband, our boxer dog and boxer mix rescue.
How might book clubs and readers connect with you?
I’d love to hear from readers through my website and social media. I also welcome the opportunity to speak with book clubs online or in person. There’s a contact form, especially for book clubs, on my website. My book news, including details about my upcoming in-store Barnes & Noble event, and links to my current social media pages also can be found on my website, which is ANNWJARVIE.COM.
About the Book
The Woods of Hitchcock
The Henrietta Series Book Two
by Ann W. Jarvie
Published 12 October 2021
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Suspense
Page Count: 314
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
The Woods of Hitchcock by award-winning author Ann W. Jarvie is a thriller about a psychically gifted Chicago copywriter and victim of violence who returns to South Carolina’s equestrian country to solve a riddle involving murder, the metaphysical and the secrets of her eccentric family.
Suzanne Clayborn is a psychically gifted southerner working in her dream job in Chicago, which also conveniently takes her away from the ghosts of her past. But when she’s nearly killed, she realizes all she wants is to return home to her eccentric family, her horse and the one place she feels safe: Hitchcock Woods, an enchanting equestrian forest in South Carolina.
But instead of finding solace, Suzanne becomes entangled in a murder spree, while stumbling upon an old manuscript, written by her sage grandmother. As she explores it, Suzanne uncovers a tome of long-buried family haunts and ancient metaphysical secrets offering healing and inspiration. She also begins to understand her unwanted psychic abilities, especially after meeting a mysterious stranger in the Woods whose ominous riddle suggests others close to her will die within the week…
Brimming with raw emotion and a trail of psychological twists, a story of hope and transformation begins to unfold. Yet with the riddle’s deadline looming, Suzanne’s present must ultimately collide with a violent past. Will she be able to solve her life’s riddle and fulfill her destiny? Or will she die along with those she loves?
Thunder rumbled in the near distance as she approached Sand River. Dismounting, she palmed its surface, only to be reminded that wet sand might not be the only potential danger. Someone who wanted to kill her might be lurking. The sand was dry and safe enough to cross. But how could I’ve been so careless to be alone without a weapon?
The sound of slow-moving hooves on the trail ahead sent chills down her spine. When she looked up, she saw the whites of a mammoth stallion’s eyes.
“You’re a great horsewoman, but I was getting a little worried about you,” JJ said.
“Oh, thank goodness, it’s you, Daddy.” She usually didn’t refer to him as a child would, like many in the South did even in their elder years. But it popped out of her at times. And she knew he preferred it.
“Don’t worry. I’ve got what you need.” He turned on a light that was attached to a headband and handed it down to her.
“Thanks, your timing couldn’t have been better,” she said, slipping it on.
“Well, Della’s fixin’ to put a big supper on the table. And you know how irritable your mama gets when we don’t sit down together.” He turned on his own light and pointed it to his face, illuminating a crazy expression, before placing it over his head. He swayed, possibly from the effects of gin or whiskey. “I figured you’d be out here.”
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“Yep, I’m feeling real good. Let’s go!”
Pivoting, he rode ahead of her, creating a tunnel of light that would lead them home, like he’d done so many times before. Suzanne smiled, feeling the love of a drunk who sometimes came through for her, usually when she least expected it.
About the Author
Ann W. Jarvie has a B.A. in journalism and twenty-five years’ experience as a writer in advertising and public relations agencies, in Chicago and South Carolina. Although it stands completely on its own, The Woods of Hitchcock is an indirect sequel to Jarvie’s award-winning debut novel, The Soul Retrieval, which received four literary awards, the highest score by Writer’s Digest e-Book Awards’ judges (5 out of 5 on all points) as well as myriad positive reviews. Jarvie currently lives in Paradise Valley, Arizona with her husband, their boxer dog and boxer mix rescue.
Ann W. Jarvie will be awarding a $75 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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