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Fallbrook writer succeeds in having first novel published

There are some people in this world who say they want to write a book and others who actually do it. When a manuscript is completed, though, the toughest job of all is finding a publication house that will sign it on.

Fallbrook resident Jennifer F. Hilborne scored on both counts. Hilborne, 45, is awaiting the release of her first novel, entitled “Madness and Murder,” by Echelon Press LLC on July 1.

Hilborne said that Echelon Press didn’t accept her manuscript with open arms on the first round. While at the Southern California Writer’s Conference in San Diego, Hilborne met up with Karen Syed, publisher of Echelon Press, who requested to read the full manuscript.

“Several months later, I got my rejection notification -- after I digested the disappointment, which took about two weeks, I asked for feedback and got it, with the door left open to resubmit,” said Hilborne. “Two weeks later, I submitted the reworked version and received a notification of acceptance, followed by a contract within the week.”

By trade, Hilborne is not a professional writer; she works in the world of finance. But one thing she has always loved is reading.

Her writing talent was spotted by a professor who put a bug in her ear about getting some work published.

“But I didn’t out of fear -- that changed after I read a mystery novel by one of my favorite authors, and I remembered my professor’s words,” Hilborne said. “I thought ‘I can do this’ and set about starting my manuscript that same day.”

In between her full-time work schedule, Hilborne wrote in the evenings during the week and picked one day each weekend to focus on her writing.

Whenever new storyline thoughts entered her mind at non-writing hours, Hilborne kept a notebook close at hand to jot down those ideas. Without a mentor, writing coach or creative writing course, Hilborne paved her own literary path.

Hilborne completed her draft of “Madness and Murder” in 11 months.

Picking a genre was easy. “I’d have to say the suspense genre chose me,” she said. “I love all things mysterious and puzzling.”

Hilborne said when she got her manuscript acceptance letter from Echelon Press, she just sat there, letting it all sink in. “Then I ran around like an excited kid calling everyone I know,” she said. “The elation of that moment was incredible, like winning the lottery, although I’ve yet to discover how that feels, but I’ll remain optimistic.”

“Madness and Murder” takes readers on a journey from Sacramento to New Zealand, to San Francisco.

The story begins with a series of pivotal moments in Sacramento, Hilborne said, which are the catalyst for the murderous events that follow.

Syed of Echelon Press was impressed with Hilborne’s unique written voice when telling a story. When her editors read “Madness and Murder,” they conveyed it was fresh and cleverly written.

“I am confident [readers] will enjoy the story overall, as murder is by far the favorite past time in fiction these days,” Syed said. “I do think though, her fresh and realistic voices make it so much easier to read the story in the smooth flow readers love -- she keeps it at a steady clip and there are few flaws to distract the reader from the mayhem.”

What Hilborne is looking forward to most of all is getting to know her readers and listening to their feedback.

“I’d be delighted to meet with writers groups, book clubs, do appearances and chat with anyone interested in suspense, writing, and my book,” she said.

“Madness and Murder” will be available in e-format starting July 1 through, Echelon Press, Kindle download, and most other online stores.

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