I Read/I Wrote: Jennifer Kincheloe

In the I Read/I Wrote series, authors introduce a book they loved–in the genre in which they write–and share one of their own books.

GENRE: Historical Mystery

I READ: Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

I stumbled on Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody series by randomly downloading titles from the Denver Public Library. These books have it all–intrigue, fine prose, romance, a rich historical setting, and, above all, hilarity. My husband and I giggled all the way through them.

The books are set in late 19th century Egypt and feature Peabody, an eccentric English Egyptologist, and her beast of a love interest, Dr. Emerson. The author herself was an Egyptologist so her world building is vivid and accurate. Crocodile on the Sandbank comes first in the series, but you can read the books out of order. I devoured these books before it ever occurred to me that I could write novels, and they were the strongest literary influence on my own mystery series. I highly recommend the audiobooks narrated by Barbara Rosenblat.

I WROTE: The Secret Life of Anna Blanc

It’s 1907 Los Angeles. Mischievous socialite Anna Blanc is the kind of young woman who devours purloined crime novels–but must disguise them behind covers of more lady-like reading. She could match wits with Sherlock Holmes, but in her world women are not allowed to hunt criminals.

Determined to break free of the era’s rigid social roles, Anna buys off the chaperone assigned by her domineering father and, using an alias, takes a job as a police matron with the Los Angeles Police Department. There she discovers a string of brothel murders, which the cops are unwilling to investigate. Seizing her one chance to solve a crime, she takes on the investigation herself.

If the police find out, she’ll get fired; if her father finds out, he’ll disown her; and if her fiancé finds out, he’ll cancel the wedding and stop pouring money into her father’s collapsing bank.

Anna must choose–either hunt the villain and risk losing her father, fiancé, and wealth, or abandon her dream and leave the killer on the loose.

Jennifer Kincheloe is a research scientist and writer of historical mysteries. Her novels take place in 1900s Los Angeles among the police matrons of the LAPD and combine, mystery, history, humor, and romance. Her books have won or been finalists in multiple awards including the Lefty Awards, the Macavity Awards, the Colorado Author’s League Awards, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for Mystery, the Mystery and Mayhem Awards, and the Colorado Gold. She lives in Denver Colorado with her husband and two kids. There she writes books and studies the jails.

For more information, please visit jenniferkincheloe.com.

7 thoughts on “I Read/I Wrote: Jennifer Kincheloe”

  1. Thanks so much for visiting! Love your Anna Blanc books and am really looking forward to the third one. Elizabeth Peters is proving popular in this blog series and for good reason–including everything you said!

    Here’s a question: what is the number one thing you would like readers to know about Anna? She’s such a strong character and so multi-faceted…


  2. Like Whitney, you had me at Los Angeles 1907. I am so drawn to the early 20th century Southern California feel. Why a matron in a prison? It sounds like an absolute hoot! Do you write full time now? How do you go about researching a locale during a time period over a century ago? And language, and social conventions? Very interesting. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Best Regards.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. (Note: Jennifer asked me to post this because of a tech glitch.)

    Hello everyone and thanks for your comments. Sorry I’m a little late back to the party.

    Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog, Cynthia! What a fabulous group of students.

    What would I like everyone to know about Anna Blanc? She is a product of her time and upbringing, shaped by sexism and a twisted sort of privilege. She is flawed, flawed, flawed but incredibly brilliant and heroic and I believe in her.

    No, I do not write full time now, although I did for a couple of years. I’m doing social science research on the jails in Denver. Plus, I have two kids and book three is due to my publisher Oct 1st (and yes, I know that date has come and gone). I try to follow LA history closely. The first female cop in LA was in 1910. She inspired me to write the books. But when I was writing the protagonist, Anna Blanc, she didn’t yet have the maturity to be a cop. So, I set it in 1907 and made her an assistant police matron. (Okay, maybe Anna doesn’t have the maturity to be a police matron, either, but she’s only 19 and she’s working on it) The first female cop in LA, Alice Stebbins Wells, started out as a police matron. And the matrons have an incredible history all by themselves. They transformed law enforcement.

    I do a lot of my research by reading the newspapers from Los Angeles in 1907 and 1908 when my books were set. But here’s a blog post I wrote, and that Writer’s Digest picked up, about all the crazy sources I use http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/how-i-wrote-a-historical-novel-set-in-an-era-i-knew-nothing-about

    Thanks to you all! — Jennifer Kincheloe

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the idea of your novel! A strong female lead seeking to help other women at the brothel, it screams feminine solidarity. Thanks for sharing, I can’t wait to read!


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