Author: Jennifer Kincheloe
Narrator: Moira Quirk
Length: 10 hours 52 minutes
Series: Anna Blanc Mysteries, Book 2
Released: Dec. 6, 2017
Publisher: Jennifer Kincheloe
Genre: Historical Fiction Mystery
Los Angeles, 1908. In Chinatown, the most dangerous beat in Los Angeles, police matron Anna Blanc and her former sweetheart, Detective Joe Singer, discover the body of a white missionary woman, stuffed in a trunk in the apartment of her Chinese lover. Her lover has fled. If news gets out that a white woman was murdered in Chinatown, there will be a violent backlash against the Chinese. Joe and Anna plan to solve the crime quietly and keep the death a secret. So does good-looking Mr. Jones, a prominent Chinese leader who has mixed feelings about helping the LAPD and about Anna.
Meanwhile, the Hop Sing tong has kidnapped two slave girls from the Bing Kong tong, fuelling existing tensions. They are poised on the verge of a bloody tong war that would put all Chinatown residents in danger.
Joe orders Anna out of Chinatown to keep her safe, but to atone for her own family’s sins, Anna must stay to solve the crime before news of the murder is leaked and Chinatown explodes.
Jennifer has been a block layer, a nurse’s aid, a fragrance model, and on the research faculty at UCLA, where she spent 11 years conducting studies to inform health policy. A native of Southern California, she now lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and two teenagers. She’s currently writing book three in the Anna Blanc Mystery series. Book two, THE WOMAN IN THE CAMPHOR TRUNK, is coming out in Fall of 2017 from Seventh Street Books.
Moira grew up in teeny-tiny Rutland, England’s smallest county, which is fitting as she never managed to make it past five feet herself. Moira’s work spans the pantheon of the voiceover world: plays for BBC radio, plays for NPR, video games, commercials, television promos, podcasts, cartoons, movies and award winning audiobooks. She’s won Multiple Audie Awards, Earphone Awards, as well as Audible’s prestigious Book-of-the-Year Award. She has lately set foot in front of the camera again, appearing in “Pretty: the Series” and the Emmy-winning “Dirty Work.”
- How did you select your narrator?
An Anna Blanc fan who is also a fan of Moira’s knew I was auditioning narrators because I posted it on Twitter. She tweeted me and said, “You need to hire Moira Quirk.” So, I checked Moira out. While I loved her work, I initially dismissed the idea because Moira is English and Anna Blanc is American. I didn’t yet realize that Moira can do anything. She’s won a million awards. Anyway, the book is hard to narrate because you have to get the delicate mix of humor and darkness right. I auditioned some 30 narrators, and they had many strengths, but no one had everything I wanted. I finally approached Moira and asked, “Can you do an American accent?” Her audition was perfect.
- How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
Moira instinctively gets Anna. Also, she’s a perfectionist and committed to excellence. I like her artistic choices. She might ask how to pronounce a word, but she doesn’t need me at all.
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
Yes. I got my storylines straight from the 1900s newspapers. A 19-year-old white missionary woman was found dead and stuffed in the trunk in her Chinese American lover’s apartment in New York’s Chinatown. I moved the story to Los Angeles, but lots of things are the same, right down to tiny details. After you’ve listened to the audiobook, Google Elsie Sigel and Leon Ling. The B plot in the novel is about two singsong girls–Chinese sex slaves–who were stolen away from their “owner,” a tong president. It almost led to a gang war. The LAPD were hunting the singsong girls to give them back to their “owner” so the LAPD could collect a $1,000 reward and avert violence.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
I LOVE audiobooks. I listen to 20 audiobooks for every one paper book I read. The narrator is everything to me, which is why I’m so thrilled with Moira Quirk.
- If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
Definitely 1900s Los Angeles! I’d go everywhere that Anna would go–fancy hotels, cheap brothels, Joe Singer’s apartment.
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
I need to work on that celebration thing.
- In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
I liken it to a movie vs. a TV series. You simply have more time to develop the characters. You know them so well.You also have the challenge of making them grow or change in every book. Sustaining the romance is a trick, but I love how Elizabeth Peters did it in the Amelia Peabody series. It never got old. The audiobooks of that series are seriously the best I’ve ever heard (after Moira). They relate the adventures of a woman Egyptologist in the late 19th and early 20th century. Start with CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK. You’ll thank me.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Write for yourself. Not for money, critics, or glory. Only write for yourself.
- What’s next for you?
I have a contract for book three in the Anna Blanc mystery series, which I’ve tentatively titled GRIFFITH PARK. It’s hard to describe the plot because there’s a twist in the beginning and I’m not sure how much to reveal, but it’s more Anna and Joe, more adventures, more LA history straight from the papers.
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