Author Interview: Jeanine Kitchel

WheelsUp - 01Jeanine Kitchel writes about Mexico, the Maya and the Yucatan. She traveled to Mexico in the 1980s, bought land, and 15 years later left San Francisco behind to open a bookshop in a small fishing village on the Mexican Caribbean coast. As a travel writer, she wrote for The Miami Herald, Fodors Travel Guides, The Herald/Mexico City, and in May 2018 published her debut novel, Wheels Up—A Novel of Drugs, Cartels and Survival.

1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something?I have a degree in journalism so actually worked as a journalist at two newspapers over the years. When we moved to Mexico and I founded the bookstore, publishers would wander in from newspapers and websites and soon I found myself writing again, but this time–travel articles or articles on the Maya.

2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? As a debut indie author, right now I find myself wearing my marketing hat in the mornings, to promote Wheels Up—A Novel of Drugs, Cartels and Survival. Afternoons are best for writing for me.

3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? Not really.

4.Are you a plotter or pantser when it comes to writing a story? Pantser with Wheels Up but for the second in my trilogy, Layla’s Law, I developed an outline.

5.Are you traditionally or self-published? Self-published.

6.What was the publishing process like for you? Any advice to aspiring authors? The publishing process was brutal, even though I’ve published two non-fiction books, in 2003 and 2012. It was a long time in between, and I had to re-learn all I’d taught myself earlier.

7.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? Great reviews.

And reader comments asking when the next book will be out.

8.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us, including genre and targeted audience? Excerpt: “The Gulfstream jet, loaded with two tons of Colombian cocaine, careened over dense Yucatan jungle as Layla stared out the compact window, horrified.” It’s a thriller written in the new style called “narco-lit.” Target audience–Expats, thrill seekers, Mexico lovers, adults.

9.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.) Getting a fan base is all about personally connecting with those who read your books. Email addresses are essentials. Blogging is essential and staying in touch with either emails or newsletters– essential.

10.How long on average does it take you to write a book? Cannot say re fiction as this was my first novel. No average yet. Wheels Up took me four years. I did a year of research, then plodded my way through. Over-wrote the book, and finally got my footing when I hired an editor.

11.Tell us about the book cover/s, how the designing came about, whether you had much input etc. I love a fine artist named Jill Logan from Todos Santos, Baja Californa, Mexico, and her artwork. I approached her and asked if I could use one of her paintings for my front cover. She said Yes! Then I had my cover graphics artist tweak it a bit (with Jill’s approval) and made it look more sinister, like a narco novel.

12.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? Read, yoga, travel.


WheelsUp - 01


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