Jeanine Kitchel’s Writing Journey

WheelsUp - 01I began writing early on, after reading Nancy Drew detective stories. I knew I’d major in journalism at college, and wrote for two newspapers early on in my career. After traveling extensively to Mexico and Central America in the 1980s, my husband and I dropped out of the corporate scene in San Francisco and bought land and built a house in a fishing village on the Mexican Caribbean coast.



We moved lock, stock and barrel from California to Mexico in 1997 and soon afterwards I founded a bookstore. The shop was an expat magnet and many publishers and writers tromped through. Two asked me to write travel articles about the Yucatan, where we lived. Soon I decided it was time to write a memoir, as all my customers wanted to know our story—how we came to this little fishing village, built a house, and escaped city life. In 2012 I wrote my second non-fiction, Maya 2012 Revealed: Demystifying the Prophecy. Then as corruption and cartel violence began to escalate in my beloved adopted land, I realized I had to write about it, but in fictionalized form. Thus, Wheels Up—A Novel of Drugs, Cartels and Survival, was born. Living in Mexico for 15 years gave me insight into the country’s multi-faceted culture as well as a closer look at the feared and tawdry business of the cartels. Wheels Up uses that insight to catapult my Latina protagonist, Layla Navarro, niece of Mexico’s most notorious drug lord, to the top of the cartel after he is recaptured.


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