I have a very talented lady here today to tell us all about her new book, Hush Hush City. Jo Denning is the author of the Saoirse Reilly series. She has spent her career as a behavioral health therapist supporting kids and teens who struggle with addiction. Jo began writing supernatural crime thrillers as a way of processing the traumatic things she has seen and heard. Her characters may be supernatural but their stories, their fear, and their pain are real. So, too, are the triumphs over impossible odds.
When she’s not writing, Jo enjoys baking, drawing, and watching trashy reality TV. She makes her home somewhere in the contiguous United States with her husband, one fluffy cat, and one barely domesticated cat.
Thank you for this interview! I’d like to know more about you as a person first. When did you start writing?
I’ve always loved reading and writing. I started writing my first novel, Dead Blood City, in 2020 because the COVID-19 pandemic was—I want to say ruining my life but that sounds so dramatic. Let’s just say ruining my life. I began writing Dead Blood City, the first book in the Saoirse Reilly series, while working in a psychiatric hospital at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and following the death of a thirteen-year-old patient by suicide. The magic and monsters in Reilly’s world are metaphors for the very real evil and darkness that exists in our world. The painful experiences of my characters are things that real people go through every day. Unfortunately, treatment is not always enough to help them escape the darkness inside their own minds.
As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?
Gosh, I don’t know… I really like getting emails and direct messages from readers. They’ll reach out with compliments, questions, and interest in coming books. It’s really exciting to me that people I don’t even know are as excited about my writing as I am.
If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?
I love this question! My husband and I love to travel. I wrote the first chapter of Hush Hush City on my phone in the Costa Rican rainforest just off the coast of Golfo Dulce which is a crazy sentence. I’d love to go back and write there again.
If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?
Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?
I want to do a closed door mystery set in a psychiatric hospital. My plan is to do this for book six of the Saoirse Reilly series. I used to work as a therapist in such a facility so I’d like to write a realistic portrayal of it. On TV, psych hospitals are so backward. It’s not the 1920s anymore.
Why was writing Hush Hush City so important to you?
Writing Hush Hush City allowed me to continue a journey of healing and self-forgiveness that I started in my first novel. Reilly is on a treacherous and painful path but we are all walking it together. When I was working on DBC at work, in waiting rooms, at airports, and on my couch, I often wondered if there was any reason for it. And, sometimes, I felt very alone in a very dark place. Now the sun is shining through my windows, I have hundreds of readers, and I’m publishing the sequel. I hope that you, too, will read and grow.
Any final words?
I absolutely love hearing from readers! You can learn more about me, the series, and how to reach out at JoDenning.com. Plus, email subscribers can snag a free copy of both Dead Blood City and Shattered City, the first books in the Saoirse Reilly series. Then you can pre-order the sequel, Hush Hush City, on Amazon!
Ancient monsters are prowling the streets and Domenico Alderisi, newly installed vrykolakas master, needs Reilly’s help securing his territory – which just so happens to be her hometown. Alderisi, once her enemy, may be the only one who can save the city. But he has his own agenda and a taste for Reilly’s blood. The only way for Reilly to protect all she holds dear may be to rely on her two-faced teacher, Dr. Emrys Somerled. The criminal psychologist and occult expert is something more than human. If anyone can take on monsters, it’s him. And he’d like to get closer to Reilly than ever before. There’s just one problem. Somerled is keeping secrets, too, and there’s nothing more dangerous. After all…
Stepping out of the silence is scary but secrets can kill.
Will Reilly escape the web of death and deception?
Find out in this urban fantasy meets gritty noir detective novel featuring imperfect heroes and slow burn dark romance with beautiful monsters who can’t be trusted.