Jennifer McMahon

Literary Birthday – 5 June – Jennifer McMahon

Happy Birthday, Jennifer McMahon, born 5 June 1968.


  1. I have developed my own mantra, one which is so vital to who I am and what I do that I had it tattooed on my wrist: Write what scares you.
  2. Writing is one thing, and getting published is another (related) thing. Both are complicated, and there are lots of ways to go about them. For advice on the art and craft of writing, I highly recommend the books Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury, and On Writing by Stephen King.
  3. One exercise I always do when I’m getting to know a character is ask her to tell me her secrets. Sit down with a pen and paper, and start with, ‘I never told anybody…’ and go from there, writing in the voice of your character.
  4. I think we all have a kind of dark side, and that’s what keeps life – and characters – interesting. That’s one of the things that I’m drawn to write about again and again, the secrets we keep and how they shape us.
  5. I have a friend who calls me the queen of the nightmares because I’ve always had really bad nightmares. I keep a notebook by the side of my bed, so I’ll wake up in the night from a bad dream, and my heart’s pounding, and I’m really scared, but I write it down, and sometimes I get ideas for books that way.
  6. At the heart of every story is conflict – whether external or internal, make it a good one, and remember that this problem is going to shape your character, leaving her forever changed.
  7. All great heroes have a flaw. It’s one of the things that makes them heroes.

Jennifer McMahon is the American New York Times bestselling author of suspense novels including The Winter People and Promise Not To Tell. Her latest book is The Drowning Kind.

Source for image (Photo credit: Zella McMahon) /Source for quotes / Source for quotes/ Source for quotes

 by Amanda Patterson

Please click here for our Literary Birthday Calendar

Posted on: 4th June 2021