Home / Interviews / An Interview with Award-Winning Author Jinx Schwartz

An Interview with Award-Winning Author Jinx Schwartz

Award-winning author, Jinx Schwartz, author of the Hetta Coffey Series, spends time between Arizona and Mexico. Her Hetta Coffey mystery series won the EPPIE award for Best Mystery (Just Add Water) and was a finalist for Best Mystery (Just Add Trouble).

Jinx Schwartz is the author of eight books, including the award-winning Hetta Coffey series. Hetta is a sassy Texan with a snazzy yacht and not afraid to use it!

A ninth-generation Texan, Jinx has lived and worked all over the globe, and much like the protagonist in her Hetta Coffey mystery series, she’s a woman with a yacht and not afraid to use it.

First things first. ‘Just’ what is next? Pun intended. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

I always call the next book “Just Whatever” until it is finished. Since book five in the series, Just the Pits, was recently released, I’m back to square one, but I tend to turn out a book a year, so am hoping to have book six ready by next summer. Okay, that gave me a headache. You know how it is when you FINALLY get a book published! However, Hetta will still be in Mexico, and just maybe a shadowy character will play a much larger role than usual.

Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How much has it changed your book launch process? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?

I guess success is relative. I’ve only been actively marketing my own books for a year, but I now sell more books in a month than I did for years with a small publisher. There is no question that between firing my publisher and going Indie with Kindle Direct Publishing Select, my sales are all due to the social media. How else can a relatively unknown writer get known? Free days on Kindle garner new readers, Twitter and Facebook keep me in touch with them and reach out to new readers, Google Plus is my new venue (learning here!) and although I’m on Pinterest, danged if I know how it works for me. It all counts to meet new people.

Do you do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

I only do a couple of book signings a year now, with my biggest one in Mexico. This year I’ll be in San Carlos, Sonora, right around Thanksgiving. I post my schedule on my website. I also speak to groups and will be at the Bisbee, AZ, Women’s Club on Sept. 26.

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

My brand is: Hetta Coffey is a sassy Texan with a snazzy yacht, and she’d not afraid to use it!

I haven’t involved readers in book covers, other than throwing out a few for their vote on the best. I work closely with Karen Phillips to generate book covers that tell a story and each one also IDs my brand with an anchor, compass rose, porthole, and/or a boat.

Several of you novels have been converted into audio books. What has been the impact on your regular sales? Has the audio books gained a new audience? Do you recommend new authors going this route to get more exposure?

I get a royalty check from Books in Motion, who recorded the audio books, every six months. Not tearing up the world financially, but there is definitely an audience out there. I actually love audio books when on the road. The books cost me nothing to make, so my percentage of sales is small, but hey, it all counts.

What writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

Sisters in Crime is great, and so is EPIC. However, when it comes to marketing and meeting neat new writers, ASMSG is king. Check their Facebook page.

Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

Since we spend several months a year on our boat in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, I spend the summers in Arizona marketing and the like, with more writing while afloat. While I no longer have an 8-5 job, marketing has become a serious time drain, but well worth it. Last winter we had almost no Internet available because we were at anchor in remote locations, and my sales took a serious dump so I know social media works.

My scheduling motto: I don’t have a plan and I’m sticking to it.

Has the advent of ebooks changed anything in your writing, your marketing and the relationship with your readers and fans?

As I said before, I think Kindle Direct Publishing is the best thing since sliced bread. Yes, marketing is key, but at least I now have total control over my own writing career. And now I have so many great readers that I would never have if it were not for Amazon.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

Free is good for me. Amazon gave away almost 50,000 Just Add Water ebooks over the weekend, and sales on the second in the series, Just Add Salt, is now in the top 100 paid in Humor. AND, 50,000 NEW readers have now heard of me, and hopefully will read the book they downloaded. That said, every time you have a freebie promo, you get reviews like, “not my cup of tea” but that’s the way it goes.

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews or no you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

Free books garner reviews…not always good ones, but that’s the risk you take. I review other author’s books and they mine. I am all over the charts for garnering reviews and am not above begging.

Author’s Book List

Just The Pits  – Hetta Coffey Series (Book 5)
Hetta Coffey is a sassy Texan with a snazzy yacht, and she’s not afraid to use it!

As a self-employed engineering consultant with a penchant for oddball—read: shady—projects, Hetta Coffey has a history of inviting trouble. But now that she’s been hired for a legitimate mining project in Mexico’s Baja, it looks like smooth sailing ahead…until she discovers that people and pesos are disappearing faster than you can say, “This job is the pits!” And Hetta Coffey as sleuth? Goodness knows she’s nosy enough, but her detective skills leave a lot to be desired. Luckily for her she gets help from her best friend, Jan, and a mysterious Velveeta thief.

Order the Book From: Amazon

Troubled Sea

Hetta and Jenks Jenkins live a life many only dream of aboard their 42-foot boat in Mexico’s hauntingly beautiful Sea of Cortez. But their chosen sea has a serpent: Mexico’s out-of-control drug trade.

After witnessing a drug-deal gone wrong, they set off a deadly chain of events that lands them in a sea of intrigue involving a best friend, the Mexican Federal Police, the DEA, US Coast Guard, the INS, and a nasty drug cartel.

This fast-paced adventure is a must-read for anyone who has ever dreamed of cutting the lines and shoving off to adventure.


Order the Book From: Amazon

Just Deserts – Hetta Coffey Series (Book 4)

Hetta Coffey is a woman with a yacht, and she’s not afraid to use it.
As a self employed engineering consultant with a penchant of oddball-read: shady- projects, she has a way of attracting trouble.

With her floating home drydocked for repairs in Mexico, Hetta needs a place to live and a job to pay the boatyard. Landing a project at a mining operation not far from her boat, Hetta finds herself on the tumultuous Arizona/Mexico border, where all hell is breaking loose even before she gets there.

Order the Book From: Amazon

Just Add Trouble – Hetta Coffey Series (Book 3)

Hetta Coffey is a woman with a yacht and she’s not afraid to use it.

A globe-trotting engineer with adventure in her soul, Hetta is determined to solidify her relationship with her long-distance boyfriend, Jenks jenkins. What better place for a romantic interlude than aboard a yacht in Mexico’s hauntingly beautiful and solitary Sea of Cortez?

But where Hetta goes, trouble follows, and chaos is sure to ensue. After a run-in with a couple of sea serpents that threaten to rock the boat, she nevertheless decides to take on a project in the port city of Guaymas. After all, Jenks is headed back to Kuwait, so why not cash in on the best of both worlds by making some dough while living aboard her boat in Mexico?

Once again Hetta’s indomitablespirit, stubborn independence and penchant for deceit will keep the reader in stitches as she launches herself and her best friend, Jan, into a sea of trouble. A pesky parrot, a drunken aunt, and a shadowy figure who is handsome in a “criminal sort of way” lead to murder, mayhem, kidnapping, and run-ins with several federal agencies on both sides of the border.

Order the Book From: Amazon

Just Add Salt  – Hetta Coffey Mystery Series (Book 2)

Hetta Coffey is a woman with a yacht, and she’s not afraid to use it!

Hetta, a globe-trotting engineer with attitude, a penchant for trouble, and a yacht, is back, and this time she s steering us into hot Mexican waters.

Miffed that vacation plans with her chronically absent boyfriend Jenks Jenkins have gone awry, she accepts a job in Baja. So what if she and her friend Jan are spectacularly unqualified to take her yacht on a thousand mile cruise in the eastern Pacific Ocean in the middle of hurricane season? Hiring a handsome, if somewhat fishy captain for the trip might keep them off the rocks, but probably won t do the same for her future with Jenks. Meanwhile, a little eye candy on board can t be all bad.

Hetta s unmanageable independence impels her to tackle the very profitable, if environmentally and politically incorrect project south of the border. True to form, her irreverent nature and disregard for danger soon swamps her in a sea of inconvenient bodies, illegal aliens, a pesky whale, and a menacing Mexican machinator. And without her usual arsenal of firepower.

Set sail for Baja Mexico s Magdalena Bay as Hetta Coffey leads us once more into a morass of intrigue that will keep you laughing, breathless, and wanting more.

To quote Lord Byron, Hetta would “much rather sink beneath the shock than moulder piecemeal on the rock.”

Order the Book From: Amazon

Just Add Water – Hetta Coffey Series (Book 1)

Winner: International EPPIE Award for Best Mystery.

Hetta Coffey is a sassy Texan with a snazzy yacht and and she’s not afraid to use it.

She’s a globe-trotting civil engineer with swath of failed multi-national affairs in her jet stream.

Plying the San Francisco waterfront, trolling for triceps, her attention is snagged by a parade of passing yachts–especially their predominantly male skippers–and experiences a champagne-induced epiphany: If she had a boat, she could get a man.

In spite of a spectacular ignorance of all things nautical, Hetta buys her dream boat, but shadowy stalker, an inconvenient body, and Hetta’s own self-destructive foibles, give a whole new meaning to the phrase “sink or swim!”

Order the Book From: Amazon

Land Of Mountains

A ten-year-old’s new home on an exotic Caribbean island proves so fascinating she quickly forgets she didn’t want to leave Texas. After all, where better than a jungle world teeming with voodoo, mystery, and a really pesky zombie, to indulge her favorite pastime: snooping.

In this humorous mystery, award-winning author Jinx Schwartz transports the reader to another time and place where rivers, and little girls, ran wild and free.

Book Trailer: Land Of Mountains

Order the Book From: Amazon

The Texicans

NOT another story about Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, Sam Houston and the boys.

Decades before Crockett, Bowie or Houston even set foot in Texas, Frederick Stockman was already there. Author Jinx Schwartz, a ninth-generation Texan, has delved deep into her ancestral roots to create this moving story of the Frederick Stockman familys’ courageous determination to make Texas their home during the turbulent period between 1806 and 1836.

The Texicans was inspired by a Texas history book calling her ancestral clan a “congenial society for evil”–rogues “skilled in many forms of villainy” for their role in the tumultuous years of first Spanish, the Mexican rule.
Frederick Stockman and his family immigrate to Spanish Texas in 1806 to ranch, but soon find themselves inexorably drawn into the bitter conflict between Mexico and Spain. They join forces with a dashing young Spanish deserter, Miguel Gonzales, in his successful campaign to liberate Mexico and Texas from Spanish rule. Their ties are further cemented when Gonzales marries into the family.

As Heroes of Mexico, the Texicans–staunch supporters of Mexican rule for Texas–find themselves vilified by North American settlers illegally flocking across the unprotected border. These newcomers, calling themselves Texians, view Mexico, Mexicans and Texicans as the enemy. Targets of bigotry, the Texicans themselves are torn along cultural lines as their hero-turned-despot, General Santa Anna, propels them towards a deadly showdown.

Order the Book From: Amazon

Author Recommended by:  HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
HBS eBook Author’s Corner and HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Young Adult/tweens, Historical/Western, Humor, Chicklit

Website: Jinx Schwartz
Author’s Blog: Jinx Schwartz’s Water Writes
Blog: Google +
Twitter: @jinxschwartz
E-Mail: jinxschwartz@yahoo.com
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest