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The Day Mia Jensen Died, She Finally Got to Live


We’ve all played the “what if” game. For Mia Jensen, “what if” is a fact of life. Dissatisfied with her choices, she often dreams about what could have been. Now she has the chance to know. But that knowledge is going to cost her dearly. Only through death can she fully realize the value of her life.

Forty-year-old Mia Jensen is home after a terrible day, trying to figure out how she’s come to this point in her life, when she hears a strange noise from the kitchen. She investigates, only to be brutally attacked and left for dead. As she dies, she experiences some of the lives that could have been hers had she only made a different choice.

Can one woman find peace with the path she’s chosen before it slips through her fingers forever?

Through the unique voices of New York Times bestsellers and rising stars in women’s fiction, A THOUSAND DOORS examines how our smallest decisions can create lasting effects, and allows the thought—can we actually change our lives?

Contributors include: Kimberly Belle, Laura Benedict, A. F. Brady, Paige Crutcher, Rebecca Drake, Heather Gudenkauf, Patti Callahan Henry, Joy Jordan-Lake, Alisha Klapheke, Ariel Lawhon, Kerry Lonsdale, Catherine McKenzie, Kate Moretti, Lisa Patton, and Kaira Rouda.

The Big Thrill caught up to New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J. T. Ellison to discuss this unique collaboration written by a veritable “who’s who” of rising stars in women’s fiction:

No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?

I threw out my story and rewrote it the weekend before the book went to editorial. The first version just didn’t live up to the rest of the amazing stories. Also, the frame that explains the concept was inspired by watching a Joan Didion documentary.

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?

I was inspired to write my first book by John Sandford, and still count him as a major influence. Lee Child was my mentor my debut year, and gave me the best advice that I still follow to this day—if I ever question myself, I just ask WWLD? John Connolly and Karin Slaughter always give me permission to stretch my wings, and the incredible female thriller authors Lisa Gardner, Tess Gerritsen, Alex Kava, Erica Spindler, and Lisa Scottoline, taught me the craft. And of course, Catherine Coulter, who I’ve read since I was a child, is now my partner-in-crime and has made me a much stronger writer through our six-year collaboration. And there are so many more who have influenced me and taught me. I have been so blessed!

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

That indulging in “what ifs” is a no-win scenario. Chaos theory is a real thing. We all play the game of “what if”—Mia Jensen gets to see it played out in real time, to disastrous consequence.

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

This is a thriller told in 16 parts by an all-star cast of female thriller and suspense authors. It’s a unique story a decade in the making. And it’s a new way of looking at a thriller: there are 16 perspectives as the main character dies, making it a bold, exciting new way to tell a story.

Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?

How evergreen the concept was! I pitched the story the first time in 2007, and here we are, over a decade later and it’s finally seeing the light of day. I think it’s very important for people to realize sometimes, YOU are the best judge of what makes a great story, not the market, not an editor, not an agent. You. It’s a lesson in following your heart.


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J. T. Ellison writes standalone domestic noir and psychological thriller series, the latter starring Nashville Homicide Lt. Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, and pens the international thriller series “A Brit in the FBI” with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Cohost of the EMMY Award-winning literary television series A Word on Words, Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.

To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.


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