Mystery Trivia Tuesday: Who IS This Gal? Nora Hamilton

It's not often you get to peek instead someone's journal. While researching one of my books a few years ago, I unearthed thirty-seven handwritten journals belonging to the man I was writing about. The information inside turned a normal biography into a true-life adventure story. 
A few weeks ago, I asked Jenny Milchman, author of Cover of Snow, to tell me about her protagonist, Nora Hamilton. When Jenny provided me with a page from Nora's journal, I had a chance to get to know the character by reading about her excited anticipation of things to come. What an excellent way to dive into Jenny's brand new suspense story. Enjoy!

An entry from Nora Hamilton’s journal
The day before Cover of Snow of begins

January 22nd

Tomorrow I have an appointment with a new client. It’s supposed to be twelve degrees, too cold even to snow, and the owner wants to talk about doing an outbuilding as well as the house itself, which means tromping around outside. And you know what? I am as excited as if I were taking off on a plane to a five star resort. I think I am meant to do this, and when I think about working in that stupid office for the past eight years instead of getting to take old houses and make them not new, better than new—restored, such a beautiful word—I feel like I must’ve been trapped in somebody else’s life.

Brendan wants to go out and celebrate. I haven’t even gotten the job yet, but he’s convinced I will. I hope that people aren’t seeking me out because he’s a cop and everyone knows his family. I don’t want any favors. I can do this, I’m good at this, I just want to be given a fair shot. I can imagine my business growing so that one day there are no rundown houses left in Wedeskyull. Everything shines with the luster of dignified age—and I finally have a real place in this town. I’m a part of it.

I’ve got to go out to the Northway, pick up some supplies. I can get my tools sharpened in town. Maybe I’ll stop by Aunt Jean’s on the way back, bring her some of those cookies. She’ll want to hear about this job—and she’ll be happy, whether I get it or not. As happy as Aunt Jean gets anyway. Some people just don’t hit the highs, but Jean is better than Brendan’s mother. I’ve never seen Eileen smile in all the time I’ve known her. It’s weird how parents can be so different from their kids.

Tonight I’ll make a special dinner. We don’t have to go out; it’s too cold anyway. I’ll cook Brendan’s favorite meal, even though that changes practically every month, but right now he’s loving this lamb stew I’ve been making. We’ll drink whatever wine doesn’t go in the stew and things will seem so cozy and stable that I can even bring up the Big K. Kids. Not Brendan’s favorite topic. But working for myself gives me even more flexibility. Now is the perfect time.

I can see how this night will go, I really can.

I just hope Brendan doesn’t get home late again.

Jenny Milchman is a suspense novelist from New Jersey whose short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Adirondack Mysteries II, and in an e-published volume called Lunch Reads. Jenny is the founder of Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, and the chair of International Thriller Writers’ Debut Authors Program. Her first novel, Cover of Snow, is published by Ballantine.

Jenny can be reached at and she blogs at

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