Writing obituaries for my father’s small-town daily newspaper was where I got my start, which may have led to writing a mystery series set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I am happiest when I have a plane, boat, or train ticket in my hand, and this has led to travel writing and the four-volume historical mystery series, The Empress Irini Series, set in the Byzantine Empire which is now Greece and Turkey. It is a combination of all that I like to write: mystery, travel, and history combined. It is being marketed as Young Adult, which means everyone from the age of literacy onward. I hope that you enjoy reading what I have done as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

Betrothal & Betrayal on the shortlist for British Historical Fiction Award!

Book 1 of the Empress Irini Series has been moved to the Historical Association (history.org.uk) shortlist for the British Historical Fiction Young Quills Award for historical fiction, for readers aged 14+ years. It shares the shortlist category with four other offerings, and winners of the award will be announced in July.

Read the HA review of Betrothal and Betrayal here.


Available in Stores Now! The Empress Irini Series, Volume 1 thru 3

The Empress Irini Series is a coming of age, four-part YA series set in the Roman Empire of the East – brimming with fear, intrigue and violence. In this series, Janet McGiffin presents us with a world in which banal realities like hunger and survival sit cheek by jowl with the fantastical worlds of Medieval Christianity and Greek Mythology: Fates, curses, miracles and the ghosts of bygone patriarchs. Our central character, Thekla, a seventeen year old on the run in Constantinople, must rely solely upon her own courage and quick wits to survive this vigorous, glittering capital of the East. Volumes 1 thru 3 are now available from Scotland Street Press.


Empress Irini Books Now Available On Cornucopia Website

My books are now listed on the website of the glossy British-Turkish travel magazine Cornucopia.

Empress Irini Selected Bibliography

For readers who want to read more about the Byzantines, here are some scholarly and and not-so-scholarly references that I used to build my story of Irini of Athens.



How reading Proust helped me write my four-volume historical mystery series about Irini of Athens

“When many people say they are reading Proust, they mean they are reading the seven volumes of In Search of Lost Time—the story, the characters, what happens. When I say I’m reading Proust, I mean the man, what caused him to keep writing for twenty years this never-ending story about life in Paris, what writing did for him that nothing else could do, even though he continued to call himself a poor writer…”

Read the full speech from my August 8 appearance at The Proust Center at the Jefferson Market Library in NYC.



A Glowing Review on Goodreads

The writing and the details of the culture in Constantinople are fantastic… It’s going to be a great series. It reads like young adult but it will appeal to a broader audience for sure.

Lisa on Goodreads