[Note, please, that in one week, Back to the Garden will be on the shelves–in the USA, at any rate. You can find a long excerpt here. ]
I turn 70 this year. The world is literally burning around us, I’ve had some energy-draining health issues, and there are books more than one series that I really really want to write before I become too decrepit to figure out what’s going on with those characters I love but have left on the shelf, bemoaning their abandonment.
So isn’t it…irresponsible of me to turn my back on Kate Martinelli and Harris Stuyvesant and Rae Newborn and the rest? Certainly the fans of those characters are justified in grumbling.
Still, I’ve flitted between fictional worlds from the beginning. My first fiction was a stab at SciFi, left half-finished to spend a couple books with Russell & Holmes, before moving from 20s England to the modern world of Kate Martinelli (which became the first one in print.) For most of my career, I have alternated—a Russell or two, a Martinelli or a standalone, two Stuyvesant & Grey books—because I hated living with one set of characters for too many years in a row.
(It’s no accident that Garment of Shadows, in which our heroine Mary Russell wakes with injuries so severe she has amnesia, comes after an unbroken string of three other Russell & Holmes novels plus a novella. When I realized the pattern, I pointed out to my editor that while it was nice to have a popular series, if I didn’t take a break from those two, one of them was going to wake up dead…)
But readers love the others—at pretty much every event I do, someone asks when Kate Martinelli is coming back. And I love them too, so I did write and self-pub a novella three years ago (“Beginnings.”) However, when I talked to my editor about a new Martinelli novel, she didn’t say no, but she did gently point out that while loyalty was nice, a series that tries to start up after a nearly 20-year gap does make for a marketing challenge.
But “Beginnings” did remind me that I liked writing about my own time and place. And with Covid shutting things down, it would be a while before I could travel for research. Plus, there were some other things about “Beginnings” that I enjoyed, such as the dual time line of Kate’s own personal cold case. And I’d always wanted to do a book set in the 60s or 70s.
Still, it’s going to be a series. You never know what other SFPD Inspector is going to wander through in future days.
Find my upcoming events here.