The first week of a new year always seems like a time to consider where you’ve been and where you’re going. The past year for me was a banner writing year, and I’m not sure I can duplicate it. We’ll see. A series of projects all came together, and I suppose it’s safe to say that after 2020, I felt myself fortunate to do any writing at all. That was the year when the absence of people in my pandemic life squashed what little creativity I had. The only bright spot in the year was my signature on a contract with a wonderful agent, Dawn Dowdle, of Blue Ridge Literary Agency. She immediately snagged me a three-book deal with Level Best Books. She is astonishing.
2021 began with a new contract for an audio version of A Death at Tippitt Pond, and the audiobook came out at the end of March with an amazing narrator, Patricia Santomasso. The story of a murder in 1971, A Death at Tippitt Pond is one of my favorite books because it combines my love of history and an opportunity to dip into genealogy. Digging into the past is fast becoming a theme in my stories.
In May, Harlequin Worldwide Mystery republished my second Endurance mystery, Marry in Haste, as a mass market paperback. When I began this mystery series—my first—I didn’t realize it would be like the little engine that could. This was a mystery about two women who live a century apart in the same house, and they share a dark secret. I purposely wanted a challenge, and I pushed myself to plot this book, because it had a double plot, but each story had to fit together and transition clearly back and forth.
At the beginning of September, Harlequin republished Death Takes No Bribes, the third Endurance mystery in a mass market format. This story took Grace Kimball, my protagonist, back to her old school where she helped TJ Sweeney, her best friend and Endurance detective, find yet another killer. I am grateful to Harlequin for picking up this series because they have a huge presence in the publishing world, and their book club readers are now aware of my Endurance series.
Also in September, I published a new book in the Endurance series called The Witch’s Child, under my business name and a new logo, Prairie Lights Publishing. This is a unique story in the series, and I’m not clear in my own mind about its origins. I moved away from using Ben Franklin aphorisms for my titles, and I added a little magic to my manuscript. People appear to like it, so I’m grateful that they continue to read my little series. I’m already thinking about the changes that will occur in Grace and Jeff’s lives based on the end of this novel. So another Endurance book will be in the project pipeline once I finish the second book in the Level Best Book contract.
Many of these 2021 projects were in the schedule for a long time because the publishing world moves very slowly. Right now, I’ve sent out a couple more projects that may come to fruition in 2022. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m working on the second book of the art center series called Death in a Bygone Hue. The first book, Death in a Pale Hue, is in, and I’m awaiting editing. It will come out next June from Level Best Books.
Meanwhile, 2022 is waiting, and thanks to my readers, I’m still writing mysteries since I began eleven years ago. I appreciate every review, even the not-so-good ones, and I am thankful for each of my readers who has kept me going for a decade now. So bring on 2022 and a year with two mystery series out at the same time.
Indeed, it was a banner year for a first-rate writer—YOU. I am so happy for you, Susan. Stacked in front of me are several books I am reading. THE WITCH’S CHILD is right underneath THE 1619 PROJECT, which I hope to finish this week; and then I’ll pick up your latest mystery. I know it will be a “I-can’t-put-it-down” as you whisper (never shout) a relevant message to your audience. Ending with a rhyme seems appropriate–wishing you a banner year in ’22.
Thanks, Jim. You always make me laugh. I believe “The Witch’s Child” will be a bit lighter than “The 1619 Project,” so that should change your reading pace. I appreciate all your help and support. Hope 2022 is good for you also, and I look forward to your new book.
Happy New Year, Susan! I just started reading The Witch’s Child.
Thanks, Marilyn. Hope you like it. A bit of magic is right up your alley given your writing! Happy 2022.
Sue, I cannot believe its been 11 years, Thank you so much for keeping the Endurance series going. I truly enjoy your books!!!!
Oh, yes, eleven years. Thanks so much for your support. I keep writing this series because the characters appeal to me and my readers seem to want more. That’s a great combination. Thanks, and hope you have a much better year in 2022.
Congratulations on a great year Susan, and I wish you the very best for 2022. It’s funny how we sometimes fall into a theme or sub-sub genre without fully realizing it. It took me three books into my mystery series before I really noticed that all three had a link to the past that connected to the current mystery – so I could very well relate to your comment about that fast becoming your theme. Also because of that I’m naturally very drawn to your stories and I’m looking forward to reading those. Thank you for an interesting post – and good luck with the projects that are out and looking for a home.
Kaz Delaney…the writer with the amazing name! Thanks so much for following my books, and you’re so right about seeing patterns after you’ve written several books. I used to teach American Literature and always thought the context of a book and the authors’ lives were important factors in their writing. Teaching writing, I felt I knew my students better through the subconscious thoughts that came through their words. When I see these themes in my books, they’re often subconsciously chosen, and I find myself vindicated in those long-ago suppositions about my teaching and students. Looking at your comments about your own writing, I agree with you that so often we are connected to our pasts and they make wonderful story lines. The past is a powerful element in our lives. Hope you have a wonderful 2022.
Susan, thanks for all of your encouragement and for all your expertise you have so graciously provided to me. Most importantly, I am so grateful for the friendship we have.
I think writers, like teachers, help each other. We have a very friendly and helpful community. I love your books, so I feel honored to be able to read them even before they are out in the reading world. Grateful, too, for our friendship.