A lot of readers are asking me when the next Annie Kincaid Art Lover's Mystery is coming out.
I wish I knew.
For those of you who may not be familiar with the Art Lover's Mystery series, I'll say this: It was my first foray into writing. It was my entree into the world of publishing, into making a living as an author, into friendships with other authors --it ushered in a whole new phase of my life.
I love this series. Cherish Annie Kincaid, and her quirky friends and associates. Adore the crazy world of art fraud, forgery, and theft. Plus, I wrote the series with my sister Carolyn, who's a super smart history professor by day...our mutual project was so much fun, taught us so much, and brought us even closer as sisters.
The series has a lot of SERIOUS, committed fans, and FEINT OF ART was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel.
Unfortunately, the Art Lover's books did not have the sales numbers the publisher
wanted (needed) to see, so the series was cancelled after the third
installment, BRUSH WITH DEATH. Carolyn and I had been working on the fourth, ARSENIC AND OLD PAINT,
so we finished it up and published it with Perseverance Press -- a
wonderful, small publishing company that specializes in continuing on
with popular series that have been discontinued.
I was fortunate that I had a great relationship with my editor at Signet (a Penguin imprint) and she asked me if I had anything else "sitting in a drawer somewhere" that she might read. Thus, the Witchcraft Mystery Series was born, and then the Haunted Home Renovation series. I was lucky this time -- both series have become national bestsellers, and Dead Bolt (latest in the Haunted Home Renovation series) was a New York Times bestseller!
I love writing, and I feel confident that I write good books. That doesn't mean everyone will like them, of course -- what we choose to spend our precious time reading is a very personal choice. But I am hyper- aware that there are many great books that never quite catch on with readers, just as there are some wretched novels that strike the right chord at the right time and become huge sellers. There are things that can be done to help a book, of course, and every author in the world is happy to enumerate precisely what the publisher or booksellers could have done to better support their novels.
But when all is said and done, I believe it's mostly about luck. Good placement at the bookstores, a great cover, a general zeitgeist that swings toward your topic, chatty librarians or book group leaders who happen upon your novel and push it to their friends...any of those things can make or break a novel, and a series.
It broke my heart when the Annie Kincaid series was cancelled. But there's one attribute an author must have: persistence. In the immortal words of song, "you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again." Or, you know, get a job at a coffee shop.
So all of that said...it's possible that Annie and the gang might rise again. Both of my paranormal series have done so well that the publisher is talking about the possibility of re-issuing the Art Lover's Series with the Juliet Blackwell name, as in "Blackwell writing as Hailey Lind". If it happens, we would add another two or three books to round out the series...and maybe even conclude a few hanging threads, like which fascinating man Annie winds up with...
In the meantime, if there are any Annie Kincaid lovers out there who want to send along ideas for the next few books, well...I'm already working up ideas :-)