A Home for Shara Summers

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

I’m very pleased to be able to announce that the second novel in my amateur sleuth series has found a home with MuseItUp Publishing.

The first book the series, DEATH SCENE, introduced my amateur sleuth – Canadian actress Shara Summers, summoned back to England because of a family crisis.  One of the things I wanted to explore in the series was the concept of cultural alienation.  Shara makes observations throughout about things that are different in England, compared to her home in Toronto.

It proved a tough sell.  One of the most common reason for rejection for both books was the fact that my contemporary amateur sleuth was not based in America.  I got told many times over that such things do not sell in America, and therefore there was no market for the book.  Americans like books set in America, apparently, or historical English mysteries featuring people like Miss Marple or Sherlock Holmes.

When Lyrical Press took the first book I started writing the second.  Officially titled DEAD COOL, my working title for it was “The Case of the Defenestrated Rock Star”.  Mostly because “defenestrated” is such a great word, and how often do you get the opportunity to use it in a sentence?

However, by the time LPI released DEATH SCENE, they’d stopped taking mysteries and were focusing on romance and erotica, so I knew there was no market with them for the sequel.  And so Shara Summers was adrift, without a publisher.

Not to mention that by the time I finished the third draft of the second book, I’d developed some serious insecurities about it.  You know how it goes.  It’s rubbish.  It’s full of plot holes that can’t be fixed.  Why am I deluding myself that I’m trying to be writer?  I crawled into a hole with the book and didn’t want to come out again.

Then on holiday in France a couple of years ago, I met a retired London Metropolitan Police copper who used to be on the Murder Squad, and I asked him if he would read my crime book, to pick up any glaring procedural errors.  He agreed.  When he came back to me, he told me he’d really enjoyed it.  It was a good holiday read, he said.  And he hadn’t picked up any major problems with my procedurals.

Which is exactly what I need to hear, and it gave me the confidence to finish the book.  Said retired copper will be getting a mention in the credits, but I owe him a lot more than that.

Now I am delighted that my Canadian amateur sleuth has come home to Canadian publishers.  No release date has yet been set, but it is likely to be the latter half of 2014.

I am very much looking forward to working with my new publishers, on Shara’s continuing journey.  I hope you will come along with me for the ride.

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