Friday, December 2, 2011

Getting to Know Nina Quinn

by Heather Webber / Heather Blake

Years and years and years ago (it was a lot of years), I was in the middle of a contract for three historical romances when I had the idea for a mystery.

Back then, I had no idea how many genres of mystery there were—I’d never even heard the term “cozy mystery.” All I knew was that I had a story to tell. About a woman who lived in a small Ohio town and solved crime. She was sassy and sarcastic and had a crazy family, crazier neighbors, and employees with rap sheets.

Nina Quinn was born.

From the time I wrote the first draft of what became A Hoe Lot of Trouble, Nina changed a bit (her career mostly), but her core stayed the same. She was still a strong, nosy, independent, fiercely loving and loyal woman.

I found an agent, and within a few weeks I had a contract for the series of cozy mysteries (who knew that’s what I was writing?). There were five books (A Hoe Lot of Trouble, Trouble in Spades [which was nominated for an Agatha Award for best novel], Digging up Trouble, Trouble in Bloom, and Weeding out Trouble.) Round about the fourth book, word came that my publisher was discontinuing its cozy paperback line. I knew how hard it was to move a series to another publisher, so the decision was made to wrap up the series and move on. (This is where Lucy Valentine was born.)

However, I’ve missed Nina. Missed telling about all the trouble she gets into. Missed her nutty family. Missed her merry band of troublemakers. But now, thanks to the explosion of e-books, I’ve had the chance to bring her (and the whole colorful cast of characters) back.

Trouble under the Tree, the sixth book in the Nina series, hit cyber shelves this week (Amazon, BN.com, Smashwords), and I can’t tell you how happy I am. I loved writing this book, and I hope that shows in the story. I’m so excited that Nina—and I—get another opportunity to share her adventures with all of you.

Is there a series that you’d really love to see make a comeback?