Friday, May 18, 2012

The incredible 10-year pregnancy

By guest blogger Edie Claire

(Don't worry… it has a happy ending!)

My cozy mystery series with NAL/Signet ended in 2002, after five books featuring advertising copywriter (and veterinarian's daughter) Leigh Koslow. For years afterward I received emails all asking the same, angst-inducing question: When is the next "Never" book coming out? The question caused angst because I didn't want to give the real answer, which was: "probably never." The publisher didn't want any more. And since I'd recently quit my day job to try working from home with three kids, I couldn't afford to spend months writing a mystery I couldn't sell. Which was unfortunate, because I had done a terrible, unforgivable thing to my protagonist. I had left her pregnant.

Now, it's one thing to marry a heroine off and let her walk away into the sunset with her man. She can even have a baby in her arms at the time. But readers insisted—and I agreed with them—that having a woman tell her husband she's expecting (literally in the last sentence of the last book) and then closing the curtain with a snap is just, well… rude. Did she have the baby? Was it a boy or a girl? Did motherhood mellow her? WHAT HAPPENED?!

As far as I was concerned, Leigh was still pregnant. Which worked okay the first year. But as time marched on and my publishing future looked ever more bleak, the poor woman's abdomen grew to epic proportions. If you've had a baby yourself and can still remember the kind of language you used when that ninth month rolled around, when you could no longer remember having ankles and getting out of bed in the morning required a crane, you can imagine the abuse this character's mouth heaped upon  my internal ears. It wasn't pretty. But thank goodness, help was at hand.

That help was the advent of e-books. After sitting on the rights to the series for years, having no clue what to do with them, I finally pulled out the old files (written in Microsoft Works, anyone remember that program?), converted, re-read, revised (a little), and tossed them back out into the fray. Much to my surprise and delight, people found them. And they read them, and they liked them. And then the emails started coming all over again. When is the next "Never" book coming out?

This time I have a better answer. "NOW!" J

Never Con a Corgi went on sale in April, and never has an author been a prouder godmother. Leigh Koslow is no longer pregnant. In fact, it turns out she had the baby right on schedule … a decade ago. After polling my Facebook friends, I decided to keep the series in real-time, making her (in 2012) the middle-aged mother of ten-year-old twins. Not only do we get to skip the sippy-cup years (during which time it's hard to be sympathetic to a mother who goes off solving mysteries anyway), but I get to update to modern technology, instead of trying to figure out what the heck kind of cell phones people were using in 2003!

And of course, I also gave her a corgi. Because no matter how unnaturally likely you are to trip over corpses, or how much trouble your kids are giving you, or how crazy your relatives are… there's always room in your life for a dog who would break into your pantry and eat an entire container of jalapeno cheddar instant noodles, Styrofoam and all.

I guess I'd better get used to that screaming in my head.
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Visit Edie's author website: www.edieclaire.com  and her Facebook Author page: www.facebook.com/EdieClaire  The Leigh Koslow books are, in order:  Never Buried  -- Currently FREE on Amazon and iBooks! Never Sorry; Never Preach Past Noon; Never Kissed Goodnight; Never Tease a Siamese, and the newest book, Never Con a Corgi  (NEW in April 2012).