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From Decorator to Teacher in 5 short years

I was talking to a writer friend about how to know when to end a series. I immediately flashed back to 2015, after WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL, the third in the Madison Night Mystery Series. I remember being at a conference and chatting with a (different) writer friend (writers tend to have lots of writer friends, mostly because we understand things like the lure of internet card games and a never-ending fascination with our Amazon rank) who asked when book four would come out. I told her I didn’t know if I was going to write a book four; I might let the series stand at three.

She seemed surprised. Was I out of ideas? Had I grown tired of the character? Did I have something new and different in mind to turn to next?




I knew what would happen next for Madison Night, and I knew who it would be with. I felt, at the time, that where I wanted to go with her wasn’t the popular direction to go. I felt VICS was a strong book and wrapped things up in a tidy bow, even if it wasn’t where I felt Madison would be long-term. So, I accepted that I had my own future for Madison that might only live in my mind.

About a year later, I realized that I missed writing about Madison. A brand new idea, one I hadn’t considered, came to me while on a vacation, and I ran with it. It was a special book in that it took Madison out of town and pushed her into some new territory. It also has a slightly different structure than others in the series. It was felt like a risk, but it was the book I wanted to write, and my publisher gave me a long enough rope to run with it.

Because I wrote that book, I’m about to publish #8 in the series. I’d never be here if I hadn’t been there. The stories that filled books five, six, and seven fell into place. Madison has many more adventures in her, and I can’t wait to tell every single one. (But first, let’s just focus on Madison Night #8, which is coming in June!)

It seems like it's way to easy to get caught up in day-to-day stuff, charging ahead without knowing where we're going. And the counterpoint to that, planning sometimes uncontrollable things to the microlevel, isn’t productive either. Here’s a case of where, having inched forward a bit with a book I never intended to write, I ended up at a place I couldn’t see five years ago. Makes me wonder what other small steps already taken will pay off in the future? And what small steps can we take today?






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