Friday, February 18, 2022

Ellen Crosby--The Loon and Me

DEBORAH CROMBIE: You know how sometimes you just fall in love with a book, or a series? (I'm sure that's NEVER happened to anyone here, right?) Well, that happened to my daughter and me when we read Ellen Crosby's first two Sophie Medina books. These books had everything, a great protagonist, mystery, suspense, travel, fascinating bits of history and science. We couldn't wait to read more of Sophie's adventures! 

AND THEN THERE WERE NO MORE BOOKS! This just seemed so wrong, Sophie's stories so unfinished, and every time I've seen Ellen since, I've nagged her. I'm sure she got quite annoyed hearing, "When is there going to be another Sophie book???"

But wishes do sometimes come true. Not only will there be another Sophie Medina, readers who've missed the first two books (or want to reread them!) now have the chance to catch up! As Ellen will explain!



The Loon and Me

 Ellen Crosby

Last spring a Common Loon landed in a small man-made pond in a subdivision about fifteen minutes from where I live in Fairfax County, Virginia and you would have thought—as someone said—that Brad Pitt had been spotted walking down the street. To begin with, loons don’t usually fly very far inland, but what made this loon even more unusual was that it stuck around this tiny suburban pond for a whole week. Within days it had its own Facebook page, plus The Washington Post sent a reporter (twice) to cover the loon and its many followers who were becoming known as the“loonarazzi.”

Before long folks started worrying that the reason the loon hadn’t left to continue her journey north to New England and the Great Lakes was because she (yes, it was a female loon) couldn’t leave. You see loons, which are large, heavy, awkward birds, need a long runway for takeoff and this little pond was, well, little. So a plan was hatched (not sorry, it’s the right verb!) to sneak up on the bird in the middle of the night, throw a bag over her head, and move her to a larger pond. It took two nights because making sounds like baby chicks calling their mother fizzled, but on Night #2 there was success with an iPhone app that made a sound like a male loon.

Lately I have been thinking about this loon and her predicament because I am writing book three in a series in which the last book will have come out eight years ago—seven, if you count the paperback—by the time the new one is released in 2023. And I am wondering how long a runway I need for my new book to take off and fly.

The series, about an international photojournalist named Sophie Medina, has always been close to my heart. Before I started writing fiction full time I worked as a freelance journalist in the US and overseas. Thanks to my husband’s assignments—he was a radio and television journalist—we lived in Geneva, Moscow, and London, three fabulous posts. I’m also an avid amateur photographer. So writing this series seemed like the perfect fit for me. I wrote two books—Multiple Exposure and Ghost Image—which came out in 2013 and 2015, respectively. And then . . . I stopped.

My new publisher wanted more books in the mystery series I write about Lucie Montgomery, who owns a vineyard in Virginia. So I did what any author would do: I wrote them. In fact, I wrote 6 more books and the 12th, Bitter Roots, will be out in the US on April 5. It’s already getting great reviews, so I’m thrilled.

Last summer when I turned in the manuscript to my editor at Severn House, she asked if I’d consider writing another vineyard book. I thought about it for a while before I said:  no, thank you. I felt I needed to take a break as I’d done in 2015 after I wrote the first six books in that series. I also said I’d really like to write another book about Sophie Medina. To me the series had always seemed unfinished: there were more stories to tell. I’m really lucky to have an editor who has so much faith in me, because after some discussion about the potential perils involved—i.e., the time between books—she said, “Okay, go for it.” The icing on the cake was that my agent (who is Superman because he can do anything) got my rights back for the first two books, which Severn House not only promptly acquired, but then almost immediately reissued with gorgeous new covers on February 1. So anyone who wants to catch up on the series before Book 3 comes out can do so.

Still, it is going to be tricky to reintroduce a series where there has been such a long hiatus between books. Do I age Sophie? Has she lived through a pandemic? What if I decide to, say, kill off a well-liked character who was prominent in the other books, which is always tough to do? Will readers be more forgiving since it was so long since the last one?

Those are questions about the story itself, but then there’s this: am I nuts to walk away from a popular series that’s done so well and (re)try something else? I’m betting it all on the answer being no, but I’m wondering what you guys think. Reds, have any of you ever done something like this? Other authors please weigh in, too. And readers, what about you? Would you follow an author to a new (sort of) series?

The stranded loon, by the way, managed to take off and leave from the larger pond where she had been relocated. As for me, I still have a year to test out my runway.

Which gives me lots of time to make sure it’s plenty long enough. And to hope you all will come along for the journey.


 

MULTIPLE EXPOSURE: When Sophie Medina’s husband oil executive and covert CIA operative Nicholas Canning is kidnapped from their home in London, Sophie fears the that Nick is dead. When he is spotted a few months later in Moscow, his CIA handlers tell Sophie that not only is Nick a murderer, but also a thief who vanished with valuable logs revealing the discovery of oil in a remote part of Russia. No longer able to tell friend from foe, Sophie enters Nick’s shadowy world as she races to prove her husband’s innocence before those who are after him catch up with her as well.

   


                      

            GHOST IMAGE: When Brother Kevin Boyle, controversial environmentalist and Franciscan friar, is found dead on the grounds of a magnificent monastery in Washington, D.C., photojournalist Sophie Medina is certain it was no accident: Kevin was murdered. Before he died, Kevin hinted at a discovery he’d made potentially worth billions to the pharmaceutical industry. The search for Kevin’s killer takes Sophie from Capitol Hill to London as she seeks to learn what her friend found in an ancient botanical encyclopedia before the information falls into the wrong hands—and his killer finds her.

DEBS: Aren't those covers terrific? Here's more about Ellen:



For many years I worked as a freelance journalist in the US and while living overseas in London, Moscow, and Geneva, Switzerland before turning to writing fiction full time. My last job as a stringer was as a regional feature writer for The Washington Post, covering many of the places where my wine country mysteries are set.

DEBS: To answer at least part of Ellen's questions, I will happily follow an author I like from one series to another, and am certainly not deterred by a gap between books in a series that I love. 

What about you, REDS and readers?

P.S. I loved the loon story, Ellen. We've had something similar here in the Dallas area with a pair of nesting bald eagles. Their nest in a cottonwood tree at a popular lake was the subject of much media coverage and so many visitors gawking that the city had to barricade the area. Then last week in a ferocious windstorm, the tree blew down and both nest and eggs were lost. This was headline news! But to everyone's relief, the pair seem to be rebuilding nearby. Hopefully with better luck this time!


84 comments:

  1. So glad to hear that the loon managed to get on her way again . . . I can just picture folks sneaking up on her and throwing a bag over her head! It’s good to know that it all worked out . . . .

    Congratulations, Ellen, on your newest Lucie Montgomery book . . . .
    What wonderful news that there will be another Sophie Medina story. I’m always willing to follow an author that I like into a new series [or a resurrected series] and I have absolutely no qualms about waiting [even if I am a bit impatient] for the next book in a series to make an appearance [and I already know I’m going to love it] . . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. Thank you so much . . . the loon story was quite hilarious and touching. There were huge traffic jams around that little pond for days.

      Delete
  2. Oh! First of all, hooray! That is wonderful news, and what a delightful decision to have to make! Here’s my off-the-cuff answer: it doesn’t matter. It totally doesn’t matter. Do whatever you want. What would you do if the world were wide open ahead of you? Because it really is… Tell a good story, which of course you will, and we will all follow you happily.
    And you had me at loonarazzi. Xxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hank, don't you have a publisher who wants a new book or two in one of your series? I would absolutely love to catch up with Jane or Charlotte.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Hank! It seems like ages--in The Before, as Barbara Peters calls it--since we saw each other at the University Club Book Fair in DC right before Christmas. I miss friends and events IRL!

      Delete
  3. If I love a series, I will gladly jump back in if it has been a while. I'm just happen to have something new with characters I love.

    And yes, I will follow an author from one series to another as long as it sounds interesting to me. Or, if I try the first book and decide it isn't for me, I'll stick with what I like but leave the rest for others to enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark, I agree with you about needing to fall in love with a character--and then I'll read anything by that author.

      Delete
  4. I, too, am faithful to characters I like and to their creators. I'm willing to wait a very long time for the next book with a hero or heroine I'm attached to, and I'm happy to follow authors I enjoy from series to series. In any case, I can't imagine how so many series writers manage to produce a book a year--it seems like an artificial expectation created by publishers. I loved Amor Towles's Rules of Civility, and when A Gentleman in Moscow came out, I didn't say, "Oh Jeez, it took him five years to produce this, so I'm not going to bother with it." OK, so he's not writing a series, but I'm sure you all see what I'm getting at.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such an interesting comment about Amor Towles and the gap between his books. I had been writing a book a year with the Lucie series--but when I began writing the two Sophie books I actually had 2 years for each book. (My editor was let go and I had a couple of interim editors . . . so I got to take more time for those books). I believe both Multiple Exposure and Ghost Image are better for having more time to write them.

      Delete
  5. What a story, Ellen. I'm glad you figured out what your heart was telling you to do.

    Of course I will stick with a favorite author over a long gap. Julia made us hunger over a gap of a few years for her most recent Clare and Russ book - and it was worth the wait!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Edith! And I totally agree with you about being impatient for Julia to write a new Clare and Russ books--that series is one of my favorites. And, as always, she makes it worth the wait!

      Delete
    2. I'm another one who is eagerly waiting for the next Clare/Russ book!

      Delete
  6. ELLEN: Great story about the loon, and finding your way back to continuing a series that speaks to your heart! I have enjoyed your Lucie Montgomery Vineyard mysteries but will have to seek out your first two Sophie Medina books.

    I will gladly wait and start reading a new book after a long hiatus. I am a loyal reader and want to revisit beloved characters and a familiar setting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, also, Grace for the comment about following my heart. It felt more like I was stepping off a very high diving board at first, but I'm really glad to be back in Sophie's world and writing this new book. Especially during Covid--writing saves me and keeps my sanity these days.

      Delete
  7. I'm very intrigued by these books and will have to look into picking them up ahead of Book Three's release.

    And to answer the question: Yes I would follow an author to a new (or new-ish) series. Providing of course that the series set up interested me. Not only would I do that, I have done that numerous times since I got back into reading after high school decades ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you like the first two books, Jay! I've done the same thing--it's always a treat to finish a good book and discover that there are even more to read.

      Delete
  8. Ellen, congratulations on both series! As for reading a favorite author after a hiatus, I am often a re-reader rather than a TBR reader, so if I like a book/series, I'll plow right along through new books in the series.

    My own science fiction novels are a pseudonymous series, and I like to think I got to be a better writer as I wrote more books. As I wrote the third (on a tight deadline), a different fourth (not the one whose outline was originally, hurriedly submitted with the proposal) was writing itself in the back of my head. I meant to substitute it, but a number of things intervened: my sister produced my first nephew, a little magnet who kept pulling me away from other time-consumers; I bought a house and got into gardening; my career as a publishing attorney took off and I criss-crossed the country giving presentations at writers' and lawyers' conferences; my parents aged, took ill, and died; and my publisher, Pinnacle, went bankrupt (so the third book never came out, and fewer than a dozen people have actually read it). Now that my nephew is grown (his oldest child just turned five); the house is sold (and my apartment balcony is too shady for plants); the pandemic has curtailed public appearances and travel; and I have the rights back to the original books (though my agent has retired), I have considered writing the fourth book but Life (the last move, the RemodelFromHell in my new apartment building, the death of many friends and my long-time love, and of course the pandemic) keeps getting in the way. I'm lucky in that science fiction can take place in a undefined time, but less so in some that things imagined have actually happened in the interim. So, not sure if I can get back to the headspace where I was (eeek!) 35 years ago.

    If YOU can, then go for it! Nothing like a deadline to impel you forward.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's quite a journey, Ellen. And an interesting comment about re-reading a much loved book! And you absolutely CAN get back to the headspace where you were 35 years ago. My first book wasn't published until I was nearly 50 and my older sons were finishing high school and leaving for college. Just start--and then keep going.

      Delete
  9. Ellen, welcome to JRW and thank you for sharing the loon story. Those birders sure know their birds! It's incredible that they realized what the problem was, came up with a plan and were able to pull it off. In the meanwhile, her mate was already up in Maine on Loon Lake going loony waiting for her to show up.

    If I love a series, I will always be happy to read the next book, even if it does take years. Everyone around here is eagerly awaiting Rhys Bowen's new Molly Murphy book which she and her daughter Clare wrote together. When I have it in my hands, it will be as if no time has passed at all.

    I always begin a series with book 1 and read them in order. If Debs has been bugging you to write a new book in the Sophie Medina series, then it must be wonderful. It's super that the first books have been reissued. I'll look for them first.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I should have also mentioned the new Molly!

      Delete
    2. Judy, sorry I didn't respond sooner--but I wanted to comment about reading a series in order. My husband is adamant that he has to start with Book 1. I can read out of order, which drives him nuts. Wondering how many people are like André and how many are like me? Though I will say that once I find a book in a series I will make an effort to go back and find the earlier ones. But I do try to write my books so it's not necessary to have read the backlist.

      Delete
    3. I have begun some series in the middle (which is what happened with Debs's Duncan Kinkaid/ Gemma James series), but if I really like the book, I'll search for book 1 and start all over. And, I am also someone who will reread entire series if I love it.

      Delete
    4. At least these days it's a lot easier to go back and find earlier books in a series now that ebooks exist and there is such a thriving used book market--especially if a series has been going on for many books.

      Delete
  10. Welcome back Ellen! I think the message from the loon is you needed a bigger pond, and maybe this new Sophie Medina is exactly that! I will go look for the first two...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Roberta! It's good to be back--Debs is always so terrific about seeking me out when I have a new book out, or in this case a new-old book out (!) and being such a wonderful and gracious cheerleader. I hadn't thought about needing a bigger pond, but maybe you're right!

      Delete
  11. I will follow an author I love to a new series. And if I love a series, a long break between books won't deter me from buying the new one.

    Love the story about the loon. Debs, we have the same with our bald eagle pairs, especially two of them where the Audubon Society set up live streaming. For the pair in Harmar, people would park in a little gravel lot with binoculars to watch until someone pointed out this was technically private property. Like you, one of the pairs lost a nest and eggs in a wind storm. Yep, front page news. They also rebuilt and it was early enough that they even managed to lay another egg.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liz, they (local wildlife experts) are saying it's early enough that this pair may lay more eggs. Fingers crossed for the local celebrities!

      Delete
    2. I hope so. Eagles are very resilient!

      Delete
    3. Liz or Debs, do eagles return to the same place every year? (And thanks, Liz, for saying you would stick with a series even with a long break between books).

      Delete
  12. I am glad to hear that Sophie will be back - other than rereading the first two, I have no problem with time between the books. I just hope that Lucie will be back sometime, also.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kitty. When I came back to the Lucie books after a hiatus of 5 years, I felt I had so much more energy and enthusiasm for the series. For me it's important to grow as a writer, which sometimes means taking chances, or walking away for a while. I'm glad my publisher agrees and we are taking this plunge together.

      Delete
  13. I will definitely follow an author I love among series and when an older series has a new offering after an hiatus, well, it's like seeing a good friend after time away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for this, Kait! I have some wonderful friends, especially from our years overseas, who are scattered all over the US and the world. When we finally reconnect it's as if we had our last conversation the day before, instead of a couple of years ago. Those friendships, I think, are the best because they endure.

      Delete
  14. Ellen, I'd follow you anywhere - I'm a huge fan of your vineyard-based series. I THINK you definitely need to move when the spirit moves you to do so. And common loons are SO spectacular, despite being dubbed "common" - they're relatively easy (as birds go) to spot, and they ride around with the chicks on their backs. What's not to love?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loons are fabulous birds! Their call across a lake is eerie and magical, especially at night.

      Delete
    2. Edith, I have heard this about the call of a loon, but haven't yet heard it.

      Delete
    3. Thank you so much, Hallie! We go back a long way--from the missing suitcase in Oakmont (and no clothes) to the 25-bottles-of-wine (at least) dinner in Fort Lauderdale. They were good times!

      Delete
    4. Oh boy do I remember Fort Lauderdale - they sure know how to throw a book event. And I was too green to appreciate how special it was.

      Delete
    5. That is a wonderful event! If any of you fellow writers are ever invited, you should jump on it!

      Delete
    6. Hallie, do you remember when we had to take off our shoes and throw them in a pile before we boarded that yacht where they took a group photo? (And it was low tide). It was hilarious, a formal photo with all the guys in suits and socks and all the women were barefoot.

      Delete
  15. Great story about the loon, Ellen. I'm new to your writing, so will check out both series.

    I'm always happy to get back into the book world with favourite characters, no matter the length of time between releases: #JuliaSpencerFlemingFan ...and I'll certainly follow a favourite author into a new series.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Amanda! I hope you enjoy the books--like you, I'm a huge fan of Julia's. She and I had the marathon-eat-every-dessert-on-the-menu dinner together in Oakmont many years ago, so I have quite a lively history with some of the Reds whenever we meet up! (Often involving food . . . or wine)!

      Delete
  16. Ellen, I can understand the desire to see the loon--I'd have been right there, too! And yes, I will follow a writer to a new series, and I'll happily read the next book in a series I like no matter how many years between books. Speaking of Rhys, there are those among us who would relish a new Evan Evans book, just saying....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Flora, I agree with you about Rhys--and I'm in awe of her talent to write so many bestsellers. Not only standalones, plus her series. Plus I'm rooting for her to win the Edgar for Best Novel when the awards ceremony takes place in a few months!

      Delete
    2. Yes, so excited for Rhys! It's such a good book. Fingers crossed!!!!

      Delete
  17. First of all, thank you all for such wonderful, affirming comments. I feel as if I've been enveloped in a big, warm, pre-Covid group hug!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Ellen, I say write the book you want to write! Your characters will let you know the way to go. Okay, so I really don't know what I am talking about, but you can't please everybody so follow your gut. Readers who have loved your books will follow you everywhere!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Judi! It's so true about not being able to please everyone (just have a look at the comments on Amazon or Goodreads!). You have to write the book you want to write--if I'm spending a year of my life with these characters, I have to fall in love with them and the story!

      Delete
    2. I don't read the Amazon comments. Ack! Not that I don't hugely appreciate the good reviews, but a horrible comment will be seared in your memory.

      Delete
    3. Sigh. I do read the comments. I'm trying to be more resilient when there is something that is personal and unkind or really savage, but . . . I still read them.

      Delete
  19. Love the loon story! Maybe she needed her own private retreat away from the usual raising chicks routine. In suburban Cincinnati, we have a bald eagle stopping by at the municipal golf course. Exciting and worrisome.

    Congratulations on continuing your series! I visited the Franciscan monastery in DC during Thanksgiving week, photographing the camellias in full and opulent bloom. We were the only visitors, and I remember thinking about setting a murder in the grounds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Franciscan Monastery, aka Catholic Disneyland, is an amazing place! Plus it's set right in the middle of a working class neighborhood in D.C., totally unexpected when you come upon it if you don't know it's there. They also have beautiful lights at Christmas but have discontinued them since Covid. Hope they do it again. And the gardens are spectacular, as you said.

      Delete
  20. DEBS,

    There are several authors that I would happily follow from series to series and I feel the same way as you do about not minding the break in the series. it's worth the wait, right?

    Diana

    ReplyDelete
  21. ELLEN,

    Welcome to Jungle Reds! Did you write a mystery novel with Chardonnay in the title?

    Diana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diana, I DID! It was called The Chardonnay Charade--I never intended to have alliterative titles in that series (I might not have called Book 1 The Merlot Murders had I but known . . .) but my paperback publisher was adamant that I needed a "gimmick" like Sue Grafton's alphabet series and Janet Evanovich's numbers. It got so the titles were driving the books, rather than the other way around, which is part of the reason I stepped away to write the Sophie books after the first six in the other series.

      Delete
  22. Good writing and compelling characters are my reasons for reading, and if it takes an author a decade to produce more of that who am I to complain? If I enjoy an author's work, I will read it, full stop.

    I've seen a few loons, but being married to a wildlife photographer I've heard their calls on films many times, and seen lots of closeup photos. As Hallie says, they are anything but common. What fun to get to watch one easily. I would love to see in person how they (and mergansers) carry the chicks in the water.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have seen that in Maine, Karen!

      Delete
    2. I'm a bird watcher but have never seen a loon. Common loons are not very common here:-)

      Delete
    3. Debs, I just looked at the range map for loons. Though they are occasionally found in most of the US, they seem to avoid Texas altogether.

      Delete
    4. I looked, too, and apparently they can be seen on upper parts of the Texas coast, but we are very landlocked here...

      Delete
  23. Thanks for this, Karen! A few years ago my husband and I went on a safari along the Zambezi River with a trip organized by the Smithsonian. (Smithsonian Journeys highly recommended, btw--their programs are terrific). We were excited about seeing lions, giraffes, elephants, etc but there were a couple of avid bird-watchers in the group. By the end of the trip all of us had become enthusiastic birders--I had no idea Africa had so many exquisite, beautiful birds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've been fortunate enough to be on two safaris--one in Tanzania, and one in Kenya--and both times our guides were as knowledgeable about the birds as about the mammals, and enthusiastic about pointing them out to us.

      And when my sister-in-law and I were on an Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT, also a great tour company) trip to South America, we were the birdwatchers for whom the guides found birds. A couple of the other tour members thanked us for asking that to be done.

      Delete
    2. I envy you those safaris! I've always wanted to go to Kenya, especially.

      Delete
    3. Debs, if you ever have the chance you should take it. It is life-changing, truly.

      Delete
    4. I totally agree with Karen about the safaris. It is truly life-changing. The poverty in Africa is staggering but the raw beauty of all the places we visited was unforgettable.

      Delete
  24. I should also mention that Ellen will be back in April to talk about the new Lucie Montgomery book, Bitter Roots!

    Is there a release date for the Sophie book, Ellen?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am really looking forward to being back in April, Debs! As for a date for the new Sophie book, I'm not turning it in until September 1, so at the moment all we have is a year: 2023. LOL. The title has already changed a couple of times as well!

      Delete
  25. Hi Ellen! As you know, I've been hoping for more Sophie for quite a while, so I'm excited to hear there will be more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jim, I was hoping to find you here! Almost 50 years ago you wrote me a wonderful letter that I have kept--and came across recently when I was going through my grandmother's old steamer trunk. I will (finally) part with it and send it to you . . . your grandchildren might enjoy it.

      Delete
  26. One more shout out for Ellen--she's recently released her first novel, Moscow Nights, which I loved! Such a wonderful sense of place, and portrait of a time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you available for full-time author promotion, Debs!?! LOL! Thank you for all these wonderful and very generous shout-outs. xoxo

      And I loved Moscow Nights--it was my first book and the book of my heart. Wondering if anyone else feels that way about their first published book?

      Delete
  27. Ellen, I enjoy your Lucie books so much that I will certainly check out Sophie! Poor loon. She probably wondered what in the heck was going on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Pat! I hope you like Sophie as much as you like Lucie. As for the loon, no one ever figured out how she ended up so far off course. The pond was not only small but also surrounded by woods so she would have had to fly over the tops of some tall trees, too.

      Delete
  28. Ellen, I'm THRILLED there will be a new Sophie mystery! Congratulations! And the new covers are awesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Annette, thank you so much! You and I have a shared history as well . . . that suitcase that never left Dulles Airport and made it to Pittsburgh when Mary Alice and Richard were still having their wonderful festival at the Greek Church in Oakmont. (And I was going on to New York to be a presenter at the Edgars with no clothes . . .) You kept driving me to the airport to look for it because I was frantic!

      Delete
  29. In addressing the length of time between the last novel of your Sophie series and this next one, Ellen, I think fans of the series are just delighted there will be more. In 2011, Arianna Franklin (Diana Norman) passed away having published four books in the much-loved Mistress of the Art of Death series. Loose ends dangled aplenty. Fans of the series, like me, were bereft at both the death of Ms. Norman, who was such a talent, and the premature end of the series. Well, Ariana's/Diana's daughter Samantha Norman, by no means a novice writer herself, at last undertook the project of a fifth and final book in her mother's series. There were notes and research and what-all, but the onus of the fifth book was clearly on Samantha Norman. Last year, in June 2021, Death and the Maiden came out to grateful readers. I thought Samantha did an excellent job of tying things up while giving us an intriguing mystery to solve. So, I've already proved that I can wait ten years for another book. And, I should probably mention Diana Gabaldon, too, the Queen of Wait For It, her most recent Outlander book, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, out last fall in November 2021 followed the previous title, Written in My Own Heart's Blood, that had arrived in 2014. I am impressed that you are returning to your Sophie series after your ongoing success with your vineyard series. I think that shows your creative forces are in the driving seat, and that's always good for readers.

    I'm looking forward to picking up your first two Sophie books, as they sound like exciting reads.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy, I love "the Queen of Wait For It!" And thank you so much for your kind words. My editor in London has been reading these comments and told me she's thrilled by all the positive affirmation for restarting Sophie after so much time. It has been gratifying.

      There is a similar story to your Arianna Franklin/Samantha Norman story concerning Felix Francis and his father Dick. (Whose books I love). He told it at a book tour event at the Middleburg (VA) library a few years ago where Dick often came to to ride when he was in the US. Felix said that after Dick passed away, he was certain the royalties from his father's many much-beloved books meant his mother's financial future was secure--and most likely his own as well. Unfortunately the money soon dwindled so Felix went to London to talk to his father's literary agent where he learned that with no new books, bookstores weren't keeping the backlist on the shelf. The agent proposed finding a ghost writer to take over until Felix said, "What about me?"

      And I hope you enjoy the Sophie books!

      Delete
  30. Ellen, you were the first author I ever saw at a live event. It was at the Mystery Bookshop in Mechanicsburg PA and I don’t remember the year. What an eclectic crew was there-interviewer had a huge beard, ponytail and wore a cowboy hat. I enjoyed the conversation and it sent me down a road following authors. I have only read the wine series but Sophie sounds interesting, too.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Emily, that is Bill Peschel! He interviewed me last year for a podcast since there were no in-person events but I'm going back to Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop on May 22 and really looking forward to it. They are so good to me there and Deb Beamer does so much to make sure an author has a great event. Maybe see you there?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Ellen if I enjoy an author's work I will gladly read whatever they write. Also, I have no problem with picking up a book in a series that has had a long time between books. (Other than waiting impatiently for the n next installment to come out!)
    A Loon! I love loons! So glad she was able to get back on her way north.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christine, thank you so much for this! It was quite a drama to bag the poor loon, but they were successful and got her to a larger pond.

      Delete
  33. Ellen, I'm so glad your editor is enjoying the comments. And we will definitely have you back next year for the new (as yet untitled!) Sophie!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for having me today, Debs! And I am looking forward to being with you again for Bitter Roots and the next Sophie! xoxo

      Delete