Sunday, August 29, 2021

When the Spotlight Fades

The buzz of your first novel has long worn off, you’re no longer the hot new thing — now what?

Brenda Chapman

The only hot thing about me lately comes from the 40 degree temperatures. Tropical air mass hovers over Southern Ontario ... break out the pina coladas and beach towel, I say.

My first novel was a middle grade mystery, and while its release did create a buzz amongst my family members and friends, I'm not certain it or I ever achieved 'hot' status. The book got solid reviews and kids liked the series, but my publisher was small and didn't have the marketing money to give it a big push over the tree tops.

The fast pace of the first person narrative, mystery, and humour throughout Running Scared make it a page turner. -- Canadian Teacher Magazine

Now my first adult standalone mystery In Winter's Grip also got enthusiastic reviews but again was released by the same small publisher with the same small marketing budget. Interestingly, my then-editor emailed me last month and said that he always felt the book didn't achieve the success it deserved. You can be the judge! The book is available on Amazon and from other booksellers (as is the Running Scared series).

This is a beautifully written book with landscapes painted on the pages. Brenda Chapman has given the reader, mystery or mainstream, a complex, most satisfying read. -- Mystery Maven Review

My Stonechild and Rouleau police procedural series, however, has garnered many more readers and swung each book toward the hot zone. The Goodreads reviews and ratings continue to pour in over a year after the release of Closing TIme, seventh and last in the series. My then-publicist said that the books were bestsellers in Canada, so I guess that's encouraging.

If you like mystery, suspense, interesting, complex and strong female characters, and a slice of Canadiana, then this series is for you. -- Goodreads reviewer

Now what? I'm back with my same editor who worked on my early books, Allister Thompson, and am set to release the first in a new series this coming spring. I'm deep into writing book two in the series and am enjoying a new cast of characters, solving crimes in Ottawa and leading messy, complicated lives. Perhaps influenced by this latest heatwave, the manuscript I'm working on now is set in July and the weather is hot and sticky.

Could this be the book make me into the next hot thing?! I'm sweating and reaching for a pina colada just thinking about it :-)


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Mar Preston said...

But you kept the flame lit. Look forward to your new series.

James W. Ziskin said...

We just keep plugging away, hoping the next one will be it. One thing’s for sure: if we don’t write the next one, it definitely won’t be it.

Thanks, Brenda.


Brenda Chapman said...

Thanks Mar and James - yes, enjoying the journey is key.