After waiting years to finally feel as if I were a good enough writer to write the genre I loved, it’s hard to fathom I have the last book of my Shandra Higheagle series releasing this month.
Years ago, we’re talking in the early 90s I wanted to write mystery books. I read them voraciously and after reading the first three in Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone series, I wanted to write a mystery book. I had taken creative writing classes at the local community college and was ready to try my hand at mystery. Especially after someone I thought was a close friend told her husband she was having an affair with my husband to keep her husband from learning who was her real lover.
I knew I could write a really good murder mystery because I was killing that person in my story. I wrote the book. In first person, just like Ms. Grafton did. When I sent it to an agent, the reply was: First person mysteries don’t sell. I read the letter over and over wondering at the comment since I’d read many first person mysteries. While I waited to hear back on the first one, I killed off a replica of the same person in my second book with the same main character.
After receiving the letter from the agent, I transformed my first person account into third person and sent it off. Still a solid rejection. When I tried back then to get into a mystery writers group all of them insisted you had to be already published to become a member. Heart broken and feeling like mystery wasn’t my calling, I joined RWA- Romance Writers of American and put my writing skills into western romance always adding a bit of adventure or mystery into each book and showcasing injustices.
When I picked up the gauntlet to write an Indian Jones type book, I wrote my Isabella Mumphrey Action Adventure series. The success of those books and my brother telling me about a way to hide a murder weapon on a bronze statue started my brain spinning. I came up with an amateur sleuth who was in the art world.
Giving a nod to the fact I like to write Native American characters to help educate readers about their history and circumstances, I came up with Shandra Higheagle a potter. From book one, Double Duplicity, I loved my character and the secondary characters I sprinkled into her life. Through the series the reader learns more about Shandra’s past and sees her build a future with Detective Ryan Greer.
At book six my daughter’s asked when I would end the series. I told them when I was tired of writing them or my readers were tired of reading them. I didn’t want to be an author who had readers saying I should have ended the series three books ago. But as I wrote the previous book, Capricious Demise, and I had Shandra and Ryan adopt twins, I realized to keep readers liking my character, she would have to stop sleuthing and take care of the kids.
And that is how I came up with the last book of the series. Shandra’s grandmother comes to her in a dream showing her, Ryan and the twins at the Colville Powwow. During the course of the book, her grandmother stops coming to her dreams and Shandra realizes she can no longer put her life in danger. The twins lost two parents already. They didn’t need to lose another.
While it is sad to think I won’t be visiting Shandra, Sheba, Ryan, Crazy Lil, Ruthie, Maxwell, Ted, Naomi, Maranda, and Alex, I’m excited to carry on writing Gabriel Hawke novels and my new series Spotted Pony Casino Mysteries.
Book 16 in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series
Deception, Gluttony, Murder
Shandra Higheagle Greer’s deceased Nez Perce grandmother appears in her dream, dancing at a powwow. Since Grandmother only appears when there is a murder, Shandra believes, she, Ryan, and the twins should attend the yearly Powwow at the Colville Reservation.
While out for a walk the first night, Shandra sees someone lurking in the dark between the vendor tents. A vendor is discovered the next morning strangled with her own beads.
When members of Shandra’s family are attacked, she finds it hard to stay out of the investigation. While Ryan is working with the Tribal Police, Shandra follows a suspect and is captured. No one knows her whereabouts. Calling upon her grandmother seems futile. The dreams are vanishing and so could her life.
universal book link to pre-order at most ebook vendors: https://books2read.com/u/4XLkvg
5 thoughts on “Ending a Series is Hard by Paty Jager”
It takes courage to end a series! For me, the Pennington co-sleuths of my series decided together that raising a family was more important–and a greater adventure to them!– than investigating murder. My third series may give readers glimpses of the Penningtons, but neither Kyle nor Lyssa will be in the role of sleuth. I love it that there is no shortage of characters in our lives that can willingly step into the detective role. All the best with your new/continuing series!
Susan, Nothing is worthwhile if there isn’t a struggle involved. 😉 Thank you for your kind words. I have enjoyed writing the Shandra books, but I was also ready to move on and tackle something else.
This is a very complex post, Paty. I’m sorry to hear you had so much trouble finding a congenial writing group, but your report of your books lifted my spirits. And then your reason for ending the first series seemed bittersweet but a truly fitting, thoughtful ending. You certainly packed a lot into your post, and now I’m going to pick up your novels to catch up with the series.
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Great post. I almost ended mine, then changed my mind and now working on another in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series.
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Marilyn, When I started the Shandra books, I said I’d go until I couldn’t think of any more. But when a new shiny popped up in my head and I knew I couldn’t juggle three mystery series, I made the decision on end gracefully. Keep those Tempe Crabtree books coming!
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