Adults read mysteries to the tune of almost 500 million dollars every year. Mysteries are the second-largest type of genre fiction out there, after romance. And there are certainly lots of mysteries available for younger kids, from Chet Gecko, Lizard Detective, to Theodore Boone and the Brixton Brothers.
But for teenagers, not so much.
And that seems a shame.
At that point, I had spent two years writing a handful of adult mysteries, about Avery Baker, textile designer turned home renovator in Waterfield, Maine, and Savannah Martin, Southern Belle turned Realtor in Nashville, Tennessee.
I thought, “I can do this,” and promptly got to work writing a book about a sixteen-year-old girl named Jo Brennan who has to prove her brother innocent of murder when his pregnant girlfriend turns up strangled.
It took me about two months to write. At the time, that was the fastest I’d written any book.
I promptly sent it to my agent, and got an answer back a week later, telling me she’d made it to page 20 and hated it.
I showed it to a few more people, and was told not to quit my day-job: I’d totally missed the Young Adult voice.
So I shoved it in a drawer—or rather, left it on the hard drive to molder—while I got busy writing other things.
In 2011, I started self-publishing the Cutthroat Business books—now up to seven; yay!
And now here we are, full circle. There may not be a market for Virginia Creeper in traditional publishing, but I have options.
This may not be a book that appeals to teenagers, because the teenage “voice” is shaky. Jo doesn’t always sound sixteen; my agent said she wasn’t self-absorbed enough. And apparently it’s highly unbelieveable that a sixteen-year-old girl would clean when she’s upset.
But it’s a cute little book, and I thought my regular readership might enjoy it, even if the protagonist is younger than they’re used to, and the issues are ones we’re not so concerned with at our much more advanced age. 🙂
Then again, murder and teenage pregnancy and betrayal and loss is something that feels the same no matter what age you are, I guess.
So here goes. Virginia Creeper is available in the following fine virtual establishments, with more to come as the day and week goes on. I hope you’ll like it!