At some point I lost count of the emails that started with this question: "When is the next Raleigh Harmon novel coming out?"
My reply was always the same: Soon.
Of course, I said "soon" for months and months. Maybe even an entire year. But I felt it was true because Raleigh's next mystery flew from my fingertips, begging to be told.
My only obstacle was how to release the book.
Traditional publishing was an option. I've been blessed with good publishers and even larger publishing houses had voiced interest in picking up the Raleigh series. Plus I'd found a stellar agent.
So, what was the problem?
That traditional route would mean months--possibly years--before the book would be available for readers. That's how traditional publishing works: The manuscript travels down a long course of committees, editors, publicists, so forth, before the book eventually arrives in stores and online and by that time the author's completely forgotten what the book's about.
When I said soon, I meant it.
Some smart people suggested I self-publish this next book. And believe me, I'm digging all these hallelujah's from writers cutting their own paths straight to their readers. But I also know myself. My technical expertise runs right alongside plow horses.
So just when I was ready to give up (isn't that always the way?), opportunity walked in.
Better yet, opportunity was a Green Beret speaking my kick-butt language: "Hey! Are you ready to write--really write?!"
Oh, yeah. Literary love: Hit like lightning.
Cool Gus will be partnering on the newest Raleigh Harmon mystery, Stone and Spark.
You readers deserve a huge shout-out. Because not did you keep asking When's-the-next-book, you also wondered about Raleigh's life before her dad was murdered.
And the answer is: Stone and Spark.
This book is a prequel to The Stones Cry Out, with Raleigh's dad still alive and Raleigh just beginning to figure out how soil evidence can solve crimes.
But Stone and Spark also launches a new parallel series with Raleigh. Yes, there is book following The Stars Shine Bright. I'm working on it now. But personally I think teenagers are totally awesome (yes, seriously), and I've long wanted to write a young-adult novel.
When Stone and Spark opens, Raleigh's 15 years old. Her dad's alive. Her mom's still nuts. But her best friend has just gone missing. I loved writing this book.
More details are coming--soon! promise!-- so stay tuned. I'll be giving away copies and other goodies with the launch. You don't want to miss it (sign up for my newsletter, if you haven't already).
As always, I want to thank you readers.
Your questions made so much of this happen, and I'm so grateful to you all.
P.S. Cool Gus also picked up The Stones Cry Out!