A little confession:
I seriously considered giving the advance money back for the last two Sammy Keyes books.
I thought maybe writing more after Sammy Keyes and the Showdown in Sin City would be a mistake.
It has such a beautiful ending.
Really, it could be The End.
And I started wondering, would more be less? How could I write an ending that wrapped the series up better than the ending of Sin City.
What was the purpose?
I talked it over with Mark. I talk everything over with Mark. And he got it, and in a way he agreed. But his advice was to take a little time. He pointed out that I’ve been on a very rigorous deadline schedule. and that the confluence of that and other unrelated but very draining pressures probably just had me exhausted.
Which is true. I try to keep a sunny outlook, but thunderclouds keep storming the castle! Back, you ominous blobs of darkness! Back!
And I have been working very hard to meet my deadlines and NOT SLACK OFF with the writing. It is so important to me that the quality of each Sammy Keyes book is at least as good as, if not better than, the previous one.
I keep raising the bar on myself.
Because I think it’s important!
So…what was the purpose in continuing? If everything’s wrapped up so great at the end of Sin City, shouldn’t I just stop? Who needs a really intriguing final mystery on a cruise ship (my intention for the penultimate book), or to have Sammy…well, I can’t tell you what I’d planned for the last Sammy. I’ll start to cry.
Why not just stop?
I thought about talking to Nancy about it, but didn't. Instead, I went through the motions, hoping I’d get inspired. I did research, came up with a family tree for the cruise ship characters, gave them names, personalities, nailed down the basics of the mystery, conflicts, motives…
And I wrote nothing. Oh, I opened a Word doc and named it Sammy Keyes and the Killer Cruise. I put in the header and wrote Prologue across the first page. But whenever I’d open up the file I'd just stare at it. Or find something to clean. It wasn’t writer’s block. I just wasn’t sure I should write another book.
And then one morning Mark brought me my laptop and said, “Sammy time”. And, I don’t know. After staring at “Prologue” for about five minutes, out of my fingers came:
I look back on things I’ve done and wonder…why didn’t I see that coming?
Why didn’t I know that was a bad idea?
Why didn’t someone warn me?
Grams would tell you she does warn me and that the question should really be, Why don’t I listen?
Which, yeah, I admit, is usually the case.
But not this time. This time I thought it was a bad idea. This time I warned Grams and my mother and Hudson and anyone else who told me it was a good idea that it was a bad idea.
This time they didn’t listen.
Which is how I wound up on a cruise with a dad I barely knew, an endless buffet of party animals, and a family of creepy millionaires.
Happy birthday to me.
And that was all I needed.
To have Sammy appear.
And yes, we've set sail.
See you at the next port!