New York Times bestseller DIANE A.S. STUCKART a/k/a
ANNA GERARD and ALI BRANDON
A Special Note from Ali Brandon
for the Friends of Hamlet the Cat
and Darla and all the gang from
the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery
Many of you have written me over the years to ask why TWICE TOLD TAIL was the final Black Cat Bookshop mystery. Well, I’m here to clear up the confusion. Here are some of the typical questions I get. My answers will give you the nitty-gritty, along with a little behind-the-scenes look at the publishing industry.
Q: Why did you stop writing the series? I love Hamlet!
A: I love Hamlet, too! And it wasn’t my choice to end the series. Unfortunately, during what I call “The Great Cozy Purge of 2016”, the books’ publisher, Berkley Prime Crime, decided not to continue my and numerous other cozy mystery series. We call that being dropped by our publisher.
Q: I see other authors self-publishing their books that were dropped. Why don’t you do that with Hamlet?
A: I made the decision when I moved from romance and short fiction to the mystery field to take a shortcut and work with a book packager doing what is called “writing for hire”. That means that although my name is on the cover and I created all the characters and stories, the copyright belongs to the packager, and not me or Berkley. So, contractually, I’m not allowed to take the characters to Hamlet’s series or my Leonardo da Vinci mystery series and write new stories on my own.
Q: Can’t you try asking for your rights back?
A: I’ve tried that a couple of times…most recently at the end of this summer. The packager was willing to work with me, but the deal they offered meant they would still own the rights AND they would get most of the money I would make by self-publishing. In fact, after I paid for a fancy cover and professional editing and marketing, I would probably be paying THEM to write those books. So, regretfully, I had to tell them NOPE!
Q: When I couldn’t get any more Hamlet books, I tried your Tarot Cats mysteries with Brandon Bobtail and Ophelia, and I really liked them. Will you ever publish more in that series?
A: I have better news with this series. The answer is YES…at some point. Unfortunately, the publisher of that series, Midnight Ink, shut down after FOOL’S MOON came out. But, unlike with the Hamlet books, all the rights belong to me. So I can write more Tarot Cats books, yay! Right now, I’m working with my agent to see if we can sell the series to another publisher. If that does not work, I will begin to self-publish them at some point. Keep an eye on this website for updates.
I hope that answers some of your questions. Believe me, I would have loved to continue Hamlet and Darla’s adventures. In fact, I had three more books planned to follow TWICE TOLD TAIL. And so in the very near future I will be writing up an epilogue of sorts to let you know how I envisioned the story to keep moving forward. As part of that epilogue, I’ll answer the questions you’ve sent to me.
CAUTION >>>SPOILERS TO FOLLOW…
The big question at the end of Book 6 is, do Darla and Reese ever get together now that Connie called off her and Reese’s wedding? Another loose end includes Jake and her mysterious “is he or is he not a Russian gangster” boyfriend? What about Robert and his new pet, Roma the Italian Greyhound? And what happens to the antique store next door now that Mary Ann Plinski has gotten married to her childhood sweetheart? Of course, we can’t forget James and his girlfriend, Martha, especially because there is drama to come with James’ grown daughter and grandchildren. Most importantly, what’s Hamlet going to do now that there is another black cat next door as competition?
Be watching for updates to those and other questions over the coming months. The best way to keep up is via my newsletter. If you’re not already signed up for it, got HERE to do that right now. And thanks so much for your love and support for Hamlet and Darla and the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series!