I'm finishing up the final tweaks on INK FLAMINGOS. This book is the fourth in my tattoo shop mysteries, and most likely the last one. Who decides that? The publisher looks at the sales numbers and decides whether it's profitable to continue. Sadly, while I haven't gotten the "official" word on that, it's not looking good for my series.
That said, I'm really proud of these books. I wasn't sure that I even wanted to write them at first. My then-editor had told me that the publisher didn't want any more Annie Seymour books (see reason above) and suggested that I write another series. After coming up with some lame possibilities, she said she was looking for a tattoo shop mystery series. I pointed out that I had no tattoos, that I was not privy to that world. But she said she was confident I could do it, so after some soul searching, I decided to give it a try.
Research for this series has been fun: talking to tattooists, tattooed people, reading about the history of tattoos, watching YouTube videos and, of course, those two trips to Vegas. I have grown to really love my characters: Brett has grown, albeit slowly, but you'll see some real changes in her at the end of DRIVEN TO INK and especially in INK FLAMINGOS. Bitsy, Joel, and Ace are fun supporting characters, and I have had a real hoot writing Sylvia Coleman. Jeff Coleman was the biggest surprise. He wasn't even included in the first proposal and has grown to be a character I would love to keep learning about.
So finishing up INK FLAMINGOS is rather bittersweet. More so than just finishing another book. It's finishing a series, saying goodbye to a world I've created and enjoyed immersing myself in.
I get a lot of emails asking if Annie is coming back, but like Brett, I've said goodbye to her, too. It took a while to get over that; Annie's world was much closer to my heart, although Brett's showed me that I am not just a one dimensional writer, that I can write about something other than my own hometown and my own profession. I've learned a lot writing these two series, but as with Annie, in this last tattoo shop mystery, I have left Brett in a good place.
Do you read series? How do you feel when you know a book will be the last?