Signed and personalized copies of POISON FRUIT available for pre-order from The Signed Page!
Summer is here! It was a long time coming.
This month, I'm happy to announce that once again, Shawn Speakman and I will be working together to make signed copies of Poison Fruit, the third and final Agent of Hel novel, available through The Signed Page. Copies are available for pre-order now, and I'll be signing them in early October when the book is released. Beyond that, I don't have any details about other events yet. We'll see!
I will be at Detcon1 in Detroit later this month, with multiple panels and a mass autographing session scheduled for Friday, July 18th. And for readers who are wondering, yes, you’re welcome to bring all your books. I may ask readers with a bazillion copies to let others with one or two volumes go ahead of them in line, but one way or another, I will sign them all!
But back to Poison Fruit... over on Facebook, a lot of readers expressed surprise and dismay when it was revealed that it would be the last Agent of Hel book. I get it. Urban fantasy series are generally episodic in nature and tend to run to a multitude of volumes. I thought about drawing this one out longer, but in the end, I decided to pull the trigger and play out my endgame. It just felt like the right thing to do; for my hell-spawn heroine Daisy’s emotional, developmental and narrative arc, and for the premise of the series itself.
Without giving away any spoilers, I can say that one of the themes that's played out in Poison Fruit actually reflects (very, very loosely) real-world events taking place in my community. And those events are nearing a point of... well, not resolution, but something near enough to it that it's no longer fodder for an analogous imaginary conflict.
It's no secret that the resort town Pemkowet, Michigan is based on my hometown of Saugatuck - I wrote an essay about it for Penguin when Dark Currents was released. Okay, we don't actually have werewolves and fairies and vampires, not to mention a reclusive Norse goddess, but it's a unique community in a lot of ways; in fact, it just won USA Today's Reader Poll for the Best Summer Weekend Getaway, which is quite a coup for a little Midwestern town.
A lot of the places I've written about are real, and many of them remain untouched, but things do change, even in a community with a strong sense of historic preservation. Sometimes quaint cottages are razed to make way for McMansions. The bakery that inspired Mrs. Brown's Olde World Bakery has been gone for decades. The steamship on which the S.S. Osikayas is based, a steamship that had been a local landmark for my entire life, was sold and towed away to a new home in Canada two years ago.
And that's the other reason it just felt right to me to bring the series to a close. Although the books are filled with fun, whimsical, fantastic, and sometimes creepy elements, I wanted to keep them grounded in a genuine sense of what it's like to live in a small community under pressure from outside elements. Whether you're a demon’s daughter, a ten-thousand-year old monster, a member of the nature fey, or an ordinary human citizen, the underlying dynamics remain the same.
In this last volume, the portrait I wanted to paint was complete. The story ends the way I wanted it to. And I think (or at least hope) that upon reading it, you'll all agree that it feels exactly right, too. I'm pretty sure Daisy would agree.
As for what's next... well, I'm still working on it!
On the homepage: A photo of the real-life S.S. Osikayas being towed out of the harbor and down the river to Lake Michigan, taken by operators of the Star of Saugatuck. Yeah, it's that big!