Between then and my current "platinum blonde," a product of age and getting tired of touch-ups every few weeks, I've had brunette, auburn,
strawberry blonde, honey blonde, platinum blonde and even a pinkish mauve. No, I wasn't ahead of the times. That pink was a big mistake--the result of attempting an at-home color job.
What's the point of telling you all this? Or to be blunt about it, what the heck does anyone care how many countless times I've changed my hair color? I'm trying to show you that I've always embraced change. That is until I signed the contract to release Kudzu River.
My readers were accustomed to the cozyesque Callie Parrish mysteries, and I feared I would offend some of them with Kudzu River, but it was a story I'd felt compelled to tell for years. It was also a story that Bella Rosa Books, my most recent publisher, would not print because they only publish "family-friendly" writing. When Odyssey South Publishing, a new southern company, accepted it, I grabbed the chance regardless of the reactions I might receive, but I feared those reactions..
The above quote from Harper Lee sums up what I felt I'd need when Kudzu River was released. I was positive that my usual readers would not like its grittiness and those who liked Kudzu would all be a different population from Callie's fans.
Speaking of Harper Lee (and who isn't this week?) it ticks me off that this woman, who wrote a classic of our times and has had her one and only book required reading for students for years, has taken more than her share of flak through those years. Regularly, some critic claimed that Lee's friend Truman Capote must have written To Kill a Mockingbird because anyone who writes that well would have written another one. Now, "another one" is being released in July. Reports are that though this book takes place from Scout's pov twenty years later than Mockingbird, it was written first. The commentator stated that readers will probably be disappointed because Lee had not yet developed her skills when this was written. I wanted to reach into NPR through my car radio and snatch that man right into the seat beside me so I could demand to know if he's read the coming release. I'm sure this book will be a smashing success financially, but I don't know how Lee could need the money with the royalties she must receive every year from all those students having to buy Mockingbird. However, if the coming book is "bad," why, at age eighty-eight, would she want it published?
This is purely speculation, but perhaps Harper Lee is like so many of us writers less successful than she. Maybe she just wants to see her first born in print. Or, thinking like the mystery writer I am at heart, could it be that the manuscript has not been lost all these years as news reports claim? Did Harper Lee not want this published but was manipulated into it at her advanced age? I'm hoping to see an interview with her. If any of you have seen a recent interview with Ms. Lee, please send me a link.
Back to my first born, Kudzu River was begun before the first Callie Parrish mystery, and it has gone through three name changes. Teacher, Teacher became Red Flag which is now Kudzu River. An established writer who has been on the N Y Times Best Seller list told me years ago (when Teacher Teacher received its first rejection) that nobody's first book sells. Just count it as "practice." Instead of shoving it into a drawer and forgetting about it, I've spent years "practicing" on this book.
So far, Kudzu River has four reviews on Amazon, and I love and appreciate every one of them, but here are two from FaceBook that were posted with their full names. I repeat these because they are from regular Callie readers:
From Brenda: Fran Rizer . . . My book review of Kudzu River . . . loved it. It was my kind of book. Mystery, murder, and love all entwined together. I couldn't put it down. You need to write a Book II.
From Watson: Just finished reading Fran Rizer's Kudzu River Can books keep you on the edge of your seat? This one did==all the way through. I've read a lot of books--probably thousands. This is one of the best.
The reviews on Amazon are longer. I invite you to check them out at Fran Rizer, Kudzu River, Amazon.com. Also, if you're not familiar with kudzu, check out Youtube, Phil Ruff, "Kudzu video." He tells all about kudzu in a song that he has authorized us to use in the trailer for Kudzu River.
Until we meet again, take care of . . . you.
Continuing to embrace change, my next book is horror, and I'm currently writing a children's book.