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The end of the Queen Betsy era – by Mary Janice Davidson

The end of an era! If era means “wonderful, occasionally surreal, life-changing period of time”. When the first book in the series, UNDEAD AND UNWED, hit shelves, I was enduring an SDJ (Stupid Day Job), had over ten years of rejection slips (I could have wallpapered half the house in Rejection, which is a deep, creamy white), and was reasonably sure I would die unpublished (but with a beautifully wallpapered house). In fact, when I got what writers refer to as The Call, I was sure it was a cruel practical joke from my aunt: “Go to hell, Aunt Alice! And lay off the booze, it’s, what? 9:00 a.m.?”

Fifteen books later, thanks to my wonderful readers I’ve got books published in over a dozen countries and have been on best-seller lists all over the world. Now, instead of being a Ramen noodles family (cheap bundles of noodles that sell for less than a dollar), we are a Ramen noodle family who occasionally chases Ramen with lobster. (Not as often as you’d think, though. Turns out my kids hate lobster. Weirdos.) I’m paid to plunge unsuspecting characters into hip-deep (and sinking!) chaos. And I can lay all of that at Betsy Taylor’s well-shod feet. That silly brave cutie changed my life, and others’, too, and (the odd part) for the better. Readers give my books as gifts to cheer people up. They take my books to chemo and dialysis (“I’m guaranteed a laugh, and not just because of the plot holes.”). Other writers believed me when I said, “If I can do this, you can do this.”) and wrote books and got published.

So why end a successful series that is as satisfying to write now as it was fifteen year ago? Because some things, no matter how wonderful, come to an end. I’ve got ideas for new books and, much as I adore Betsy, want to focus on new people and new stories for a while. That’s not to say I’ll never again write about the Undead gang . . . never say never, first, and second, when you move away from a place you love, you can always come back. Sometimes coming back is the best part. It all depends on where you go once you leave. Me? I’ll be out there, coming up with new journeys for new characters. I hope you’ll come, too.

Undead and Done is available from Piatkus as an ebook on the 4th October.