Friday, April 25, 2008

I Heart Readers

One of the things I absolutely love is getting reader mail. When other people write to me and talk about my characters as if they’re real people, it just tickles me to no end. Whenever I’m having a particularly uncreative day (read: banging my head against the keyboard, asking myself, “But why does he kill her? There must be a motive, Gemma, think, girl!”) a note from a reader telling me they laughed so hard at Maddie’s latest misadventure that strangers stopped and stared at them, always inspires me to write more.

But, this week, I got one of my favorite reader letters yet.

It came via snail mail (odd in itself, as most of my readers send email) to my PO Box with no return address listed. But, seeing as it was hand addressed (always a sign something more interesting than a bill is inside!) I tore it open. And found an actual handwritten note inside. Cool!

Lovely Reader started off by saying how much she (I’m assuming it is a she) has loved my Heels books, and how funny Maddie is. Aw. I like her already. But then I read down to the next sentence and see the words “your last book” and “disappointed.”

Uh oh.

Honestly, this is every writer’s worst nightmare. That her last book doesn’t stand up against the earlier ones. That someone plunked down their hard earned $6.99 for one of my books and felt let down when she got to the end. I pause. I take a deep breath. I almost set the note aside, but the masochist in me comes out and urges me to continue reading.

So, I do.

In my last book, Alibi in High Heels, Maddie is torn between her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Ramirez, and her admirer and sometimes-pain-in-the-butt friend, Felix. While Ramirez has always been Maddie’s hero, Felix has lately been finding his way into her life and into her heart. And, if you haven’t read Alibi, I won’t spoil it, but I’ll just say that in the end, Maddie has a big decision to make.

Lovely Reader has obviously read Alibi. She tells me that she has loved Ramirez from the start and can not believe that Maddie would even entertain romantic thoughts about Felix. “Stupid Felix” (as she calls him) doesn’t even know how to dress! Can’t even get a decent haircut! And he’s a tabloid reporter for crying out loud! Ramirez, on the other hand, is what she sees as a real hero. The bad boy with the heart of gold that we all love. She tells me he’s so much more right for Maddie, what a perfect fit they are together, what a great guy he is – he even followed her to Paris! Ramirez is the Ricky to Maddie’s Lucy. They belong together. She ends by begging me to please, please keep them together and keep Maddie away from Felix.

At this point I’ve stopped cringing and am trying really hard not to laugh. Not because I don’t share some of Lovely Reader’s sentiments (While I love Felix dearly, he is, I’ll admit, an atrocious dresser.), but because I do believe these are real people in her world. The tone and urgency of her letter is as if I’m Maddie, on the verge of choosing the wrong guy and ruining my life forever.

So, as much as I’m not sure if this was really a "fan" letter, it is one of my favorites. Anyone who gets that into my characters is awesome in my book. Unfortunately she didn’t sign her name, so I have no way of responding. So, Lovely Reader, if you’re out there I just want to assure you I got your note, and, trust me, I am so aware of all of Ramirez’s fab attributes. ‘Cause I gave them to him. ;) And I will be taking your plea to heart as I finish up Maddie’s last book.

And speaking of Maddie’s last book…

Yes, the book I’m working on right now, Mayhem in High Heels, will be Maddie’s swan song. I’ve had a great run with this series and really enjoyed writing it, but it’s time for something new for me. Wanna know what it is?

This week I “officially” agreed to write a new series for Dorchester, called the Hollywood Mysteries. The stories will center around the L.A. Informer, Los Angeles’s premier tabloid magazine, reporting on all the latest celebrity gossip, scandals and dirt. They’re not above a little sensational exaggeration and have even been known, on occasion, to bend the law in pursuit of a hot story. Their ace reporter, Felix Dunn (Mr. Bad Dresser himself), has just been promoted to managing editor. Now, he’s got his work cut out for him keeping the magazine running smoothly while keeping his staff in line, because each book in the series will follow a different one of the Informer's reporters as she investigates a story, unravels a mystery, and falls for her own fabulous hero. The first book, tentatively titled Hollywood Lies, should be out in late 2009.

What do you ladies think? Sound gun?

~Trigger Happy Halliday

P.S. Don't forget to enter my contest to win a ARC of THESE BOOTS WERE MADE FOR STRUTTING... see the last post below for details!


Anonymous said...

I need to get me one of those T-shirts!

Kathy Bacus said...

Oh no! I so don't want to say goodbye to Maddie, Ramirez, and the crew, Gemma! It's a very good thing I've kept all the books so far so I can still get my 'Heels fix'.

But WOW! Your LA Informer series sounds fabulous! Congratulations!!!

~Bullet Hole~

Terri Osburn said...

Gemma - the new series sounds great but I thought you were supposed to write fiction. LOL! That's sounds awful realistic to me.

Love that that reader feels so strongly about your characters. I know my friends and I talk about these people as if they are real all the time. Sometimes when we get too heated, I have to say, "We do remember this guy doesn't really exist, right?" LOL!

Gemma Halliday said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gemma Halliday said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gemma Halliday said...

I need to get me one of those T-shirts!

I got this pop-up on myspace one day saying I could customize my own T-shirts. I couldn't resist.


Gemma Halliday said...

Wow, no idea why my comment showed up three time. I only needed to say that once. Lol!


Gemma Halliday said...

Thanks, Kathy! I've had a lot of fun with the Heels books, but I think this new series is going to be a blast!


Gemma Halliday said...

terrio - Okay, I'm so glad I'm not the only one that has moments like that!


Nancy said...

Gemma, I'm devastated that Maddie, Ramirez, Mom and Mrs. R are sailing into the sunset, tho maybe they'll show up now and then in the new series. (Hear my hopeful plea?) And, hey, if the USA network will get in gear, that's another place to get my Maddie fix. Aside from rereading all the Heels books, of course.

The new series does sound wonderful, tho. Congratulations on it all be offical, and keep us up to date on news, okay?

Thanks for sharing your wonderful fan letter, too! You've touched people, and that's our job@


Dru said...

I'm laughing at myself because I'm thinking wasn't the LA Informer the publication that mocked Maddie's face. It's good to know that we'll get to see Felix.

I will miss Maddie and the gang but I can revisit them with my books.

I look forward to reading this new mystery series.

Keri Ford said...

What fun Gemma, your proposal sounds fantastic. Good luck with writing it, I'm sure you won't have any trouble. I can soo sympathize with the writer of that letter and why I have avioded doing the love triangle!

Anonymous said...

I'll miss Maddie & Ramirez, but I'm thrilled that Felix is getting his own series of sorts!!! Atrocious dresser or not, I adore him. :)

Kristi said...

Hi Gemma. I'm sad that you are ending the Maddie series. I love them. I'm sure that I'll love your new ones too though.

I'm the opposite of your letter writer. I think Ramirez is a little too boring for Maddie and I would like her to get together with Felix. I really liked learning more about him in your last book.

Why are you ending the series? I had heard that it might be picked up by USA for a tv series?

Good luck!


Beth said...

Am I the only one who preferred Felix over Ramirez? Yeah, Ramirez has that hot latin hero-hunk thing down pat with his beefy muscles, panther tatoo, mumbling in Spanish, excellent "skills"...
What were we talking about? Oh yeah, Felix vs. Ramirez, I kinda think Felix sounds cute with his British accent, rumpled cloths, unconcerned about his wealth and title and his confession of love for Maddie. I am looking forward to more of him. I hope you give him a real unconventional lady of his own.
Oh and tell us more about the TV series... true/not true?

Jana DeLeon said...

Congrats on the new series, Gemma!!! Great news!

I love when readers really get invested in the characters. Means you did your job. :)

Shelley Munro said...

Your new series sounds great, Gemma. Meantime I'm still busy reading about Maddie's antics...
Have a fun weekend.

Cait London said...

I heard about your new series and contract. Really pleased for you. congratulations!

Gemma Halliday said...

I’m so glad you all are enjoying the books! I’ve really loved writing them.

TV series – true! It’s still in development with the USA network, but has been severely delayed because of the Writer’s Guild Strike. So, yes, still a chance of seeing Maddie, Ramirez and Felix on the small screen, but probably not this season. Fingers crossed for next!


Gemma Halliday said...

Re: ending the series – my editor and I both felt that we wanted Maddie to go out while she was still at the top of her game. One challenge for me has been to keep the characters feeling fresh and new in each subsequent book. While I’ve had a good time with this so far, I did want Maddie to get her happy ending before she started feeling stale to anyone. Hopefully this last book is achieving that, and if I really need a Maddie fix in the future, well, there’s always the chance she’ll show up at the Informer in the new series. ;)


Christie Craig said...


Congrats on your new series!!

WOW, you hopping girl.


Anonymous said...

Mega congrats, Gemma! I love the idea of the new series and can't wait!


Spring said...

You are a wonderful writer. I just discovered your series and am completely in love with your characters. All of them are so fleshed out that it's little wonder they begin to feel like real people to your readers. I am so thrilled I discovered this series while looking for books to load my Kindle with and I can't wait to unwrap your new series - I say "unwrap" because a new book by you is like a present - fun and exciting.