Middle Grades Mysteries: Back at Last

Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson here, again writing as Kathy. The Finder of Lost Things, my standalone historical mystery, will be released next Tuesday and I’ll blog more about that in my second post this month, but today I want to tell you about something completely different.

As some of you may know, I’ve spend a fair amount of time during this period of stay-at-home-and-stay-safe prepping some personal projects and a few long out-of-print books for young readers for publication in e-book and print-on-demand formats. The first project was my grandfather’s story, The Life of A Plodder, which I’ve written about before.

Project number two was to revise my two long out-of-print juvenile mysteries. Both were written for ages 8-12 and set in rural Maine. The first one, published way back in 1985 by Down East Books, was The Mystery of Hilliard’s Castle. Rather than do a complete rewrite to add such things as cell phones and laptops, I left the setting of the story where it was when I first wrote it—in 1982. That doesn’t quite mean it’s classified as historical, but it comes close. The revising I did was pretty minor, mostly cutting out repetitious words  and clarifying a couple of points by adding a word or two.

I’m using an outfit called Draft2Digital to handle all the technical publication and distribution details. Since I’m a techno-moron, it’s been . . . interesting. With each book I learn a little more about what I like and what I don’t and what I’ll do a little differently the next time around.

My second juvenile mystery was The Mystery of the Missing Bagpipes, first published in 1991. Funny thing about this one—the first publisher to buy it purchased it as a YA romance. Unfortunately, that line (Crosswinds, an imprint of Harlequin Silhouette), was discontinued before my book hit store shelves. I got the rights back and a few years later I sold it to Avon for their Camelot line. Camelot’s audience was middle-grades readers, so the one chaste kiss in the text was cut. That was the only thing that changed. In the new edition, I added a date line. Readers now learn on page one that the story takes place in 1986.

One thing I had to come up with for each book, besides the electronic file, was a cover. I don’t own the rights to the original cover art. I made a couple attempts at designing covers on my own, both using Canva.com and with the photo editing program that’s on my computer, but the results looked pretty amateurish. As I plan to bring out several more books for the same age group, I also wanted to “brand” their look in some way, even though they are all single titles. It didn’t take me long to realize it would be worth the investment to hire someone who knew what he was doing. I chose Dave at LimelightBookCovers.com because I liked the work he did for fellow Maine Crime Writers Lea Wait and Kate Flora. It was a good decision.

As I write this, The Mystery of Hilliard’s Castle and The Mystery of the Missing Bagpipes are already available as e-books. Print editions are in the works and should be available later this month. For those who are interested, here are some links to more information and to buy the books I’ve reissured:

link to the Children’s Books webpage at KathyLynnEmerson.com, where you’ll find book descriptions and other information: Children’s Books

link to places to buy The Mystery of Hilliard’s Castle: https://books2read.com/u/4jWJND to

link to places to buy The Mystery of the Missing Bagpipes: https://books2read.com/u/3kWy9W

link to places to buy The Life of a Plodder: https://books2read.com/u/mlwvAP

With the October 6, 2020 publication of The Finder of Lost Things, Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett has had sixty-three books traditionally published. She won the Agatha Award and was an Anthony and Macavity finalist for best mystery nonfiction of 2008 for How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and was an Agatha Award finalist in 2015 in the best mystery short story category. She was the Malice Domestic Guest of Honor in 2014. Currently she writes the contemporary “Deadly Edits” series (A Fatal Fiction) as Kaitlyn. As Kathy, her most recent book is a standalone historical mystery, The Finder of Lost Things. She maintains websites at www.KaitlynDunnett.com and www.KathyLynnEmerson.com. A third, at A Who’s Who of Tudor Women, contains over 2000 mini-biographies of sixteenth-century Englishwomen.


This entry was posted in Kaitlyn's Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Middle Grades Mysteries: Back at Last

  1. Here’s what I shared on the Maine library listserv just now
    Hi all, for those not familiar with Kathy, she’s published more than 50 books under her name and under Kaitlyn Dunnett and lives in Wilton. Since middle grade mysteries are often good hooks to get that age group reading, I thought I’d share her post about them on the Maine Crime Writer’s blog today.Regards,John Clark

  2. Anonymous says:

    I really like the branding design of these books. Glad that Dave came through for you. Good luck with the books.


  3. itslorrie says:

    Looking forward to The Finder of Lost Things Kathy. I appreciate it when book covers are uniform as it makes it easier for me to find a particular series. I have The Mystery of Hilliards Castle in my Kindle. Haven’t gotten to it yet though, like everybody else I have a huge tbr list/pile. Are libraries going to be carrying these YA books?

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi, Lorrie. Libraries can easily buy both and print editions, but since these are reprints they probably won’t unless a patron asks them to. Their priority is usually newly published books.

  4. Jane Nelson says:

    Kathy, I just read (actually re-read) The Mystery of Hilliard’s Castle, which I enjoyed enormously. It has been quite a while since I previously read it, so I didn’t really much about it. But, as an amateur genealogist, I really liked reading about how Kerry learned to do research the old-fashioned way, the same way I did it in the beginning way too long ago.

    • kaitlynkathy says:

      Thanks, Jane.I’m hoping readers of all ages will still enjoy an “old fashioned” mystery. So much of what I see reviewed for young readers deals with really dark subject matter. I’m a big fan of escapist fiction.

Leave a Reply