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My Imaginary Friend--Kiki Lowenstein



Lately I’ve been missing one of my dear friends. Her name is Kiki Lowenstein. And yes, she’s the protagonist in my mystery series.  Unfortunately, I’ve been busy going to conferences and attending signings, so I haven’t been able to work on Book #7, Wedding, Portrait, Killer. Whenever I have to skip a day or two at the keyboard, I struggle with a feeling of emptiness. I never had an imaginary friend when I was a child, but I certainly have one now.
Reading a series—and writing one—is like visiting old friends, isn’t it?
When I’m not involved in producing a Kiki book, I miss the world she lives in. I miss Time in a Bottle, the scrapbook store in St. Louis where Kiki works. I’m not alone. Readers email me asking for directions to the store. Since it only exists in my imagination, you can’t get there from here…ever.
In between books, I wonder what’s going on with the characters. I think about Mert Chambers, Kiki’s former cleaning lady and best friend, who is currently angry at Kiki. Mert is a strictly no-nonsense type of woman. She puts on her big girl panties everyday. I admire Mert. Her philosophy can be summed up neatly, “It is what it is and crying about it won’t help a bit.” When life threatens to get me down, I have a mental dialogue with Mert. She straightens me right out.
Clancy Whitehead is another type of friend all together. Clancy is a Jackie Kennedy look-alike. She’s fashionable and classy but a little stiff. When Kiki hugs Clancy, Clancy tenses up before she accepts the affection. Maybe one day we’ll learn why Clancy doesn’t like to be touched. That’ll be an interesting story, I’m sure.  
Dodie Goldfader is Kiki’s boss at the scrapbook store. In the last book—Photo, Snap, Shot—Dodie battled cancer. That’s taken a lot of her energy and focus. Now Dodie needs to rethink their relationship. As I write scenes between Dodie and Kiki, I feel the tension build.
I stock Kiki’s world with places, foods, traditions, and animals that I love. In Book #4—Make, Take, Murder (May 1, 2011)—readers will be introduced to Monroe, who’s modeled after a real donkey that lives in St. Louis. Fans of the series will also enjoy learning about presépios, crèche scenes on display every Christmas season at shops on The Hill, the Italian neighborhood in St. Louis.  As an extra treat, I’ve included a recipe for rugelach that’s been handed down from generation to generation by members of one Jewish family. Gathering these “bonus” items is always lots of fun for me.  
Of course, my fans would be disappointed if I didn’t bring back Gracie, Kiki’s harlequin Great Dane, and Anya, Kiki’s thirteen-year-old daughter.
I get a lot of questions about whether Detective Chad Detweiler and Kiki will ever get together. My readers are pretty vocal about wanting to see these two star-crossed lovers find happiness.
I’m curious about what will happen, too. That’s just another reason I can’t wait to get back to my writing.


18 comments:

SJ Carsten said...

excitingly waiting to hear about the next chapter in Kiki's life. So appreciate you providing the shorts so we can get our Kiki fixes in between books.

Yifat Cestare said...

What a terrific synopsis. Looking forward, as always, to the next chapter in Kiki's life.

Joanna Slan said...

Oh, Yifat, if you only knew what's ahead for our dear friend Kiki!

starlipermom said...

Yes! It sure is like visiting anokd friend. I'm happily trapped in the world of Kiki! Thanks for the short stories in between. :)

Lynn g said...

Joanna, My daughter and I have been avid readers of the kiki books and now we are having a hard time getting them in paper back, can you help, please.

Joanna Slan said...

Lynn, we hope to be converting more of the Kiki books to paper very, very soon. I suggest you join my newsletter by going to my website www.JoannaSlan.com That's where I'll announce when we get this done.
Thanks so much for your interest. Your friend, j

Robbie Bauldree said...

I like the stories about Kiki.

jankay9 said...

Dear Joanna --
I really love your writing. Kiki and all her family and friends come to life in your books. I've read everything you've written about Kiki et al.
I've been waiting and waiting for the new Kiki book to come out -- I think it's number 10. I think you said number 11 was almost finished as well. I also loved the first Cara Mia book and am hopeful the second one will be out soon. Can you give me some dates of when the books will be available -- whether on Kindle or in paper? Help, Joanna! It's so hard to wait for more news about Kiki!
jankay9

Pam McGuire said...

Joanna, I have read every book you have written. I can't wait for more... I stay up till wee hours in the morning reading your stories in bed (should be sleeping)but they are so awesome I can't put them down till I literally fall asleep. So I love Kiki, Ana, Detwiler, and all the rest. Thank you.
You came by our Scrapbooking store in Cape Coral, and handed us one of your books, and I was hooked.

Barbara Coe said...

When is Kiki gonna be on Hallmark or Lifetime?

Joanna Slan said...

I'm so sorry I've missed most of these.
Lynn g, I'm working like a crazy woman to get all the Kiki books into print. It takes a lot of time! Hang in there!

Joanna Slan said...

Jankay, I hope you know that I just put out Handmade, Holiday, Homicide (#10) and Shotgun, Wedding, Bells (#11) recently.

Joanna Slan said...

Pam, that's the nicest thing anyone has said to me today. Bless you!

Joanna Slan said...

Barbara, maybe HBO! Or Netflix!

Barbara Coe said...

OMG! So excited, can't wait.

Kirsten Oliphant said...

My nickname is Kiki! I want to be your imaginary real friend! :)

Kirsten Oliphant said...

Ps- I'm visiting from the Jane Friedman workshop!

Joanna Slan said...

Hey, Kirsten, you are such a social media guru! Wow! You should email me at jcslan@joannaslan.com