Tags: barbara

Blood Will Tell

Booklist looks at Minotaur’s success with mysteries

Booklist interviewed Minotaur’s head Andrew Martin. Minotaur is the mystery arm of the publisher St. Martins. One part of the article talks about the great success Minotaur has had with award winners and nominees. I think one reason might be taking chances on newcomers. Back when I was with St. Martins, around 2001-2003, they published tons of people but gave them very small advances and small print runs. There was clearly a divide between most authors and the likes of Janet Evanovich.

Barbara Seranella, for example, had just 1500 copies of her first book, No Human Involved, published. Paradoxically, it took off partly because there were so few copies. Collectors sought them out after it got great reviews, and at one point first editions were selling for $500. People would approach Barbara, hand her a pristine book, and say proudly that they had never read it (because it was worth more in an unread condition.) A number of publishers vied for the paperback rights.

Read the interview here.



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Blood Will Tell

Today was Barbara's birthday

My computer helpfully reminded me that today was Barbara Seranella's birthday. It would have been her 51st. I was invited to the big party for her 50th, the one that marked the miracle of her surviving not one but two liver transplants and a lot of complications. I wasn't sure how many people I would actually know, so I didn't go. Now I wish I would have.

I still keep her last email to me from when she was in the hospital waiting for a third liver that never came. The first part talked shop, and then she ended with:

"I sleep most of the time, nestled in my hospital linen and glad that I am not outside in the cold and wind and snow.

Lots of love, B"

Her new book Deadman's Switchcame out this month. I had the privilege of reading the first draft. I have no idea how she wrote that book. Her health was poor, her energy nil. But she did it.

And even planned on it being a series.



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What do you pray for someone who's dead?

I went running today for the first time in several weeks, post-injury and post-surgery. Whenever I run, I send up little prayers. There's a few standing topics on my list: my mom, my writing, and the health of my friend and fellow writer Barbara Seranella. Only the last time I went running, Barbara was alive. And now she's not. It was like there was an empty space, like an empty socket my tongue kept probing.

Toward the end of her life, I didn't know what to pray for her, not really. Healing was starting to seem an impossibility, not after two liver transplants and a near-desperate search to find another surgeon who was willing to attempt a third. I tried to hard to picture her as whole and healthy, not as I had seen her last, yellow and wrinkled and gaunt. It had been a horrible shock, but after five minutes she was Barbara again.

I guess mourning is for ourselves. I think she dwindled into death, a soft passing for someone who lived life to the hilt. Not long before she died, she was happy to learn she had "earned out" on her last book - sold enough books to cover her advance and then some. For me, no Barbara means no one to seek advice from or to bounce ideas off of. Or no one who is her. I'm glad I was able to tell her one big piece of good news that is not quite at fruition yet.

Appreciate your life and the people in it today.



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A horrible loss

Barbara Seranella
Born April 30, 1956
Died January 21, 2007

I just learned that my good friend Barbara Seranella, 50, a bestselling mystery author, died peacefully yeserday at the Cleveland Clinic with her husband Ron and her brother Dr. Larry Shore at her side. She was waiting for a third liver transplant. We were emailing back and forth just ten days ago.

I knew she was really, really sick, and it didn't look good, but if you thought that was the end of the story, you didn't know Barbara. She was the most stubborn person I know. And the most generous. She helped me out when I was nobody and she had no reason to. We toured together. I've stayed at her house. I loved her.

Rest in peace, Barbara.



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For want of a liver

My friend Barbara Seranella had a piece in the LA Times on New Year's Eve about her need for a liver. Please choose to be an organ donor and please tell your family. Even if you die, part of you could save someone's life.



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