I’ve posted before about the end of the Five Star Mystery Line, but it seems there’s more to say. When something comes to an end, I tend to say, “Okay, I’m done with that,” and move on. I often think I’ll have trouble letting go, but in the end I don’t. It’s something in my DNA. And yet I do have trouble thinking I’ll never write or publish another novel featuring Anita Ray. But that’s not the lingering question.
When I began writing the Anita Ray stories, I created a character who emerged in part in relation to her scatty Auntie Meena and the other denizens of Hotel Delite. The stories were about the world of this hotel as well as the main characters. Anita and her Auntie remained static in the sense that they didn’t really age. In each book, Anita might be a month older, or even younger. It didn’t matter. The only concrete comment about her age was that she was closer to thirty than twenty and she was still unmarried. Unmarried! At her age. A scandal. And a gnawing shame for Auntie Meena. That was the premise at the beginning. But now?
With the prospect of working on a series set adrift from any official publisher, I seem to find specific aspects of the set-up also drifting. I could continue the series by heading in a different direction. Anita could marry and move into the hillside. I fell in love with Munnar and tea plantations on an earlier visit, and I can easily imagine Anita living there. Or, she could return to the United States to visit her parents. (This is the opportunity that least appeals to me, but I mention it to be complete.) Or perhaps she opens a gallery in Trivandrum and lives there, away from Hotel Delite. But I’d miss Auntie Meena and Ravi and Moonu and all the others.
I’m thinking about this now because today I had lunch with four other women and we talked aboutIndia and our travels. One woman had lived in Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan, parts of Africa, as well as the US. One grew up in Northern India. The lunch was special for another reason. One cooked an amazingly delicious lunch of Indian dishes, another brought copies of CDs of her son’s music (he plays the sitar), the hostess shared her home and a couple of books, another brought a book on knitting and a dessert of fresh fruit, and I brought the four Anita Ray books to give away.
I love writing the Anita Ray books, and I love exploring ideas for them even more. As I type this I can feel possible scenarios developing. I enjoy having her four novels out there in the world, and a few more short stories scheduled to appear soon. For now that will have to be enough. But I know I’ll figure out something and Anita Ray will continue to have adventures and solve crimes.
To find the Anita Ray mysteries, go here.