Wednesday, August 1, 2012



Liv Bergen Mystery Series…

Unbelievable! Two years ago in September 2010, the first in the Liv Bergen Mystery Series, In The Belly Of Jonah, was released and now I have the third book releasing August 7, 2012. Widow’s Might makes this series a trilogy. What a rush! But there’s so much more to come.

When I started writing back in 1995, I dreamed someday I might get published, but that was before I understood how difficult a journey that really would be. I didn’t know the numbers. Before the recent ebook craze, numbers cited were that only 1 out of every 1000 books written are ever published and only 7% of those published ever sell more than 2,000 books. If I’d known then what I know now, maybe I wouldn’t have tried so hard to write the best book I could, to find the right agent and the perfect publisher for my series. 

Instead, the ever-growing stack of rejection letters to my query – that elusive one-page animal that makes or breaks a writer – fueled me to write and edit and write some more, searching for the best product to attract the eye of an eager agent or a desirous publisher. I didn’t know the odds were so incredibly stacked against me so I just kept writing. Ten novels later and a couple of tries at screenplays, I sat down and wrote In The Belly Of Jonah in four weekends, from start to finish. For me, I finally ignored everything I learned in the 14 years of writing and studying the industry and told myself to just write a good story, an ‘unputdownable’ as one of the reviewers called it. 

And although I may have dreamed of publishing a book someday, I admit that I never imagined winning the September 2010 Indie NextList Notable for my debut, nor did I ever dream the cover would be named best cover of the year. And the most amazing outcome was having such a wide connection with fans of mysteries and thrillers across this country. My ideal reader for In The Belly Of Jonah was someone simple like me who liked a good puzzle to solve yet preferred the fast pace of thrillers. And the Liv Bergen Mystery series was born. The print run was sold out within the first month, a debut novel in a series by an unknown author from South Dakota. I was in total shock and continued to stay in that state by the number of reviews and emails from fans who continuously sought me out to thank me and tell me how much they enjoyed my books. I’m tempted to ask, ‘Did my mother email you or something?’ because it’s all so surreal to me. As a South Dakotan who constantly asks people I meet their names, in case we’re related or we know people who are related, the world at that point just became a whole lot bigger. I received emails from Israel and Thailand, from Australia and the United Kingdom. I even received an email of the patent holder of the curious weapon I used for In The Belly Of Jonah asking me to have lunch with him someday. Unreal! 

A year later just before the second in the Liv Bergen Mystery was released, my husband so helpfully tells me, ‘You know, the second book has to be even better than the first or people will stop reading the series.’ No pressure there. He was right of course. But again, I was lucky that fans enjoyed Lot’s Return To Sodom the summer of 2011, a book that takes the reader to the seedier interworking of motorcycles gangs attending the infamous Sturgis Rally, with the ebook version reaching a top 50 list on Amazon for the year with women’s mysteries. Crazy, considering just how many choices readers have on the ebook list for that site. 

And this year as the third in the series, Widow’s Might, releases August 7, 2012, I anxiously wait to hear and read how people perceive Liv Bergen’s journey, as miner and sleuth, and hope to find mystery lovers enjoying a story that takes our protagonist and Special Agent Streeter Pierce on a journey to understand history and how the Black Hills were settled to catch the elusive Crooked Man. And who can resist finding out why someone would be sneaking into a hospice facility to kill an octogenarian who is dying of cancer? I hope you can’t. 

As for book clubs, I have enjoyed going around this country to book signings and conferences, speaking about the series, but I find book clubs the most fun because the people are so in to their books! I love when I’m asked tough questions and have fun no matter where I go. I attend as many as I can in person, but love attending telephonically or via Skype for all you advanced techies who know what that is so just let me know if you want me to join in. My email address is or feel free to send me a message on my FaceBook page at ‘Sandra Brannan, Author’. 

I really do enjoy book clubs and have a great time with them and keep getting asked back, so that should tell you I don’t get sloppy drunk or gorge myself on all your snacks. But I have been known to hijack book clubs. In fact, one night a book club was talking about In The Belly Of Jonah and one of the members saw me at a library event and asked me to surprise their club by knocking on their window that night. Yes, I snuck up on the porch. Yes, I did press myself against the picture window. And yes, there were screams. And yes, I did get lucky and wasn’t shot, tazed, or arrested. But in the end it was quite fun! Actually, they were my beta readers for Widow’s Might. I choose a book club each book to read in advance of me sending the book to the publisher as my beta readers. Call me if you want to get on that list!

Keep your nose to the limestone and thanks for choosing Liv!

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