Friday, August 19, 2011

Where Are They Now? The Literary Edition

One of my favorite VH1 shows is Where Are They Now?, a show about musical artists with promising careers who, for some reason or another, fell out of the spotlight. There are quite a few authors whose work I've enjoyed in the past, but at some point, they stopped writing, or at least they stopped getting published. So I've done a little digging to find out, 'where are they now?'

The Mali Anderson mysteries by Grace F. Edwards is one of my favorite series. With the first book, If I Should Die, published in 1997, I was hooked. Through Edwards' writing readers were introduced to former cop, Mali Anderson, her jazz loving father and the nephew she's raising, Alvin. As the characters on The Wire would say, Mali is "real police," even though she's no longer on the job. Four books into the series, it ended in 2000 and in 2003 Edwards wrote a stand alone book called The Viaduct, another thriller, but this time from the point of view of a male Vietnam vet. So where is she now? In addition to teaching fiction at a New York university, she recently served as secretary for the Harlem Writers Guild. She also published a new book earlier this year called The Blind Alley with no fanfare. I had no idea that she was still writing until I started researching her.

With So Good, All of Me and Colored Sugar Water, Venise Berry was one of my favorite authors in the late 90s going into 2001. Though she has authored a few non-fiction works since then, and was scheduled to release new work in 2008, it seems that it never materialized. We can only wish that we'll have a chance read it some day. In the meantime, Berry is an associate professor at the University of Iowa.

Barbara Neely's Blanche series combines detective work and common sense in the form of Blanche White. A domestic worker by day, Blanche keeps her ear to the ground and her eyes open to what's going on around her. Between 1992 and 2000, Neely published four books in the series. Where is Neely now? An award winning activist for women's rights and economic justice, Neely continues to write short stories and hosts a radio interview program Sunday nights in Massachusetts.

I have a lengthy lists of authors that I'll be featuring throughout the rest of the year, but what author's works do you miss? Who has you wondering what happened to their promising career?



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