The chicken series was in the works when my agent called and suggested I write about olive oil ... he was SURE he could sell it. And if I didn't want the idea, he was going to give it to another author.
So, quickly, knowing very little about olive oil, I did some research and put together a proposal for a three-book, culinary cozy mystery series based on olive oil. And, instead of California where my agent suggested I set the story, I set everything in Georgia, where it turned out a small group of real-life farmers had just begun producing olive oil in the Southeastern US for the first-time ever – I based my premise on that. Then I sent my agent a series synopsis with detailed character and setting descriptions, individual synopses for the three books, a list of similar [successful] books and authors, my bio, and a 50-page sample. My agent submitted the proposal to his favorite editor on a Thursday and the next Tuesday I got the call that we had a deal! This was the same editor who'd pushed the jewelry series "upstairs," however, she didn't know it was me again. She still doesn't as far as I know!
Anyway, that was two years ago.
Since then, my publisher, Penguin, merged with Random House, they fired a ton of editors (mine kept her job), the editorial offices moved, and after submitting my manuscript, I heard NOTHING for more than 6 months (yes, there was a ginormous freak-out on my part – as far as I knew, no one read or remembered the manuscript).
Oh, and the series morphed from "olive oil" to "olive grove," which I prefer.
Next step is a website, kellylanewrites.com, which is in the works. Of course, already I've spent way more to promote KELLY LANE than the little mass market book will ever earn. Still, I'm loving every minute.