|Publisher's note: Following is the Foreword that is included in the upcoming novel Lethal Care, the final book in Claire McNab's celebrated Carol Ashton Mystery Series, to be released in December of 2017.|
You ask: why is the name Katherine V. Forrest on this book? When Claire McNab, all by herself, is the internationally published author of the Carol Ashton and Kylie Kendall mystery series, the Denise Cleaver espionage series, numerous romantic novels, an assortment of plays and short stories—forty or so books all told. When, under the name Claire Carmichael, she has written even more books: she is one of Australia’s well known children’s writers. Many of you won’t know that in her spare time she taught an advanced fiction class for two decades at UCLA extension, an instructor so celebrated that she was named Teacher of the Year and given the Distinguished Instructor Award by that huge institution.
So why am I a co-writer on this book?
That answer first took shape in 2008 when Claire received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. A diagnosis she dealt with in her usual fashion, continuing her writing and teaching careers undeterred. Until Parkinson’s began to increase its grip in 2012 as she began work on what would be the final book in her most celebrated series. Today Claire is no less brilliant, no less accomplished, funny, and determined than she ever was, but the cruelty of this disease no longer allows her physical body to obey the commands of her brain.
During my years at the legendary Naiad Press, I was Claire’s editor on Lessons in Murder, the first Carol Ashton mystery in a series that would go on to form part of the foundation of our lesbian genre literature. I’ve edited a number of Claire’s books in the years since, and saw about 35000 words of Lethal Care shortly after she began work on it. But nothing had come in since, and I assumed she was too involved in her career at UCLA and other writing projects.
I didn’t catch up with Claire again until a rush visit to her in the intensive care unit at UCLA Medical Center in late July 2016. In critical condition, she required emergency surgery due to complications of Parkinson’s. She came through that surgery but still another surgical procedure followed, and after that, many months in a rehabilitation facility. It is a tribute to Claire’s heart and soul and will that she is even with us today. It was during this time that she agreed that I would work with her to complete the final book in the series most meaningful to her. I am happy to report that she is home today with her Sheila, and has continued daily involvement in the writing of this book.
The seventeen Carol Ashton books not only form the centerpiece of Claire’s writing career, they encompass three decades of Claire’s life as she gave us her highly entertaining and popular stories, her vivid images of the remarkable topography of Australia and life and death Down Under, all mixed into her ingenious plots.
It has been a privilege and an honor to work so closely with the remarkable woman who is Claire McNab on this final book in her equally remarkable, and most beloved series.
Katherine V. Forrest
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