So which projects are you working on right now? I’m polishing the second Local Foods mystery, ‘Til Dirt Do Us Part, which will be out next winter,and thinking about the plot for the following book. I’m designing a historical mystery series set in my town in the late 1800s, with a young Quaker woman who works in the textile mill and solves mysteries. And I’m itching to get back to the second Lauren Rousseau book
by Jessie Crockett
I’m here with a few questions for our own Edith Maxwell. Edith is a busy writer with two series, multiple short stories and a day job. Without further ado, here’s Edith.
So when did you know you wanted to be a writer? I’ve always been a writer. I wrote goofy poems and short stories as a child. I remember my mother telling me, “Edie, you’re a good writer,” when I was in about fourth grade, and I took it to heart. I was in journalism in high school and college, wrote academic papers and a dissertation as part of earning my PhD in linguistics, did more free-lance journalism, and then made my way into a mid-life career as a technical writer even as I was getting my fiction career going by writing short stories and then my mystery novels. But writing mystery fiction is my true love.
Which authors do you look to for inspiration? Oh, my. How much time do we have? I admire Sheila Connolly so much for writing three successful concurrent cozy series. I’ve long been a fan of Katherine Hall Page and Sue Grafton, and more recently have fallen in love with Julia Spencer-Fleming’s, Louise Penny’s, and Deborah Crombie’s books. And of course I will read anything by my mentors Hallie Ephron, Kate Flora, Roberta Islieb (aka Lucy Burdette), Susan Oleksiw, and Hank Phillippi Ryan!
Which events in your work or home life influence your writing? All of it? I write about Quaker Lauren Rousseau, a well-traveled linguistics professor in a small town much like Ipswich where I used to live, where video forensics is used to help solve the murder. I’m a Quaker and world traveler, and formerly wrote technical manuals for a video-editing software company. I write about a geek-turned-organic farmer in a town much like West Newbury, where I was owner-farmer of a small certified organic farm. I’ve written short stories located in hi-tech companies and in Japan.
How are you connected to New England? I have now lived longer in the Boston area and North Shore than I did in my home state of California. I appreciate the seasons, although summer could be a little warmer for my desert tastes, and I love a quiet cross-country ski on a sunny winter day with fresh snow.
What’s your favorite thing about New England? See above about skiing! Coming from southern California sprawl, I am still enchanted with the small towns surrounded by woods and fields. Head north from Boston and you’ll see what I mean.
Like my black belt in karate (1983) or my (slow) finish of the Boston Marathon in 1998? Or maybe my year-long stays in Brazil, Japan (more like two years), France, Mali, and Burkina Faso? Or the fact that I worked as an auto mechanic for a year?
Why cozies? Do you write anything else additionally? I love reading cozies. And having a contract for a cozy series helps! My first mystery, Speaking of Murder (published under the pen name Tace Baker) is a traditional mystery but is a little darker than a cozy. I have written and had published a couple of non-mystery short stories, but traditional and cozy mystery is where my heart lies.
If you were stranded on a desert island, which five literary figures, dead or alive, would you want with you, and what meal would you choose (appetizer, dinner, dessert, drink)? Dorothy Sayers, Nevada Barr, Simone de Beauvoir, Anais Nin, and Barry Eisler. We’ll dine on stuffed mushrooms on bed of greens, a fresh seafood bouillabaise, triple-chocolate mousse, and a fine Cabernet Sauvignon.
Which are the top five books are in your to-be-read pile? I’m currently reading Deb Crombie’s latest, Sound of Broken Glass. Next up, our own Liz Mugavero’s Kneading to Death, then Hallie Ephron’s There Was an Old Woman and Lucy Burdette’s Topped Chef. I want to read Kaye George’s Eine Kleine Murder and James Mongomery Jackson’s Bad Policy, their new releases from Barking Rain Press, catch up on Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy series, read some more Joe Finder and Barry Eisler. So many books, so little time!