Tuesday 28 January 2020

Remembering Lea Wait : Interview with her daughter Ali

Author Lea Wait
 Author Lea Wait's passing last year affected me in a way that is hard to put into words.  I did not have the pleasure of ever meeting Lea but I loved her in her books.  How can a person that you have never met have such a hold on you ?  Well if you have ever read a book by Lea, then you already know.  Actually that happens more than we know....when an author, musician, actor, sports player, etc. that we follow, their death can truly hurt.  Luckily we are able to "keep them alive" in our hearts by re-reading their books, listening to their music, watching their movies.....

I read all of Lea's books (her for adult books) and with Thread and Buried, the 9th book in her Mainely Needlepoint book, her very last book, I wanted to do something special.  So I reached out to her daughter Ali and some other people that knew and loved her.  Below is my talk with Ali and at the end of my thoughts on Thread and Buried you can read what some others had to say about Lea Wait.

How does it feel to be adopted by a well-known, well-loved author ?
It is very humbling to be adopted by a well known and well loved author.I didn’t  think it was a big deal to be adopted by a single parent growing up. My mom was a big executive in the corporate world (35 years) and didn’t start writing until she retired. I never really knew the extent of it and how she impacted so many people until her passing. She has left a legacy with her books and I’m so proud of her.

Have you and your sister's read Lea's books ?
I haven’t read all of her books, but I have read a few. I’m determined to read most, if not all, by the end of this year.

Lea's two series focus on murder (obviously) but also needlepoint (her Mainely Needlepoint Mystery series) and antique prints (her Antique Prints Mystery series), do you or your sister's share these hobbies and interests ?
 I’m honestly not a big murder mystery book reader and I’m definitely not into needlepoint. But, my grandmother had an antique print business when I was growing up that I helped with over the years. Antiques and prints have always been a big part of my younger years, so I’d say that sort of thing does interest me. Although it is not something that is a big part of my life now, it was growing up.
Lea's Antique Print Mystery series talks about a relationship that was long distance with the two characters going in different directions as well as main character Maggie working on adopting a child......there seems that that kind of "shadows" what your mom went through.....What can you tell us about that ?
 Being adopted, along with all of my sisters, was very prevalent in my life. Adoption is something very near and dear to my heart. So it makes sense that my mom would write a book that pertains to that subject, as she had first hand knowledge on it.

What was it like having a mom whose job was being an author ?
 Having a mom that was an author was something I thought was pretty cool. She did so much research and worked so many hours. She traveled and had many speaking engagements as an author and it made me really proud of her. I always knew her as a hard worker but being an author was so different than working a corporate job. And she was very talented and she was well networked. Her work ethic was high and she was very determined. 

Do you or your sisters have the writing gene ?
I can’t speak for my sisters, but I can say for myself, I’m not a writer, I guess I don’t have a writing gene. The only thing I can relate to that is growing up, I was an avid writer of journals. I wrote my life in journals and I also wrote a few poems. I’ve never had anything printed or never thought I’d get anything published like my mom. But, as far as writing goes, journaling was something I did for many years.

How old were you when you were adopted ? Your sisters ?
Lea with 3 out of 4 daughters
My mom had four daughters. I was the second oldest, but I was the first one to be adopted. I was 4 years old when my mom adopted me. I was an only child for a couple years, then she adopted my older sister, then my two younger sisters. So to clarify, I was 4 years old, and all my sisters were 8 years old when they were adopted. I was an only child, then I was the youngest (my older sister and myself) then I was an older sister when my two other sisters were adopted.

Being adopted can be rough/difficult like we see in your mom's last book in her Antique Print Mystery series, Shadows on a Morning in Maine....but add to it being adopted from Thailand, Korea, Hong Kong or India, how was that ?  
What did your mom do to make it special/easier ?
 Well, with my sisters and I all having been adopted from different countries (Thailand, Korea, China and India) my mom used to joke it was the United Nations at the dinner table when were growing up. She made it special by celebrating for all four of us, individually, the day we were/came home/adopted. My mom also made it important for all of us to know all about our native countries. It was very important to my mom that we all knew our background and celebrated where we all were born. Adoption was always a huge part of our upbringing. All four of us knew we were adopted from day one. Although we might not have known all the details, we did for sure know we were all adopted from different countries and embraced it.

In your moms final book, Thread and Buried, before the book begins, in her acknowledgments she writes "with all thanks, joy and no regrets" (yes I read everything and yes I cried) those words speak volumes, like it could be a motto for your family ?
In her acknowledgements when she writes, “with all thanks, joy and no regrets” in her final book, that does seem like a motto for our family. Although it wasn’t always talked about, I know she was thankful and I would like to think she wanted to live her life with no regrets. I believe joy comes from within. The great thing about writing, is you can express yourself on paper when otherwise it’s more difficult to say or put into words when talking. 

Your mom wrote a non-fiction book, Living & Writing on the Coast of Maine and she talks about her relationship with her husband Bob and their journey, her life before becoming an author and raising 4 daughters as a single parent, your mom said she loved every aspect of a writer's life.....does that motivate you to be your best ? Do you feel like you have a lot to lie up to ?
Ali with Lea's husband Bob
 I feel like I do have a lot of firsthand knowledge about her relationship/marriage to her husband Bob. I knew him most of my life and I believe I was the closest to him, then were my sisters, I think she had two different aspects of her life. One was as a single parent, working a high level corporate job. Once her daughters were all grown up with their own families and lives, she had a life as wife and author. I know she loved her life as a writer. She was living her dream. I feel she did the best she could as a single parent and having to work as a corporate executive. Her book, the non-fiction, Living & Writing on the Coast of Maine, reflected her life as an author. I know she loved it. What motivates me about that book was that she was living her life to the fullest. The way she had wanted and what she really had aspired to be.The impact she has made, is something I for sure would want in my life and I know I have a lot to live up to.

Lea being grandma
Your mother mentioned that she is a grandmother and I believe you are a mother yourself, did you read your mother's historicala for young children to your kids ?
 My mom was a grandmother of 8 grandchildren. I am a mother of three. When my kids were younger, I had read a couple of the historicals for young children to them. All of my kids were given autographed copies of my mom’s books for their collections (including myself).

Is there anything you want your moms devoted fans to know about her ?  Anything you want to say ?
Lea and Ali
To my mom’s devoted fans, I just want to personally thank you. So many of you have shown so much support and love through these past months. Without you, I honestly would have never known the impact she had in the writing community, She was a very strong woman, with a great work ethic and she was determined. Although she and I had very different personalities and beliefs, I loved her tremendously. I can’t thank you enough for reading and continuing to purchase her books and give reviews for them. She knew I was proud of her and all of her accomplishments. And I know, if there was at least one person she had impacted, she did her job. Every day, I miss her so very much, but I am so grateful for the outpouring of support. Everyone who knew her, whether in person or through social media, knows what a great person and writer she was. She is greatly missed and I appreciate all new readers, as well as, the ones who have already read all of her books and series. Her devoted fans are what and who help keep continue her legacy in the many years to come.

WOW !!  Thank you Ali for taking the time to talk to me and to share your life with your mom.  She was and always will be one of my favorite authors and I intend to visit her books regularly.  (Living and Writing on the Coast of Maine is in a special spot near me where I read daily so that I can look at it and pick it up whenever I need a boost....that book is very inspiration and I encourage everyone to add it to their books.)

To know more about Lea, please check out her website :  https://www.leawait.com/

1 comment:

  1. Lovely and touching tribute by a fan and a daughter. Thank you!