I recently met up with author Edith Maxwell in Pittsfield, MA. We had breakfast at a busy little breakfast and deli, Otto's, and chatted.
Edith is the author of 4 cozy mystery series:
Local Foods Mysteries which has 4 books in the series so far with the latest Farmed and Dangerous on the shelves.
The Quaker Midwife Mysteries series, her historical series, will debut in 2016 with the first book, Delivering the Truth.
The Lauren Rousseau Mysteries series, written under her pen name Tace Baker, has 2 books in the series.
And finally written under another pen name, Maddie Day, is her Country Store Mysteries.
Although she is busy writing and a member of certain groups such as Sisters in Crime which is what brought her to Pittsfield, she made time to sit down and answers some questions. I had my own questions I wanted answered but I started with some questions from her devoted fans.
Marilyn Watson asked "In the layout of the book, do you always try to have a character that is unlikeable as well as ones to like ?"
Edith's respond "I set up a few suspects so that there is always someone to dislike."
Rosemary Pfeiffer asked "If you weren't a writer, what would you be ?"
Edith "I had several careers before this one. I wrote software manuals, taught childbirth classes, and did farming, so I might be doing any one of those still."
Rosemary also asked "What is your favorite book that you wrote and why ?"
Edith "Well, that's like asking who is your favorite child. That said, I'm really excited about Delivering the Truth, the first Quaker Midwife Mystery coming out in April."
Abby Fabian asked "When did you know that you wanted to be a writer ?"
Edith "I wrote fiction as a child. I wrote a short story for the newspaper and won the contest and received a prize at age 11. Then I wrote academically and as a free-lance journalist. I have always read cozy mysteries so it just seemed natural to write them, which I started in 1994."
And she also asked "Are you one of those people that come up with the character and guide them, or do they just come into being in your head and guide you ?"
Edith "I let them guide me and sometimes they even surprise me."
Jen Scott asked "Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book ?"
Edith "That would be Flipped for Murder and Robbie Jordan is the main character, but I don't know who should play her. I'll let the readers help: Can you find me an actress with brown eyes in her twenties? Someone who isn't too slim, who might have long dark curly hair? Thanks!
Jen also asked "What advice would you give to your younger self ?"
Edith "I would tell myself to keep writing fiction, don't take a 30 year break."
Pearl R. Meaker wants to know "Are you an intuitive plotter or an outlining planner ?"
Edith "I prefer to write into the headlights. However, I have to write a synopsis for me editor, so I do, but that can change. I am kind of a hybrid author now."
Sue Farrell wanted to know "Will there be any new Lauren Rousseau mysteries any time soon ?"
Edith "Lauren is taking a break. We may or may not see her again, its in the air at this time."
And lastly Angela Chestnut asked " Why do you write mysteries ?"
Edith "It is what I like to read, and I like creating a puzzle and putting it together, making it all work."
And to get to know Edith Maxwell a little more I asked her some of my own questions.
How long does it take to write a book ?
Writing is my full-time job now. I'm not retired but I travel a lot. A first draft can take me about 2 months to write, and then I devote another month or to for revision and polishing
Why do you write under 3 different names ? How to do you balance them ?
The publisher requires the pen names. But I link the names and books when I'm promoting and on my website. I focus on one series book at a time.
Do you have a writing schedule ?
As stated earlier, writing is my full time job. I am up and writing by 7:00 am, write until 11:00 or so then I go for a "plotting walk". Afternoons I do business work, computer work, promotional work. Evenings and Sunday are off times.
What do you like to do when not writing ?
I like to cook, garden, do crosswords, watch movies and read.
Do you read ? If so, what kinds or books do you read ? Favorite author ?
Yes, I like to read cozies.
There are so many great New England crime writers. Lucy Burdette, Kate Flora, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Hallie Ephron, and Julia Spencer-Fleming, as well as all the Wicked Cozy Authors (wickedcozyauthors.com), with whom I blog every weekday. "If I could write like Julia, I'd die happy."
What book are you reading now ?
I just finished Sheila Connolly's "A Gala Event" and am in the middle of Lori Rader-Day's "Little Pretty Things." Sadie Hartwell's "Yarned and Dangerous" is next.
What "technology" do you use for writing ?
I use Scrivener, its a writing tool for writers and its fabulous.
What inspires you ?
Everything inspires me, my imagination, stories I read or hear. I'm also so inspired by readers who tell me they love my books. It makes me want to write more!
Does your family read your books ?
Both of my sons read my books, and my sisters do, too
When and why did you begin writing ?
My now-ex-husband suggested it when my younger son went to kindergarten and I had my mornings free. I started writing what ended up as "A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die" (Local Foods Mystery #1) at that time
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider your mentor ?
Hallie Ephron. She's always been generous with advice and help.
Out of the three author names you write under do you have a favorite ? If so, why ?
Edith Maxwell. It's my actual name and the others are pseudonyms.
What question do you wish someone would ask you about your books that nobody has ?
Nobody ever asks how I get writing through the middle of a book. Sometimes it is hard to get my arms around it. I have to put the beginning and the ending together and be fair to the reader.
I was very excited to sit down with Edith especially after having read Flipped For Murder. If you are anything like me, which if you are following this Blog, you probably are, you truly get into the book. As you read the book, you feel like you are a part of the town, you can see everything, hear everything and even smell what the author is writing. And when you finish the book and put it on the shelf or in a box, the story and the people stay with you for a while, like you don't want to leave the town or forget it all.
I highly recommend reading any of Edith Maxwell's book. She has an amazing talent, is a super awesome person, and she made my first official interview go so smoothly. This is not to say that I wasn't nervous waiting for her at the restaurant. To me authors are MY celebrities....to read a book and then to be able to talk to the person who wrote it is an awesome feeling.
This was just the beginning for me and for you as well...... I am working on my next interview, Author Spotlight and Giveaway..... Susannah Hardy !! And I even have the autographed book, Olive and Let Die, A Greek To Me Mystery, for the giveaway. To be eligible to WIN the book, you have to submit a question that you would like me to ask Susannah when we chat. Ask a question and your name goes into the drawing......it's that easy !!!!
Speaking of drawings, contests, autographed books anfd winning......
The winner of Flipped for Murder by Maddie Day (a.k.a. Edith Maxwell) is ABBY FABIAN !!! Congrats Abby !!!!
I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did !