Thanks, Lisa, for asking me over today! I am beyond thrilled that , my twenty-fifth novel, released last week. It’s also the ninth Country Store Mystery. For regular readers, rest assured the series continues after this book.
But the topic of this blog isn’t writing. It’s what I would do if I didn’t write murder mysteries for a living.
Um, wow. It’s hard to wrap my head around that. Since I began writing what ended up as back in 1994 when my younger son went off to kindergarten, there is nothing I’ve wanted more than to be a full-time fiction author.
If I weren’t, I wouldn’t have written three series as Edith Maxwell (tentatively beginning a new one now, in fact): the two-book Lauren Rousseau Mysteries, the five-book Local Foods Mysteries, and the seven-book historical Quaker Midwife Mysteries. Five of the books featuring midwife Rose in a late-nineteenth-century mill town have been nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel, and Charity’s Burden won the coveted prize last year.
I also wouldn’t have discovered my Maddie Day Author persona, who apparently has an in with readers. The Country Store Mysteries, featuring Robbie Jordan, chef, carpenter, and bicyclist, and her southern Indiana restaurant Pans ’N Pancakes, are wildly popular. I am under contract through book eleven, plus another Christmas novella, and my editor hinted the series can go on well beyond that. The Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries also sell super well, with Cape Cod bike shop owner Mac Almeida, her goofy parrot Belle, and her book group who only reads cozy mysteries – and helps her solve crimes.
I wouldn’t have gotten letters from readers telling me my book got them through their mother’s day-long surgery or their own hospital stay. And I wouldn’t have stretched my creative muscles, over and over, reaching to use the most eloquent language I can in the service of the story, striving to craft a suspenseful, entertaining, puzzling mystery for readers, delving into my imagination for new character traits and intriguing plots.
All of that means so much to me. This is the best job I’ve ever had, next to being a mother, and I hope it’s my last.
But say, just say, I hadn’t discovered my love of writing fiction. I might be a retired tech writer by now. I might have clean closets and have dealt with the boxes of unsorted photographs in the basement. Maybe I would have taken up the cello again after fifty years or joined a community theater group.
I easily could be volunteering in my town more than I do now, teaching conversational English to immigrants or serving on more committees at my church, Amesbury Friends Meeting (although I have been active with my faith community all along), which is also where midwife Rose worshiped.
If I had grandchildren, I would be spending a lot of time with them, and still hope to after they come along. But for now? I am so happy doing what I’m doing, I’ll put off retirement for a long, long time.
Readers: Are you living your dream? If not, what do you dream to do? I’d love to give away a signed copy of the new book to one of you.
Robbie Jordan’s Pans ’N Pancakes boasts delicious
eats and the best vintage cookware finds in South Lick, Indiana. And now, for a
limited time, there’s a new special featured on the menu—murder!
Ever since meeting the wary owners of an antique shop opening across the street, Robbie has been scrambling to manage weird incidences plaguing her café and country store. Pricey items vanish from shelves without explanation, a fully equipped breakfast food truck starts lingering around the area each morning, and loyal diners mysteriously fall ill. When an elderly man dies after devouring an omelet packed with poisonous mushrooms, Robbie must temporarily close down Pans ’N Pancakes and search for the killer with a real zest for running her out of business—or else.