September 30, 2016

Edith Maxwell - Cozy Mystery Author Spotlight and Interview

I am going to be hosting a number of cozy mystery authors on my blog for the next two months. If you have not had the pleasure of enjoying a cozy mystery I encourage you to do so. The cozy mystery industry as a whole is in danger of being lost as the publishers are ending a number of series. Please note that not all series I will be sharing are in danger. There are many that will be continuting on as normal. I just wanted to do my part to make everyone aware of this genre as a whole. 

Today I will be showcasing Edith Maxwell

Local Foods Mysteries with farmer Cam Flaherty

About this author:
Edith Maxwell has always been a writer. She made her living writing technical documentation in the software industry, wrote features and essays as a free-lance journalist, edited medical texts, and produced several published articles and a doctoral dissertation in the field of linguistics. And before that she wrote fiction and news articles, with her first paid published story appearing at age 9. Creating fiction, long and short, is what makes her happiest (although she wrote a prose poem about her late father that she’s rather proud of).

She is active in Sisters in Crime, serving as the vice-president of the New England chapter, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America. She is also a long-time member of the Society of Friends (Quaker), currently the Clerk of Amesbury Friends Meeting. Her art story was featured in the National Endowment for the Arts 50th anniversary celebration.

As a former organic farmer Edith knows the language and tensions of someone like Cam Flaherty, the farmer in the Local Foods mysteries. Edith lived in southern Indiana for five years and loved the slow pace and language of its natives, so it made sense to set the Country Store Mysteries there. She taught independent childbirth classes and worked as a doula for some years, giving her insight into the life of an historical midwife as portrayed in the Quaker Midwife Mysteries.

She lives in Amesbury, Massachusetts, but is originally a fourth-generation Californian. She has two grown sons, and lives in an antique house with her beau, their three cats, and several fine specimens of garden statuary. **taken from the author's website

Quaker Midwife Mysteries starring Quaker midwife Rose Carroll

Where to follow this author:

Country Store Mysteries featuring chef/carpenter Robbie Jordan (written as Maddie Day)

1. Who or what inspired you to start writing?
I grew up reading the mysteries my mother had lined the shelves of our living room with: Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh.

2. What do you do to help you get over writer's block?
I pick up a notebook and pen, change chairs, and start brainstorming on paper. Something always arises. Plus, my daily exercise is my late-morning brisk walk for an hour. It often becomes a plotting walk - I talk out loud to myself about the story, and once again, the direction the story should go reveals itself. I dictate a quick email to myself on my phone and keep walking! 

3. Do you have scheduled writing time or a certain amount of words you write each day?

Yes, I am working by seven each morning except Sunday, and sometimes earlier. I work all morning. When I'm writing a first draft, I set a goal of 1500 words for the day, and often go over. 

4. How did you choose this genre to write?I was reading cozy authors like Katherine Hall Page, Susan Wittig Albert, and Diane Mott Davidson when I decided to try my hand at writing a mystery, so it made sense to write the kind of book I loved to read.

5. Where do you get your ideas for your books? 
Good question! I have always had an overactive imagination, plus I'm a bit of a voyeur in public - always watching and listening to strangers. Ideas are everywhere.

6. When you are not writing what do you like to do? 
I garden, read, and cook. We like good movies, and I'd get back to quilting if I had time, but that's not in the cards right now. What I don't do is watch television except for rare exceptions like Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey (sniff...).

7. What one piece of advice would you like to give to aspiring writers? 
Keep at it. Write the best book you can, revise and polish and edit until it's better, and then write another one.

8. Who is your favorite author or book that you would like to recommend to your readers? 
I am in awe of both Julia Spencer-Fleming and Louise Penny. Both write rich characters, stories you can't put down, and settings that make you feel like you are there - all in gorgeous language. If I could write like either of them I'd die happy.

9. If you could meet any famous person dead or alive who would it be and why? 
Agatha Christie. She's the Queen of the traditional mystery!

10. If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you like to visit? 
I've traveled widely but never been to Australia and New Zealand. Would love to see that part of the world.

11. Five interesting facts about yourself: 
I hold a long dusty black belt in karate and an even dustier PhD in linguistics. 
I've lived for a year or more in Brazil, Japan, Mali, and Burkina Faso. 
I'm a fourth-generation Californian. 
My first job after getting my BA in linguistics was working full-time at a Mobil gas station in Newport Beach, California.

Lauren Rousseau Mysteries with Quaker linguistics prof Lauren Rousseau (written as Tace Baker)

What did I learn about this author:
She works out problems with her stories on her morning walk and dictates to herself on her phone. Like myself she is a fan of Call the Midwife. Susan Wittig Albert is just one author who inspired her to write mysteries. Lastly that she has lived in a few foreign countries for over a year. What did you learn about her?

Stay tuned for the next author.


  1. This was a great interview -- I really enjoyed it!

  2. Very interesting interview! Thanks for the glimpse of Edith's life and writing process.

  3. great interview...I would love to meet Agatha Christie myself and I just wish I could write at 7 a.m. not morning person...thanks for the contest..