An Interview With Edith Maxwell
by Pamela James
MM2: Edith, give us a little backstory on how your writing career began?
E: First, thanks so much for having me to visit, and I loved these interview questions.
I've been writing all my life, but I began writing crime fiction twenty years ago and had several short stories published in juried anthologies. After I was laid off a job at the end of 2008, I began writing mystery novels in earnest.
MM2: Tell us about your writing schedule?
E: Since I've been a full-time fiction writer for two years now, I'm at my desk usually by six every morning, and working by seven. I'm part of Ramona Defelice Long's virtual sprint club. A bunch of us check in with her just before seven on Facebook, and then we all work furiously with no interruptions for an hour. I continue that for myself the rest of the morning until I meet my daily word count (1500 words) or run out of creativity.
MM2: What is the best part of writing a series?
E: I don't have to make up a new world with every book, and I get to visit with some of the continuing characters who, despite the fact that I made them up, I like!
MM2: Let's talk about your latest books and soon to be released books?
E: Farmed and Dangerous just came out, the third Local Foods mystery. In this one, there's a murder at the assisted living residence where farmer Cam's dear great uncle Albert lives - and the death came after the victim ate Cam's produce.
My next book out, written as Maddie Day, is Flipped for Murder, which is set in scenic southern Indiana in Robbie Jordan's new breakfast-and-lunch country store, Pans 'N Pancakes, which also stocks vintage cookware. Look for that in late October. Both those books are from Kensington Publishing.
And next April Delivering the Truth, my first Quaker Midwife mystery, releases from Midnight Ink. It's an 1888 series with Rose Carroll solving crimes in my town in northeastern Massachusetts. So yeah, I'm busy!
MM2: What writing advice do you have for mystery writers that want to embark on series writing?
E: Butt in the chair, fingers on the keyboard, and then create a world and characters you'll want to spend time with for the next five years. Or, with luck, even longer.
MM2: Do you ever re-read a series?
E: Not really.
E: I'm in an excellent in-person critique group on Monday nights. I'm also one of the six Wicked Cozy Authors. We not only blog every weekday, we are also each other's lifeboats and a mutual support team. Come join us in our conversations on the blog.
MM2: What come first the setting, character or plot?
E: For the series, the setting and character are linked. For each book, since I already have my setting and protagonist, it's the plot. But that can change as I'm writing it, so I guess it's character. I follow them around and write down what they do, and I'm often surprised.
MM2: When not writing how do you decompress?
E: Half the year I have an organic vegetable garden out back plus blueberries, asparagus, and flowers that I tend. I like to sit on the deck (or on the couch in the winter) with a glass of wine and good cozy mystery. I don't watch any television except for the rare BBC show like Downton Abbey or Call the Midwife.
MM2: Leave us with some words of wisdom from one of your characters?
E: Cam Flaherty might say that even hardened introverts can learn to schmooze. She discovered the hard way that farming is as much chatting up the loyal customers as it is growing produce.
MM2: Lastly please leave us with your website address. If you have a blog we would love to have that address.
E: Please stop by www.edithmaxwell.com, where you can find information about all my series and award-winning short stories (one was nominated for an Agatha Award this year). And the Wicked Cozy Authors blog, too, as well as Killer Characters on the third of each month (starting in July).