Please welcome Lea Wait, author of the Shadows Antique Print series, the Mainely Needlepoint series, and historical novels for young people set in nineteenth century Maine
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
It’s sunny, temperature in the seventies. I spent the morning answering questions from my editors and agents, writing a blog, and reading my latest five star reviews. Then I had lunch with my husband (who’d just finished a brilliant painting) on our porch overlooking the river.
After lunch I wrote ten pages on my work in progress, Skyped with two of my grandchildren for half an hour, and shared wine, Italian bread, olive oils, and a selection of local cheeses with my husband. We sipped and nibbled and talked until the sun set …. and then we drew the curtains.
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase/expression or meal?
My favorite phrase is, “Keep Your Options Open.” And I love hors d’oeuvres of all sorts … and cheese fondue.
Which books/authors inspired or influenced you the most?
As a child I re-read Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House series dozens of times … and, like Jo, as an adult I became a writer and adopted four older children. Talk about influence!
Do you listen to music when you write?
No. I listen to the words I’m writing and their rhythm.
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be, and why?
French chocolate. After a piece of medieval needlepoint is found under the eaves of a Maine attic, Thread and Gone tells the story of the attempted rescue of needlepointer Queen Marie Antoinette.
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
The house I live in. In the late eighteenth century it was owned by Captain Stephen Clough, who was said to have tried to rescue Marie Antoinette from the Bastille.
What themes do you regularly (re) visit in your writing?
The importance of family, and of discovering one’s purpose and place in the world.
Tell us about your main character.
Angie Curtis grew up in Haven Harbor, a small seaport village in Maine. She had no father, and her mother was labeled the town slut. When Angie was ten her mother disappeared and her grandmother brought her up. She had a rocky adolescence, and headed west after high school, ending up in Arizona, where she worked for a private investigator. The series begins (in Twisted Threads) when she is twenty-seven. Her grandmother leaves her the message, “It’s time to come home, Angie. They’ve found your mother.” Back in Maine, Angie has to confront her past, and the place where she grew up, and come to terms with them both.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay in Law & Order SVU,) + Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury in Murder, She Wrote) + Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.
If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Emily Dickinson (who was a mystery,) Ian Rankin (because I love men in kilts,)
Louise Penny (because she and her writing are fabulous,) and fellow Maine mystery writers Kate Flora, Barbara Ross and Kathy Lynn Emerson, because it sounds like a great party, and I want to share it with my friends!
What’s next for you?
The 8th in my Shadows Antique Print Mystery series (Shadows on a Morning in Maine) will be published in September; the fourth in my Mainely Needlepoint series (Dangling by a Thread) in November. In the meantime, I’m writing the 5th in the Needlepoint series, researching a possible new (historical) mystery series, and doing some new work for young people. Stay tuned!
Maine author Lea Wait writes the Shadows Antique Print series, the Mainely Needlepoint series, and historical novels for young people set in nineteenth century Maine. She’s also written a memoir about her life as a Maine author: Living and Writing on the Coast of Maine. Her latest mystery, published this month, is Thread and Gone. As a single parent, Lea adopted four girls (ages 5-10) born in Asia. She is now married to artist Bob Thomas.