Thursday, August 26, 2021

Guest Post - Edith Maxwell / Maddie Day

Catriona writes: It's my absolute pleasure today to welcome Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day) back to Criminal Minds, to celebrate the publication of her 25th novel - three cheers (x five) - and ninth book in a culinary cozy series, NO GRATER CRIME. Ha! Also the author of the Quaker midwife historicals, and herself a Quaker although not a midwife, who writes the comic Book Group capers besides, Edith is one of those people - her garden bursts with produce, her kitchen bursts with the ensuing deliciousness, her work ethic is legend, and she has great hair. I often wake up at 6am on the west coast and think "I bet Edith has written three chapters and pruned a yew hedge aready".

I will be in the comments later, asking about the tonnage of creative work and chores Edith has accomplished today. But for now . . .

Maddie Day writes:

Thank you, Catriona, for inviting me over. As usual, the question of which book had a profound effect on me knocks me nearly senseless. I always have such a hard time answering that. And I know I can’t pick just one.

I was a clueless older teenager but (very) eager to learn. Should my answer be the Masters & Johnson for Dummies (not the real title) I had to whip under my economics book while I was supposed be studying in our public library and my father walked in? Or the first volume of Anais Nin’s diary, both of which set up this double Scorpio for a life of hedonism?

Oh, wait, this is a writers’ blog. You don’t want to hear about my wild and wicked past. Even if you do, these older-lady lips are sealed.

Was it my mother’s volumes of Poe and Conan Doyle I read at age nine, which gave me nightmares but didn’t prevent me from going back for more? (I would lie paralyzed in my bed after the light went out, staring at the ceiling, knowing the speckled band was on its way down to get me…)

Maybe you mean my first Nancy Drew, my set of Cherry Ames Student Nurse (and amateur sleuth) mysteries, my first Agatha Christie (also my mother’s).

I have said many times that when I discovered Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky in the late eighties and nineties, when I devoured Katherine Hall Page and Susan Wittig Albert and Diane Mott Davidson, I knew I’d found my people. These were (and are) women writing about female protagonists from their point of view. In their books, I didn’t have to keep hearing men talking about women’s boobs and legs and skirts, even if fictionally.

Sara after the Second Line during the 2016 New Orleans Bouchercon

So when I began writing novels myself in the mid-nineties, I had the most amazing of role models. I went the cozy culinary (and sometimes historical) route rather than the tough lady PI path (although I might have a pair of historical lady PIs teeing up in the wings). It has been my great honor to have met Grafton (sniff) and Paretsky and Hall and been able to tell them of their influence on my career.

Since then, other books have proved influential, including anything Julia Spencer-Fleming writes. Louise Penny jumps in, too, although I can’t bring myself to head-hop. And may I just say, Catriona, you really did it with A Gingerbread House. [You may, CMcP] As I was reading, I kept saying to myself (out loud, actually), “Catriona!” and “Whoa, Catriona.” I don’t know how to write dark and creepy nor how to weave stories like you do – but I aspire to.

No Grater Crime is my twenty-fifth novel and the ninth Country Store Mystery. It features a female amateur sleuth and, yes, recipes in the back. So I’ve definitely channeled those role models, those goddesses.

Readers: Which of the books/authors that influenced me rings a bell with you? Any other Anais Nin fans out there? I’d love to send a commenter a signed copy of the new book.

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 cafĂ© 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.  

Maddie Day pens the bestselling Country Store Mysteries and Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. As Edith Maxwell, she writes the Agatha Award-winning Quaker Midwife Mysteries and short crime fiction. She’s a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime and lives north of Boston with her beau and crazy teenage cat, Ganesh. Find her (and Maddie) at her web site, at Wicked Authors, at Mystery Lovers Kitchen on the second and fourth Fridays, and on social media under both names: Edith M. Maxwell and Maddie Day Author.


Dru Ann said...

Great to hear about books that influenced you. Don't enter me as I just finished this book and loved it.

Catriona McPherson said...

Don't enter me either, Edith. But do tell me what you've done today when it's seven o'clock in California! And congratulations on the book. Cx

Edith Maxwell said...

"Great hair" - oh my! Thank you, dear Catriona.

I'm working on a challenging thing, but have managed to write about 1000 words since seven my time, plus hang a load of laundry on the line, push out a couple other blog posts, approve comments for my guest on the Wicked Authors (Sheila Connolly's daughter Julie Williams!), and learn my book is a Women's World Magazine book club pick! Now back to the challenging and slow-going manuscript (sigh).

Ann Mason said...

Kudos Edith, on number 25! And yes, another Anais Nin groupie here.

Laurie said...

The only ones that ring a bell with me is Nancy Drew written by the numerous authors under the pseudonym of Carolyn Keene and at the urging of Daryl Wood Gerber, I read And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie.
I do think you are a marvelous author. I can't wJt to get hooked on another of your series since The Midwife has concluded.

Susan C Shea said...

Anais Nin, oh yes. Her writing cast such a spell on me at the time (when, sigh, I was much younger). And I didn't think to salute that group of women crime writers in my post on Monday whose collective achievements made the possibility of writing my own female protagonist seem possible. Thanks for a great post.

Edith Maxwell said...

Glad to find fellow Nin fans, Ann and Susan!

Laurie, I hope you love my other books, too.

And thanks, Dru! It was a hard question.

James W. Ziskin said...

Great post, Edith! Congratulations on your twenty-fifth!


Edith Maxwell said...

Thanks so much, Jim.

Amy Pershing said...

May I just say that on top of writing her 1000 words and trimming her yew bushes (or whatever), Edith also finds time to encourage newbies to the book writin' trade like me. And I will be forever grateful.