Interview with mystery novelist Lea Wait

novelist Lea Wait is helping me wrap up
the week by chatting with me about her new cozy novel, Thread Herrings, A Mainely Needlepointer Mystery.
Lea Wait lives on the
coast of Maine. A fourth generation antique dealer, and author of the
Agatha-nominated Shadows Antique Print mystery series, she loves all things
antiques and Maine, and she’s learning to do needlepoint. She also writes
historical novels for young people set in (where else?) nineteenth-century
Maine. Find her at Facebook, Goodreads, and her website.
Please tell us about your current
Tagging along
to an estate sale with her fellow Needlepointer, antiques shop owner Sarah
Byrne, Angie Curtis impulsively bids on a tattered embroidery of a coat of
arms. When she gets her prize back home to Haven Harbor, she discovers a
document from 1757 behind the framed needlework—a claim for a child from a
foundling hospital. Intrigued, Angie is determined to find the common thread
between the child and the coat of arms.
Accepting her
reporter friend Clem Walker’s invitation to talk about her find on the local TV
news, Angie makes an appeal to anyone who might have information. Instead, both
women receive death threats. When Clem is found strangled in a parking lot,
Angie fears her own life may be in jeopardy. She has to unravel this historical
mystery—or she may be the next one going, going… gone…
What inspired you to write this book?
I’m a
fourth-generation antique dealer, so it makes sense that Angie Curtis, my
protagonist, has a close friend, Sarah, who’s both a needlepointer and an
antiques dealer, and that Sarah would take Angie with her to an auction. Angie
can’t resist bidding on a piece of 18th century needlepoint … and
then wants to learn more about it. And so the mystery begins.
Excerpt from Murder in Maine:
I’d parked
near Sarah’s shop and apartment. This time of day she’d be sorting and pricing
items for her shop, or studying recent prices for antiques. I decided to stop
and see her.
I was two
stores away from her door when my phone rang. I pulled it out quickly. Clem?
But it wasn’t
Clem. It was Pete.
“Angie, are
you still downtown? You were waiting for your friend Clem Walker twenty minutes
“I just left
the Harbor Haunts,” I answered. “Why?”
His voice was
steady. “Sorry to have to break it to you this way, but Clem won’t be meeting
you for lunch.”
I stopped
walking. I didn’t feel cold or hot, despite the wind whirling fallen snow
around me. “What’s happened?”
“We had a
call from someone else who had lunch at the Harbor Haunts. Clem had parked next
to them at the town wharf.” He paused. “She never got out of her car.”
“She’s dead,
I stood in
the snow. My mind went blank. “No!” Not Clem. I’d coped with death before. Even
murders. But none of the victims had been my friends. “When? How?”
What exciting story are you working on
Most small
towns include a few characters who, because of intellectual disabilities or
mental health issues, are accepted by the town, and play a role in it, but
basically live their lives in parallel with others. Ike Hamilton has lived in
Haven Harbor all of his life, where now he lives on disability payments and
collecting bottles for deposits. So why would anyone want to kill him? And who
is the teenaged boy who Ike had been watching out for? Thread on Arrival will be published in May of 2019.
When did you first consider yourself a
Since I
learned to read, I’ve wanted to be an author. In college I wrote poetry and
plays, and my first post-college job was as a corporate executive speech
writer. I supported myself doing corporate writing and writing about adoption
(I adopted four older girls as a single parent and was an adoption advocate)
while I raised my family.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I’ve been a
full-time writer for twenty years now, although I continued my antiques
business for the first ten of those years. Thread
is my twenty-fifth published book; I write three mystery series
for adults and historical novels for young people.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I only use
one pen – a Bic GripRoller Fine. I buy them by the box, and always use them to
sign my books.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
A writer, of
course. Also a marine biologist, president of the United States, and an
archaeologist. Three of those four occupations didn’t work out, but are still
interests of mine.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
When I was
single I was an adoption advocate and adopted four daughters. Now I write
mysteries and historical novels about people searching for love, acceptance,
and a place to call home.
Thanks for being here today, Lea.

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