Friday, April 4, 2014
Guest Post Author Lea Wait
I’d written corporate nonfiction, and nonfiction about adopting (I adopted my four daughters as a single parent) for many years, but I was in my mid-40s when I starting writing fiction. At first I wrote literary short stories, a few of which were published. Then I spent a year or two working on a book-length manuscript that never came together.
Finally, I decided to write a mystery. I hoped the structure of a mystery would help with plotting and keep me going when writing was tough. I wrote a full mystery – but it was rejected by 40 agents.
So I decided to write in a genre I’d always loved: historicals for middle grades (children aged 8-13.)
My first book for young people, Stopping to Home, sold immediately to Simon & Schuster. It was published in 2001, and I started working on Seaward Born (published in 2003).
About that same time I pulled out the mystery manuscript that hadn’t sold, edited it once again, and it was picked up by Scribner, became Shadows at the Fair (2002), and was a finalist for a “best first” mystery” Agatha. Of course, I was thrilled!
The Shadows Antique Print Mystery series revolves around New Jersey antique print dealer and community college professor Maggie Summer who is 38 and wants to adopt an older child. Her beau, Will Brewer, does not want to be a father, and, as the series develops, he takes on the care of his aging Aunt Nettie in Maine. The sixth in that series, Shadows on a Cape Cod Wedding,
My next book, UncertainGlory, which can be pre-ordered on Amazon on BN.com now, is about a (real) fourteen-year-old boy who ran a publishing business on the coast of Maine in the mid-19th century. The book takes places during the first two weeks of the Civil War, and is based on events that took place in Wiscasset, Maine, then. Joe must pay off a debt in two weeks or lose his business. At the same time, he tries to convince his best friend not to enlist, becomes involved in the life of a visiting girl spiritualist, and tries to find a young friend who runs away when he discovers his father won’t be allowed to enlist because of his race.
I’m especially excited about Uncertain Glory. It’s my fifth book to be set in the seaport town of Wiscasset during the nineteenth century.
I’m currently working on the first in a new mystery series, Time’s Tangled Threads, set in Haven Harbor, Maine …. just down the coast from Cabot Cove! It will be published by Kensington in late 2014 or early 2015.
While I was raising my daughters I worked for many years as an AT&T manager. That experience hasn’t become a part of any of my books, but adoption advocacy has. And I’m a fourth generation antique dealer – I’ve dealt in antique prints since 1977 – so there are obvious connections there. I’ve also set many of my books in Maine … a state I’ve known and loved all my life, but a state I didn’t live in year round until 1998.
I’m lucky now to be writing full-time, and married to the long-time love of my life, Bob Thomas, who’s an artist. I’m inspired by him, by our house that was built in 1774, by the lives of my children and grandchildren, and by the history of New England. I’m proud to be identified by many as a Maine author, despite having been born in Boston, and spending many years “away” in New York and New Jersey. Maine has always been the home of my heart.
To find out more about Lea and her books, see www.leawait.com. She also blogs regularly with other Maine mystery authors at www.mainecrimewriters.com and invites readers to friend her on Facebook.