Edith Maxwell writes the Local Foods Mystery series (Kensington Publishing), the Speaking of Mystery series under the pseudonym Tace Baker, featuring Quaker linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau (Barking Rain Press), and the historical Carriagetown Mysteries, as well as award-winning short crime fiction.
A mother, world traveler, and former technical writer, Edith lives north of Boston in an antique house with her beau and three cats. She blogs every weekday with the Wicked Cozy Authors.
Q: Tell us about your latest release ‘TIL DIRT DO US PART.
The produce is local–and so is the crime–when long-simmering tensions lead to murder following a festive dinner on Cam Flaherty’s farm. It’ll take a sleuth who knows the lay of the land to catch this killer. But no one ever said Cam wasn’t willing to get her hands dirty…
Autumn has descended on Westbury, Massachusetts, but the mood at the Farm-to-Table Dinner in Cam’s newly built barn is unseasonably chilly. Local entrepreneur Irene Burr made a lot of enemies with her plan to buy Westbury’s Old Town Hall and replace it with a textile museum–enough enemies to fill out a list of suspects when the wealthy widow turns up dead on a neighboring farm.
Even an amateur detective like Cam can figure out that one of the resident locavores went loco–at least temporarily–and settled a score with Irene. But which one? With the fall harvest upon her, Cam must sift through a bushelful of possible killers that includes Irene’s estranged stepson, her disgruntled auto mechanic, and a fellow CSA subscriber who seems suspiciously happy to have the dead woman out of the way. The closer she gets to weeding out the culprit, the more Cam feels like someone is out to cut her harvest short. But to keep her own body out of the compost pile, she’ll have to wrap this case up quickly.
Q: What led you to write this book?
Because I write about a farmer in New England, I wanted to follow the seasons. I knew I would have rescue chickens as well as mistreated pigs in the story. After we attended a farm-to-table dinner in October at a local farm, I had the opening scene and went from there.
Pretty much. I read non-fiction in the New Yorker, and I recently read Michael Pollan’s Cooked, but because it’s about local foods, it’s almost research! Otherwise it’s the traditional and cozy mystery for me, with an occasional suspense novel or thriller, like the latest from Hallie Ephron or Hank Phillippi Ryan.
Q: Are there any new authors that have grabbed your interest?
New England authors Holly Robinson and Elisabeth Ely both have new books out that I love. My blogmate and dear friend Sherry Harris’ debut mystery, Tagged for Death, will be out in December. I read an early version and loved it.
Q: What books have most influenced your life?
What a question! I read tons of mysteries as a child: From Agatha Christie and Nancy Drew to Conan Doyle and Poe. I have to say that the Diaries of Anais Nin had a big influence on me, as did feminist authors like Simone de Beauvoir. For direct writing influence, Bird by Bird and Writing Down the Bones. And I aspire to write like Julia Spencer-Fleming or Louise Penny.
Q: Have you had an interesting experience in the research of one of your books?
When I was spending time with chickens while writing ‘Til Dirt Do Us Part, I realized how funny they are. They sound goofy, they have personalities, they act in interesting ways. I didn’t expect that.
Q: What is the one question you wish an interviewer would ask you?
“Wouldn’t you like to write an historical novel?” Why yes, how delightful you would ask! I’m closing in on the first draft of Breaking the Silence, which features single Quaker midwife Rose Carroll in 1888 Amesbury, Massachusetts. She delivers the babies of rich and poor alike, lives with her late sister’s family in the house I live in, has as mentor and friend the real John Greenleaf Whittier, and solves mysteries in town. I love writing this book and can’t wait to finish the research, have it edited, and find a publishing home for it.
Q: Which character, from any work of fiction, would you like to be friends with in RL?
I’d love to be friends with Ollie Paras, the White House executive chef in Julie Hyzy’s White House Chef mysteries. I’m an Obama family groupie as well as a foodie, and I’d love to get the inside scoop on the current White House occupants.