Conducting author interviews-- even small ones like mine-- are not only fun, I meet a lot of nice people, and learn so many things, too. This week's featured author had me doing yet another happy dance. (One of these days, my luck is going to run out and Denis will get me on video.) Not only do Lea Wait and I share some favorite childhood reading, but her favorite recurring crime fiction character made me smile so hard my face almost split. And that's just the tip of the iceberg on a very interesting interview.
Most authors don't include a little blurb about themselves along with the answers to my questions, but Lea did, and it was such a big help that I'm going to use it here, word for word:
"Lea Wait is the author of the 7-book Shadows Antique Print mystery series, the most recent of which is Shadows on a Maine Christmas, the 2-book Mainely Needlepoint series, the most recent of which is Threads of Evidence, and historical novels set in 19th century Maine. She lives with her husband, artist Bob Thomas, on the coast of Maine, and invites readers to find out more about her and her books on her website, and to friend her on Facebook and Goodreads. Her next book, Thread and Gone, will be published in late December of this year."
Now that you've learned a tiny bit about her and know how to connect with her, it's time to discover even more. Let's get to the interview!
What was the very first book you remember reading and loving? What makes the book so special?
Thornton Burgess’ Chatterer the Red Squirrel. I went on to read almost all of his books and loved the stories about the animals’ world. I still think of Sammy Jay as the policeman, as I watch birds on my bird feeder!
[I love Thornton Burgess' books and think that any parent that has a child who loves animals should get these books. They're available from Dover Publications.]
Outside of your writing and all associated commitments, what do you like to do in your free time?
I go to a lot of art gallery openings and art museums, because my husband is an artist. I enjoy seeing the world through others’ eyes, whether through books or paintings. I also love to row, talk to my grandchildren on Skype, and read – books, magazines – all sorts of things. I’m also addicted to CNN.
If I were to visit your hometown, where would you recommend that I go? (I like seeing and doing things that aren’t in all the guide books.)
[As a teenager I helped my mother and grandmother record all the burials in small forgotten country cemeteries. It meant dodging a lot of poison ivy and poison oak!]
You have total control over casting a movie based on your life. Which actor would you cast as you?
For the early me … Amanda Seyfried. Today … Diane Keaton.
Who is your favorite recurring character n crime fiction?
Ruth Zardo, the poet in Louise Penny’s Three Pines series.
If you could have in your possession one signed first edition of any book in the world, which books would that be? Why that particular book?
The first edition of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women … with a bonus being Little Men. They were my very favorites when I was a child; I read them (and her whole Orchard House series) over and over. And then I grew up and became a writer, like Jo, and adopted four older children (ages 8-10) as she and her professor did. (Technically, they didn’t adopt, but they took boys from the streets into their home and raised them as their own.)
How did you celebrate when you first heard you were to be published? What did you do the first time you saw one of your books on a shelf in a bookstore?
My first published book was an historical novel for ages 8-12, Stopping to Home. I was at a writers’ conference when the offer was made, and I spent the rest of the day in a daze. I called my best friend and talked at her for about an hour, sharing my excitement. Then I bought myself a wonderful dinner ... with champagne. The first time I saw that book in a bookstore (it was a Barnes and Noble in Manchester, New Hampshire) I felt as though the world was surreal. I was doing a signing there, and it was a “dreams come true” sort of day.
Name one thing on your Bucket List.
My daughters were born in Thailand, Korea, Hong Kong and India. I’ve been to Calcutta, but I’ve never visited the other countries. I’d love to be able to take a family trip to Asia, with my daughters and their families.
You’ve just received a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice. Which bookstore are you making a bee-line for?
Maine Coast Books in Damariscotta, Maine. They have a wonderful selection of books, especially those set in New England.
An extremely reliable source tells you that a thinly disguised you is a character in a book that’s currently high up on the New York Times Bestseller list. What kind of a character do you think you are?
I have been a character in a book – the real me is in Kaitlyn Dunnett’s mystery, Scotched, about a cozy mystery conference in Maine! So that was fun. But a best seller … hmm .. maybe someone would write my husband’s and my love story … we met in 1968, and were together off and on after that … but our dreams led us in different directions. Thanks to the internet, we found each other again and married in 2003. (Our story, abbreviated, is in my Living and Writing on the Coast of Maine.)
Thank you so much for this opportunity to get to know you a little better, Lea. We certainly appreciate it. I, for one, am looking forward to Thread and Gone, and I'll also be getting my hands on some of your other books, too.
May your book sales do nothing but increase!