Edith Maxwell has a new book out called Farmed and Dangerous and she's here to answer all of our questions.
- Where did you get the idea for this book? How did you know that was the book you wanted to write?
Cam Flaherty is my protagonist in the Local Foods Mysteries. She’s close to her Great-Uncle Albert, who gave her his farm when he could no longer manage it and had to move into an assisted living residence. This book, the third in the series, is set in the winter in Massachusetts, and I decided to locate the victim and much of the action where Albert lives. The story unfolded from there, with a blizzard, an unsolicited donation of additional chickens to Cam’s collection (including a rooster named Ruffles, which she really didn’t want), the issue of developing farmland instead of preserving it, and more. I knew early on the story was working and that I was meant to write it.
- What is the best thing that has happened to you as a result of your novels?
Number one is the opportunity to sit and write. It’s hard, but I love it when words roll off my fingers and things happen I did not plan for, and when I read words I don’t know why I typed. It’s a kind of magic. Another (can I have three “bests”?) (please?) is meeting fans of the mystery genre at libraries, bookstores, and conferences. I can’t believe my luck that I can write stories that people appreciate and want to read. People ask me when the next book is coming out – it’s awesome. And a really fabulous part of this crazy wonderful ride is the friendship, support, and generosity of my fellow authors. I would not be published if it weren’t for what I have learned from my peers, including my blogmates, the Wicked Cozy Authors (wickedcozyauthors.com).
- If your protagonist were actually a real person, would you be friends with them? Why or why not?
I think I would. I worked in the software industry long enough to appreciate the engineering mind, although I don’t have one, myself. Cam, a former software engineer, self-identifies as a geek. At the same time, she’s committed to growing local organic food, something I’m passionate about as a former certified organic grower. Cam has a sense of humor, is a loyal great-niece, and is devoted to her cat and her chickens. I’d like to sit in the field or the greenhouse, depending on the season, and have a beer with her.
- If you could meet any author alive or dead, who would it be and why?
That’s a really hard question. I have already met many contemporary goddesses in the field: Sue Grafton, Louise Penny, Nancy Pickard, Katherine Hall Page, Julia Spencer-Fleming. I guess I’d say Agatha Christie or Dorothy L. Sayers, because they were brilliant, productive writers of my kind of book.
- How long did it take you to get your first draft done of this book? How much time do you spend in revisions?
I can turn out a first draft in two months these day, three tops. With three multi-book contracts, I have to! I let it rest for a few weeks while I work on another book, and then spend a couple of months polishing it. I have it edited before it goes to my Kensington editor, so there’s more revision after that step.