If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Selling That First Mystery—My Story by Lea Wait

Almost twenty years ago, after focusing on writing literary short stories, I took a plunge into the world of mystery writing. I plotted my book carefully (one murder one-third of the way through, the second murder two-thirds in; six suspects with motives, means, and opportunities) and, to save research time, I gave my amateur sleuth a job I knew well: antique print dealer.
After all, I was a fourth generation antique dealer (although my “day job” was as a corporate manager), and I knew antique prints well, since I’d been dealing in them for over twenty years.
I made Maggie Summer – my protagonist -- younger than I was (thirty-eight) and a widow, to open the door to romantic possibilities. I gave her a day job as a community college professor in a subject I’d almost finished my doctorate in (American Studies), and I was off.
Halfway through writing that first book (Shadows at the Fair), I also hinted that Maggie regretted that she’d never had children.
Me, too. I’d adopted four “older” girls (ages 4-10) as a single parent.
I submitted that manuscript to forty of the best agents around.
All forty rejected it. Some liked it, but weren’t looking for new clients. One had the best excuse of all: he’d died.
I decided I’d written that “bottom drawer” unsold manuscript mentioned in just about every book on writing. I happily accepted a corporate buyout offer and moved to Maine, the place I’d always wanted to live. My first winter there I wrote a historical novel set in 1806 for ages 8-12. Stopping to Home sold immediately to Simon & Schuster and became my first published book.
Thrilled to be writing for children, I didn’t think about that manuscript in my bottom drawer for several years, until I mentioned it at my critique group and read a chapter to them at one of our meetings.
They loved it. “Submit it, Lea!” they said. “It’s good!”
Reluctantly, I told my children’s editor about it and asked if I could use my name – Lea Wait – on both books for children and adults.
“How pornographic is your adult book?“ she asked, without missing a beat.
After I got up off the floor, I assured her my manuscript wasn’t at all pornographic. She told me to use my name on both types of books. And she volunteered to send it to someone “upstairs.”
When a New York editor says to send her a manuscript … I had it in the mail within a week.
And heard nothing for a year.
Until I had a call from the editorial director of Scribner, offering me a contract. Shadows at the Fair was published in 2002 and was a finalist for an Agatha Award for “best first mystery” the next year.  
Yes, I’m still writing books for children.
But the eighth in the Shadows Antique Print mystery series (Shadows on a Morning in Maine) will be published this week, and the fourth book in my Mainely Needlepoint series (Dangling By a Thread) will be published next month.  
Despite those forty rejections from agents, I guess I was meant to write mysteries after all.
And, P.S., Maggie decided to adopt an older child as a single parent, despite hesitation from the man in her life. For what happened, well, you’ll have to read Shadows on a Morning in Maine!
Shadows on a Morning in Maine is Maine author Lea Wait’s sixteenth traditionally published book and her eleventh mystery. She is also the author of Living and Writing on the Coast of Maine, a memoir about being a new wife and author in her fifties. To learn more about Lea and her books, see her website, httyp://www.leawait.com, and friend her on Facebook and Goodreads.


KM Rockwood said...

Thanks for sharing a great story! Your persistence definitely paid off!

Using what you know well as a background can give a true depth to your work.

Margaret Turkevich said...

thanks for sharing your path to publication. Looking forward to reading your book.

Shari Randall said...

Hi Lea, In my previous life as a children's librarian, I came across your books for children. You have many fans among teachers, librarians, and kids who like historical fiction. I'll look forward to reading your mysteries!

Gloria Alden said...

Welcome to WWK, Lea. I've already written your first book in your series down to order. I love Maine and have visited the state a half dozen times. What a great story on getting published.

Lea Wait said...

Thank you all for your comments! So glad you enjoyed the post ....

Lois said...

Thanks for sharing, Lea. I've gotten behind with reading your books. Need to order a few and get caught up.