I’m Lea Wait, and I’m so happy to be here today!
To introduce myself … I live on the coast of Maine, and I sometimes feel I had a 19th century childhood. (And, no. I’m not THAT old!)
But I grew up living with both my parents and grandparents. I’ve never lived in a house built after 1920, and I’m the fourth generation in the family to be an antiques dealer.
Some of my earliest memories are of visiting antiques dealers and shows with my grandmother, and when she did a show, I helped set up her booth of antique dolls and toys. (I used to hide under the table coverings and hope my favorite doll at the time wouldn’t be sold.)
The first fifty cents I earned was for booth sitting for another dealer so they could go to dinner. I was twelve. And I already knew a lot about antiques.
We spent summer months in Maine (in the house, built in 1774, where I live now,) and attended auctions. My first auction purchase, made when I was eleven, was a first edition of the Encyclopedia Americana. I bid one dollar, and the auctioneer knocked it down to me. When my grandmother asked why I’d bought “all those old books,” I told her than someday I was going to write historical novels, and they’d be great for research. (P.S. They’re still in my study, and, yes, I’ve written five historical novels set in 19th century Maine.)
My grandmother encouraged me to read. She took me to libraries, suggested books, and had me read Shakespeare out loud to her. She taught me to knit and do simple embroidery. I loved Victorian novels, especially those about orphaned girls who had adventures and found new families. Our homes, summer and winter, were, of course, full of antiques. I learned a lot about artifacts of the past, and the people who used them.
When I grew up I worked in public relations and strategic planning for AT&T and went to school at night, earning a doctorate in American Civilization at New York University because I wanted to know even more about American culture. Like those people in books I’d loved as a child, I adopted four girls (ages 8-10) as a single parent. And, as if I didn’t have enough to do, in my late twenties I started an antique print business.
What does all that have to do with my newest mystery series, Mainely Needlepoint? Well, I learned about antique needlepoint and cross stitched samplers because I saw them in my home and at antique shows and museums. So when my agent asked if I’d like to write about needlepoint I said, “Yes!” but added, “But I won’t write a mystery series set in an embroidery shop.”
Twisted Threads, the first in the Mainely Needlepoint series, published earlier this year, is about Angie Curtis, a 27-year-old Mainer who’s spent ten years in Arizona as an assistant to a private investigator, and is now back in Haven Harbor, Maine to find her mother’s killer … and work with her grandmother, who’s started a custom needlepoint business that also repairs, preserves, and identifies old needlepoint.
Threads of Evidence, the latest in the series, finds Angie and her friend Sarah (a fellow needlepointer) cleaning out a large deserted Victorian home, filled with needlepoint … some of which holds clues to the mysterious death of a seventeen year old girl in 1970.
And at the beginning of each chapter I’ve included quotations from sampler stitched by young girls in the 18th and 19th centuries … many of which were meditations on death. Seem appropriate for a mystery series!
And, besides … the worlds those girls grew up in feel like home.
About the Author
Lea Wait is the author of the Mainely Needlepoint and Antique Print mystery series, historical novels for ages eight and up, and Living and Writing on the Coast of Maine, a series of short essays on her life as a new wife and author. She often speaks at book groups, libraries, schools and conferences, either in person or via Skype. She invites readers to check out her website, http://www.leawait.com, and friend her on Facebook and Goodreads.
More About the Book
Threads of Evidence
(A Mainely Needlepoint Mystery)
2nd in Series
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Kensington (August 25, 2015)
It’s hard to imagine anything bad ever happening in picturesque Haven Harbor, Maine–until a famous face rolls into town and unthreads some very dark secrets. . .
Angie Curtis and the Mainely Needlepointers are all too familiar with the Gardener estate. The crumbling Victorian mansion, known as “Aurora,” has been sitting vacant for nearly twenty-five years–and some say it’s haunted by the ghost of Jasmine Gardener, the teenage girl who died there in 1970 under mysterious circumstances…
Harbor Haven is abuzz with excitement when Hollywood actress Skye West decides to buy Aurora and sell off its furnishings. And Angie is intrigued when Skye asks her to appraise the estate’s sizable collection of needlepoint pictures. But the more she examines the pieces, the more they seem to point toward Jasmine’s murder–and the murderer–and it’s up to her to stitch the clues together. . . But can Sunshine and Aine put aside their differences to stop the murders without tearing each other apart?
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