by Kate Flora
Maine Crime Writers was born in 2011, founded on one basic idea: Wouldn’t it be fun to bring a group of Maine writers together to blog about living and writing in Maine, subjects that would be interesting both to mystery fans and those who love Maine. Initially, I feared that the blogosphere was already too crowded, and I worried that we wouldn’t have enough to say. Five years later, we’re still finding new things to say about crime and writing week after week, and have plenty to share about the joys, challenges, and realities of living and writing in Maine.
Over the years, we’ve had numerous writers join the group, drop out of the group because of deadlines or too many commitments, or leave and return. Some writers visit us to share occasional guest columns about their writing and their careers. Sometimes we have guest columns or interviews to introduce our readers to new writers they might not otherwise have heard about.
Every new post—from Gerry Boyle’s on the contrast between the real landscape and the one we imagine to Sarah Grave’s hilarious take on how you know you’re a Mainer—has been a surprise and delight. Who knew there was a Moxie Festival, or that the beverage was good for hiding the taste of poison? Or how Barb Ross came to own a bed and breakfast in Boothbay Harbor?
We cover a wide swath of the state, from south of Portland to the tip of Aroostook County, from Bailey Island to Boothbay Harbor, from Hartland to Edgecomb, from Thomaston to Portland. We write contemporary, historical, cozy, hard-boiled, suspense, cops, and true crime. Mostly, we write series books with characters you want to follow and settings you want to explore. To introduce us, I asked the writers to give me a quick one or two sentences describing them and their work. And just like our blog entries, they are as varied as the writers themselves. See for yourself:
Lea Wait is convinced that, despite the date on her birth certificate, she had a 19th century childhood. In her latest, SHADOWS OF A DOWN EAST SUMMER, she manages to channel Winslow Homer to find out what really happened when two local girls posed for the famous artist in Prouts Neck, Maine in 1890.
Full-time writer Kaitlyn Dunnett (aka Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kate Emerson) is the author of over fifty-five traditionally published books. The first one came out way back in 1984. Currently, as Kaitlyn, she writes the Liss MacCrimmon Scottish-American Heritage Mysteries set in in rural Moosetookalook, Maine and featuring a former professional Scottish dancer as an amateur sleuth. She is also working on the Mikki Lincoln Mysteries about a widowed retiree who starts a second career as a book doctor. The first in this series, CRIME AND PUNCTUATION, is scheduled to be published in June 2018. Under the Kathy Lynn Emerson name, she writes the Mistress Jaffrey Mysteries set in England in the 1580s. This series, starting with MURDER IN THE QUEEN’S WARDROBE, is a spin-off of her Face Down Series (ten full-length mysteries and a collection of short stories starting with FACE DOWN IN THE MARROW-BONE PIE) and the protagonist is Rosamond Appleton, illegitimate daughter of Sir Robert, the late, unlamented husband of Susanna, Lady Appleton, the herbalist/detective who solves crimes in the Face Down books.
Kate Flora writes the Joe Burgess police procedural series set in Portland,the most recent of which is Led Astray. Kate bounces between strong women in her Thea Kozak series, cops in the Burgess series, and cops, wardens, and victims in the challenging world of true crime, and, most recently, a retired game warden’s memoir in A Good Man with a Dog.
Barbara Ross is the author of the acclaimed Maine Clambake Mysteries about a family who offer authentic clambakes on a private island off mid-coast Maine. In the summer, Barbara writes on the big front porch of the former Seafarer Inn in Boothbay Harbor. You can visit her website at www.maineclambakemysteries.com.
John Clark is an odd fish. As a retired librarian who had a long career in mental health, followed by supporting software running 100+ Maine libraries and two stints in public librarianship, he developed an interest in reading, writing, and reviewing young adult fiction. He also writes dark mystery and horror short stories as well as entering sweepstakes.
Richard Cass is a native of Boston and a Mainer by choice. He holds an MA in Writing from the University of New Hampshire and has published a collection of short stories called Gleam of Bone and a mystery novel called Solo Act, which he pitched as “an alcoholic walks into a dive bar in Boston . . . and buys it.” For many years, he worked as a technical writer for software companies. He’s also taught fiction and nonfiction writing at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He lives in Cape Elizabeth. The prequel to Solo Act, In Solo Time, is planned for a 2017 publication. He’s currently working on a revenge thriller set in Portland, Maine.
Bruce Robert Coffin is a Maine native and retired detective sergeant from the Portland police department. After twenty-eight years as a cop, he draws heavily on his real life experiences when writing his Detective Byron Mystery Series. Among the Shadows, his debut novel and the first in the series, was a Maine Sunday Telegram #1 bestseller. His short story Fool Proof appears in the 2016 Best American Mystery Stories.