Have Books, Will Travel . . .

Our new poster, courtesy of the talented Barbara Ross

Hi, it’s Kate Flora, here, starting a conversation about Books in Boothbay, a wonderful event several of us attended last Saturday, and all the other book events we’ll be attending this summer. Because it’s summer, and in the summer, Maine libraries and bookstores are offering a lot of events for locals and visitors, and Maine writers are out there answering the call.

So check out our Appearances section, and see where Maine Crime Writers will be popping up next. And imagine the fun we have, meeting readers, reading from our work, and meeting authors we may have heard of for years, but often have never met before.

Here’s something you may find rather mysterious–although we’ve been blogging together for a year now, and had so many fascinating conversations–our joint table of six authors at Books in Boothbay was the first time that some of our writers actually met each other.

Perhaps it’s because writers are so solitary. Perhaps it’s because Maine is a big state. Because many of us have day jobs. Because we’re so busy with promotion, with exercising our imaginations, listening to the voices of our imaginary friends in our heads, and getting those voices down on the page.

Lea Wait:  Absolutely, Kate. Which is one reason I’m especially looking forward to seeing you and

Lea signs a book for a fan at Books in Boothbay

Sarah (and Katherine Hall Page) in Ellsworth next week, July 26, 6 p.m., at the Ellsworth Library for a panel discussion called “Women of Mystery.”  Eastport, where Sarah lives, is a long way from any of the rest of us, and I haven’t seen her in about a year and half — since she came to Damariscotta to speak at the library there. That time you and she stayed at my house the night before.  Pjs and wine and lots of book talk! Great fun! (And the library talk went well, too!)

For different reasons, I’m looking forward to participating in Maine’s Dooryard Festival — a new arts festival at the Poland Spring Resort in Poland Spring (of course!) Saturday, July 28. It’s special for me because I’ll have a booth with my antique prints (and my books,) while my husband, Bob, who’s an artist, has been invited to have one of his painting in the Dooryard Art Show: the festival is an interesting combination of art and crafts, new and old. Bob and I don’t get to do too many events together, so we’re looking forward to that day. (We’ll also be doing an antique show + books in Damariscotta at Round Top August 29. No modern art there, though!)

And August 9 I’m looking forward to a scenic drive into New Hampshire, where I’ll be speaking at the Meredith Library on Lake Winnepesaukee at 10:30 in the morning. I’ve started writing a new book, but I’ll admit that if I’m going to take a day off — a scenic drive into the mountains to talk about books isn’t a bad way to be interrupted!

Barb Ross:I was especially excited about Books in Boothbay both because it takes place in my

Barb at Books in Boothbay

hometown and because it was my first time there as an author.  It was great meeting James Hayman in the physical world, so to speak, although as he said, “We all feel as if we know one another.” And it’s always great to see Lea, Gerry, Kate and Vicki. And meeting Tess Gerritsen whom I’ve always admired. My biggest challenge at these events is not buying more than I sell, and at Books in Boothbay I failed miserably–though I do now have some Christmas presents tucked away in my cedar chest. (No peeking!)

Thanks so much to Sharon Pulkkinen, this year’s Chair, Barb House from the Boothbay Library, Jeff Curtis from Sherman’s Books and Stationery, and all the organizers and volunteers.

The elegant Tess Gerritsen sitting for a portrait by Charlotte Agell

Kate: Meeting readers at these events is wonderful. For me, there are two big plusses. Along with getting to spend time with my fellow writers, I mean. First is the fun of getting to talk about the process of writing the books, creating the stories, and developing my characters. And sometimes I get questions that are so thought provoking. This week, when I was talking about Gracie, my sometimes bad-acting character from the story “All that Glitters” in Dead Calm, the crime story collection Barb publishes, a reader asked whether writing a sassy rule breaker makes my own behavior veer in that direction while she’s living in my head. Not that I’ve noticed, but what a great question. Now I intend to be more observant.

The second big plus is that I often find new experts among the audience. Who does not need another police advisor when she’s writing crime stories? Or a district attorney? And then, last night–oh the glories of summer in Maine, I met a toxicologist. Here’s a writer’s secret–you think you’re there to watch me, but I’m also there to watch YOU.

Back to Books in Boothbay–Gerry Boyle, James Hayman and I joked about what it would be like if our three Portland cop characters got together in a bar. I hope someday we’ll write that conversation.

I learned about Barb’s deadlines for her new Maine Clam Bake series. Why Gerry decided to write Brandon Blake. When Jim’s new book will appear. I met Sarah Braunstein, author of the great debut book, The Sweet Relief of Missing Children. And watched Charlotte Agell sketch portraits. Getting away from the desk and off to summer book events is fun. You should try it.

And readers–what do you wonder about? What question would you ask one of us if you were in the audience? How do we get you to join the conversation?

Barb, Vicki and Jim at Books in Boothbay


Gerry, Kate and Lea at Books in Boothbay

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3 Responses to Have Books, Will Travel . . .

  1. sandy gardner says:

    Hi everybody,
    my question to mystery series writers:
    how do you keep the series exciting, fresh, new — yet with the same M.C. (s)? (I’m halfway through the second book in my “Mother and Murder” series.)
    Sandy Gardner

  2. MCWriTers says:


    In your case…knowing your characters a bit as I do…I’d say you use your character’s interesting voice and attitude, which your readers will become attached to, and her mother’s quirks, and perhaps discoveries she’s made about her mother in the last book, as springboards to how they’ll solve the next murder?

    I also think this is a great group blog topic, so maybe I’ll start that thread.

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