Thank you, Sarah Graves!

I lead a double life.

Vicki Doudera here. Most of you know me as the author of the Darby Farr Mysteries, a series that stars an Asian American real estate agent who solves crimes and makes deals.  Final Settlement is the fourth book in the series, with Deal Killer due out in April. 

I’ve also written several guides to my state, the most popular of which – Moving to Maine – will be updated and republished in 2015.

In addition to my writing career, I’m a broker for Camden Real Estate Company, helping buyers and sellers find new homes or move on from the ones they own.  It’s engrossing, enjoyable work, and I’ve been at it a decade now.

Working as a real estate agent is rewarding in many ways.  It not only pays the bills but gives me my much-needed “people outlet” as I’m a full-on extrovert, unusual in the writing world!  I’ll be forever thankful to the profession because it’s what inspired me to come up with my mystery series in the first place. I’d always wanted to write fiction, and somehow real estate gave me the key to unlock that creative door.

And it continues to give me gifts. 


On Monday, I will sell a water view home in South Thomaston to a lovely couple from Texas, Carolyn and Ted.  I’ve been emailing these folks for years – sending them updates on homes – and every now and then, reaching out to see if they were still interested in moving to Maine.  This spring, when I jotted off a little note, Carolyn wrote back to say that they were indeed ready to come, and had listed their Texas house.

A week later, she wrote to say it was under contract.

In early August, Carolyn and Ted flew to Maine and we looked at homes for several days.  These folks have never lived in a cold climate, so it was fun to educate them about heating systems, plowing, and R-values in insulation.  They were eager and excited learners, but it was evident they were fish out of water – or longhorns out of pasture!  Finally I asked them the obvious question:  why Maine?

Neither of them has family here.  Neither went to college in one of our wonderful little institutions of higher learning. Neither spent summers in a rambling “cottage” in Bar Harbor or a quiet lakeside camp in Bridgton.

Here’s why they are purchasing a home in Maine on Monday:  they read one of Sarah Graves’s mysteries.

“Her descriptions of Maine were just so beautiful,” Carolyn told me. “I told Ted that I had to visit Maine before I died.  And then when we came, we just fell in love with it all, and decided to make the state our home.” Eastport proved to be just a little too far-flung, so the couple settled on the midcoast, but it was Sarah’s words that inspired them to make this major life change.

In real estate, it’s pretty easy for me to see how my actions influence and hopefully help my clients. I can reassure them about radon remediation, recommend a thorough building inspector, give them a tour of the town’s daycare centers. I’m brutally honest about whether they are making a smart investment in a neighborhood. But as a writer, it’s much more difficult to see the impact my stories may have. We meet readers, or hear from some of them, but we don’t always now how our words reach out and touch others. 

I’m betting that Carolyn and Ted will not regret their move to Maine.  I think they’ll thrive in their new climate and home. I’ll be here to help them along the way with any questions they have, but they are so clearly up for this new adventure that I’m sure they’ll succeed.

Meanwhile – a message to my fellow Maine Crime Writer —- next time you’re in Camden, Sarah, lunch is on me!

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16 Responses to Thank you, Sarah Graves!

  1. Great story, Vicki. Thanks for sharing.

    P.S. I hope you gave them one of your books as a “welcome to Maine” present.

  2. Kevin Crumpler says:

    One of my best friends is Carolyn and Ted’s eldest son Matt. My wife and are excited (and a little jealous) of them for moving to Maine. My wife and I spent several days in Portland and Bar Harbor before heading up to PEI during our honeymoon.

  3. Kevin Crumpler says:

    that should have said “my wife and I”

  4. Great post. Camden is a lovely town. We stayed at the Inn at Sunrise Point a couple of years ago. Love the area. I’m envious of Ted and Carolyn. But I’ve got grands down here in Texas and don’t want to leave them and their parents. Maybe if I can sell enough books I can get a small summer house on the water someplace. 🙂 Sigh. That will need to be a ton of books! Better get back to writing. Thanks for the fun post.

  5. Sherry Harris says:

    Very interesting!

  6. Roxanne says:

    It’s not the cold and snow that causes problems, it’s the ice. Hope you told them about walking and driving on ice.

  7. Nancy Miller says:

    I am a big fan of Sarah Graves (that’s how I started reading this blog) and I’d love to visit Eastport…because of her books. She makes it sound so inviting. A friend and I plan to make the trip one day. (We did have a weekend visit to Kennabunkport …I think that’s where it was…but it rained. That was my only time in Maine. Love to read about it here though. Thanks for your interesting posts.

  8. John Clark says:

    When Kate and I sold Sennebec Hill Farm (our late mother’s house and the place where we grew up), we learned that her book, From The Orange Mailbox had a lot to do with the new owners’ buying the place. Great story. Thanks for sharing it.

  9. Talk about serendipity! What a great story. Love the tip about wrapping up one of your books as a housewarming gift, too. Fun!

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