Hi. Barb here. Today, Jessie Crockett will be joining the Maine Crime Writers for the first time. I originally met Jessie through Sisters in Crime New England. Our first books came out at the same time in August, 2010 and we’ve been connected ever since. I blog with Jessie over at Wicked Cozy Authors, so I know a few of her secrets. We thought it would be fun if I interviewed her as a way of introducing Jessie to all of you.
BR: Welcome to Maine Crime Writers, Jessie!
BR: You live in New Hampshire most of the year and your current connection to Maine is your summer residence in Old Orchard Beach, but I know you have deep roots in Maine going back on both sides of your family. Tell us about them.
JC: Both of my parents were from Maine and all the people in their families going back time out of mind. My father’s people were from the East Dixfield area and my mother’s were from mid-coast. I have family with birthplaces from Carthage Basin to Vinal Haven and all sorts of spots in between.
BR: Your first two series are set in New Hampshire. Tell us a little about Live Free or Die and the Sugar Grove series.
JC: New Hampshire, like Maine is filled with interesting architecture, natural beauty and self-reliant citizens. Both my Granite State mystery series and the Sugar Grove series celebrate all those things. In Live Free or Die the protagonist is the chief of her volunteer fire department and the solution to the mysteries she is facing can be found in the past as much as the present. The Sugar Grove books look at life on a family tree farm and what it means to carve out a unique niche in a large family.
BR: You are currently working on a new historical series for Berkley set in Old Orchard Beach in 1898. What about Old Orchard Beach inspires you?
JC: Just about everything! I love the beach, of course and the miles of sand to walk and think. Just doing that primes the creative pump for me. But even more is the extraordinary history of the place. The series I am writing takes place the year the pier opens for the first time. At the time it was built it was the world’s longest pleasure pier and as such, a tremendous attraction. Trains deposited thousands of vacationers every day all summer long. The variety of people it attracted is astonishing. There are the famous like Louis Armstrong and Charles Lindberg. There were wealthy families who stayed for the season in grand hotels and mill girls who came for a day at the seaside. It was actually difficult for me to choose a time period to focus on because so many decades were so appealing.
JC: I work on the front porch. My desk faces the street but the screen door allows in breezes from the sea. The sounds of crashing waves and squeals from amusement park riders run uphill and spill all over me as I write. In spring and fall, when the leaves are off the trees, I can catch a glimpse of the water winking up at me. Truly, I am blessed.
BR: Recommend a favorite spot in Maine. A “hidden gem” if you will.
JC: This may not be what you had in mind but I’m going to say Heavenly Socks in Belfast. It is a yarn shop with an unusual amount of sock-weight yarn on offer. The staff is knowledgeable and so welcoming. And the town is charming. Well worth the drive.
BR: I think that’s a great recommendation. I’ll have to tell my sister-in-law who runs a yarn shop about it.
Everyone, say hello to Jessie!