Hi. Barb here. Today my guest on the blog is Maddie Day, aka Edith Maxwell. Edith has visited before to talk about her Local Foods Mystery series. She’s a friend and fellow Kensington author and we also write together on the Wicked Cozy Authors blog.
As Maddie Day, Edith has a new series out, the Country Store Mysteries, and the first book, Flipped for Murder, was just released. It’s set in southern Indiana, which makes Edith/Maddie the first Wicked to set a series outside New England. So I asked her to write about the regional differences. What is different and what is similar between a series set in Indiana and one set in Maine.
Take it away, Maddie!
Thanks for having me back on this great blog, Barb!
You remember those puzzles from when you were a child. Or maybe it was on the SAT test? Either way, how could Indiana possibly be compared to Maine?
My new Country Store Mysteries series is set in southern Indiana, a part of the world I’m very fond of, where I spent five formative and glorious years – okay, part of them hungover – earning a PhD at Indiana University. I grew up on the west coast and am growing old on the opposite one, but there’s something very sweet about the middle of the country.
So I started thinking about things Maine and southern Indiana have in common.
I could start with independent thinkers who live in the woods. Brown County, where I set the series, is hilly and pretty and looks a lot like New England, and harbors plenty of folks who’d rather be left to their own devices and opinions. I think that might be true of Maine, too.
Then there’s colorful dialect. I’m not saying Mainers talk like Hoosiers, but they both retain a good number of regionalisms, both in pronunciation and expressions. Southern Indiana is really more Kentucky than Indiana, in my experience, and I’ve loved including phrases like, “That went faster than green grass through a goose,” “His drawer is all whopper-jawed,” and “Well, tie me to an anthill and fill my ears with jam!” I’m not personally acquainted with similar Maine phrases – other than ones from “Bert and I” sketches – but I’ll bet you hear them.
Both places traditionally eat a lot of potatoes, too. Am I stretching my luck here?
What about an ocean, you say. All right. That’s in the category of How Are These Two Things NOT the Same. When I moved to Bloomington in 1977, I thought I would really miss the Pacific – so far the only ocean I knew – of which I was very fond and had grown up an hour’s drive away from. But you know, I didn’t really notice. When we wanted to cool off during our steamy grad school summers, we’d go swimming in a local reservoir or quarry. I still love the beach and the tangy smell of salt water, don’t get me wrong. I just did fine without it. Actually, it was during my time in grad school when I visited Maine for the first time, with a boyfriend who was from Kennebunkport and whose family had a house on Great Gott’s Island.
Readers: other similarities between Maine and Indiana, or any other midwestern state, that you know of?
About the book:
Flipped for Murder, the first book in the Country Store Mysteries series, releases October 27. The series features Robbie Jordan and Pans ‘N Pancakes, her country store restaurant in fictional South Lick, Indiana. When she remodels the store full of antique cookware and turns it into a local breakfast and lunch establishment, she doesn’t plan to have murder on the menu. But small-town secrets and bitter rivalries put sand in the batter and before Robbie knows it, her new life is a lot more complicated than she had expected.
Everyone in town shows up for the grand re-opening of the store, but when the mayor’s disagreeable assistant is found dead, Robbie realizes that not all press is good press. With all eyes on her, she’ll have to summon her puzzle-solving skills to clear her name, unscramble the town’s darkest secrets, and track down a cold-blooded killer–before she’s the next to die…
About Maddie Day
Agatha-nominated and national best-selling author Edith Maxwell writes the Local Foods Mysteries and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries, the Country Store Mysteries (as Maddie Day), and the Lauren Rousseau Mysteries (as Tace Baker), as well as award-winning short crime fiction. Maxwell lives north of Boston with her beau and three cats, and blogs with the other Wicked Cozy Authors. You can also find her at www.edithmaxwell.com, @edithmaxwell, and on Facebook.