Maine in winter: cold, darkness and, hopefully, some writing

Happy Boxing Day! This is the day that people in countries under the British crown give gifts to their servants. I know this from a lifetime of reading English mysteries and careful watching of “Upstairs, Downstairs” as a child, and if I have that wrong, well, we fought a revolution so that we wouldn’t have to know things like that.

Here in Maine it’s the day when the rest of the winter begins — that long slow slog to spring now that the anticipation of Christmas is behind us.

A snow-covered street in a small town

A beautiful March day in Maine. No, spring is NOT around the corner.

As a writer, I kind of look forward to it. Being forced to stay home by snow/cold/darkness is a great motivation for sitting down and writing. I have a self-imposed deadline of June 1 to finish the manuscript I’m working on. It’s more a domestic thriller than a who-done-it, and not part of my Bernie O’Dea series, so that’s something new for 2020, too.

Winter in Maine is a funny thing. It doesn’t even last half the year (though it seems to), but it really sets the tone for all 12 months.

When “spring” comes, winter’s still here and usually shows little sign of letting up. When a pleasant spring day finally comes, usually sometime in in May, everyone breathes a huge sigh and says, “This is what it’s all about.” Even on the brightest, warmest July or August day, the thought hovers that we should enjoy it as much as possible, because it won’t be around for much longer. In the fall, the colors are yet another reminder that the snow isn’t far behind.

When asked, as we Maine crime writers frequently are, why there’s so much fictional crime and mystery in Maine, I say one reason is because that darkness is always hovering, no matter how nice things might seem.

There’s something for you to think about for in the cold darkness of the next few months.

About Maureen Milliken

Maureen Milliken is the author of the Bernie O’Dea mystery series. Follow her on Twitter at @mmilliken47 and like her Facebook page at Maureen Milliken mysteries. Sign up for email updates at She hosts the podcast Crime&Stuff with her sister Rebecca Milliken.
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4 Responses to Maine in winter: cold, darkness and, hopefully, some writing

  1. Anonymous says:

    Good luck with that June deadline. I’ve given myself one, too…so kind of hoping to be snowed in with nothing to do but write. I sorta wish, though, that I had a house without a kitchen. Those breaks in the writing can be deadly. Very much looking forward to that new book. New ventures can really create breakthroughs in our writing.


  2. sandy neily says:

    Maureen, love your theory about our relationship to winter in Maine and darkness “always hovering.” Even on a peeeerfect July Maine day. Nice! And in the what reading section loved your true crime selections. You had to prefer one Harvey W over the other. You choice? Thanks!

  3. bethc2015 says:

    It is amazing how we both look forward to and dread winter. There’s a certain pleasure in bundling up to keep warm and life is a little less frantic, yet we crave more sunlight. I like your perspective.

  4. Rae says:

    The dark, the cold and the gothic edge Carolyn Chute (and Stephen King) et al feel deep in your marrow make for some very good reading. Let it snow! Great post. This blog never disappoints.

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