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Lea Wait: My Writing Journey

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I learned to read. Growing up, I read everything I could, from cereal boxes to Shakespeare. Everything I read encouraged me to dream.

Lea WaitI edited my high school newspaper (yes, a writerly cliché) and went on to major in both drama (writing plays) and English (reading, and writing poetry) as an undergraduate at Chatham College. But plays and poetry wouldn’t pay bills. After I graduated I got a job as a corporate speech writer, using my skills at writing dialog. There was always something new to learn, so at night, I went to graduate school.

As a single parent, I adopted four girls (ages 5-10) who came from Thailand, Korea, Hong Kong and India. I wrote about single parent adoption and older child adoption in adoption newsletters, magazines, and anthologies.

When I was in my forties and my girls were teenagers I realized it was finally time for fiction. I spent several years writing literary short stores and attempts at novels. A couple of stories were published. The novels were never finished.

And then one day I had an idea for a mystery; a mystery set in the world of antiques, which I knew well. I challenged myself to finally complete a manuscript. And, early mornings and late nights and boring meetings and vacations … I finished my first book.

Which was then rejected by over forty agents.

But I didn’t have time to get discouraged. In 1998 I was offered a corporate buy-out package that meant I could leave corporate life and move to my family’s home in Maine, where I’d always wanted to live. I cared for my mother there, and started writing full-time.

The first book I wrote in Maine was for ages 8-12; the story of an eleven-year-old girl trying to take care of her four-year-old brother after their parents died in a small Maine seaport village in 1806. Stopping to Home sold immediately to Simon & Schuster and was published in 2001.

Then I pulled out that first mystery, and it sold, too. Scribner published Shadows at the Fair in 2002. It was even a finalist for a “best first” Agatha Award.    

I’ve kept writing. The Shadows series is now seven books (most recently, Shadows on a Maine Christmas) and I now also write the 3-book Mainely Needlepoint series, the most recent of which, Thread and Gone, was published this month. That series is with Kensington. Five of my historical novels for young people have been published, and I’ve also written a book of essays on what it’s like to be a full-time author. (Living and Writing on the Coast of Maine.)

So … fifteen books published. Three more scheduled for 2016. Several more “in the pipeline.”

And … I even got married.

Yes: it’s been a journey. A wonderful journey.



THREAD THREAD AND GONE (publication date: January, 2016)

Book blurb for THREAD AND GONE:  When Mary Clough finds a piece of valuable medieval needlepoint in the attic of her family’s home, Angie Curtis and the Mainely Needlepointer agree to trace its origin. But someone will kill to get that embroidery, and their murder will unravel the little town of Haven Harbor, Maine.

Visit me at my website at http://www.leawait.com





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