Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Lea Wait

Maine author Lea Wait writes two mystery series: the Mainely Needlepoint and the Shadows Antique Print series, as well as historical novels for ages 8 and up set in 19th century Maine, and a book of essays on Living and Writing on the Coast of Maine. She’s had sixteen books traditionally published in the past 14 years, with two more scheduled for the fall of 2016.

Her new novel is Thread and Gone.

Recently I asked Wait about what she was reading. Her reply:
I write mysteries; the most recent, Thread and Gone, is about a piece of medieval needlepoint found in a Maine attic, and the chaos (and murders!) that result. So you might assume that I read mysteries and suspense and thrillers in my free time.

But for the past month I’ve been reading the poems of Emily Dickinson.

I “discovered” Emily Dickinson and her poetry when I was still in elementary school and was assigned to “memorize a poem.” Hers were short, and made sense to me (little did I know then!) because she often used images from nature. I was hooked. A few years later I started reading analyses of the work, as well, and biographies, and went on to have classes that included her work in college and grad school.

I wrote poems, too. I was no Emily, but I learned from her use of words and her unique way of seeing her word, external and internal.

But then I moved on. I adopted my children, I worked for a corporation, and in my forties I began writing fiction: historical novels for young people and mysteries for adults.

Emily’s poems sat on a shelf over my desk, or next to my bed, but I seldom opened those books.

And then about a month ago I did. And I re-discovered the brilliance of her work. I also found out that in the past fifteen years new research on her life has newly illuminated it, and I am reading those biographies. I’m especially enjoying Alfred Habegger’s My Wars Are Laid Away in Books and Lyndall Gordon’s Lives Like Loaded Guns. And, of course, I’m re-reading her poems and letters.

I write prose during the day, and in the evening look forward to spending time with poetry.

Because words, after all, are what it’s all about.
Visit Lea Wait's website.

The Page 69 Test: Thread and Gone.

--Marshal Zeringue