What Scares You, Edith Maxwell?

Edith Maxwell, or Maddie Day, as you may also know her, makes me jealous every day with how prolific she is. She’s just releasing her 28th book, Murder in a Cape Cottage THIS WEEK! (Grab a copy here.) I can’t even imagine writing that many books!

She’s also wicked.

No, really, she is! I love her posts over at The Wickeds, where she and her fellow crime writers discuss all things crime writing.

She’s also a delightful person, which of course makes me want to know all the things that make her scream, inside and out.

So here we go!

What is your greatest fear?

That something will happen to one of my sons. I have no basis for that, except that bad things happen sometimes. They are both in their 30s and well-adjusted, happy, functional members of society. And I worry!

What is your earliest childhood memory of fear?

By way of explanation, I’ve always had a rabidly overactive imagination. I wasn’t allowed to watch scary shows (Twilight Zone) or movies. But the family bookshelves were always open, and my mother loved crime fiction. I was a young fluent reader, and I soaked up Poe and Sherlock Holmes stories at age nine. As a result, I would gaze at my smooth white bedroom ceiling when the light was on and feel safe. The minute the light went out, however, I knew there was a grate up there and the speckled band was coming for me. Little me would lie there paralyzed with fear!

Do you believe in ghosts?

I don’t rule out the possibility of ghosts or other spectral beings. There is much we don’t know about the world, life, and other dimensions. That said, I try not to think about ghosts too much, per previous answer about my imagination. I’ve lived in a half dozen antique New England homes for the past forty years, and they have lots of unexplained noises. Which could be ghosts…so I don’t go there.

What are your phobias?

Ah, don’t laugh. I don’t like being closed in. I want curtains open whenever possible. I don’t wear turtlenecks. And I’ve been known to break into a run walking through a pedestrian tunnel so I don’t have to stay in there a second longer than necessary. I’m also a bit afraid of ledges and cliffs—not that I will fall, but that I might jump to see what it’s like. And nobody wants that—least of all me.

Do you have a recurring nightmare?

I often have flying-themed nightmares. Sometimes I’m at the airport and my passport is at home. Sometimes I’m on the plane with no prep, no luggage, no phone. Most times I’m traveling to China. The worst involve me actually flying the plane (Big plane! Holding lots of passengers!) when I know full well I have no idea how to fly a plane. In daylight, I wonder about these dreams. I have had a passport since I was seventeen and have traveled and lived internationally for many years (although never to China) and flown several times a year for most of my adult life. Go figure!

What’s something that most people are afraid of that you are not?

I’m not afraid of spiders. I don’t want them rappelling down over my bed, but they don’t send me shrieking. They’re good for the eco-system and don’t bother me (unless I unwittingly walk into a web in my garden).

I’m not afraid of spiders. I don’t want them rappelling down over my bed, but they don’t send me shrieking.

What is your greatest fear as a writer?

I have written 33 novels. My newly released book is number 28. And I’m still afraid in the middle of each manuscript that I won’t be able to finish, that it will be awful, that no one will want to read it, and that my career as an author is over. Every. Single. Book. Luckily, it doesn’t stop me from blundering forging ahead and finishing.

What’s the scariest book you’ve ever read? Is there a particular scene that really haunts you still?

I had to stop reading Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series when her stories got too scary for me. I enjoyed them for a while, and I don’t remember which book it was that terrified me. I like a good suspenseful tale, but not when it makes me scared to go to sleep at night.

People often say death is their greatest fear. What are your feelings about death/dying?

I don’t fear dying. If I’m aware at the time that I’m going, I know I’ll feel sad about leaving family, close friends, and my writing, but not because the next phase is scary. Who knows, it might be a delightful new existence.

Agatha Award-winning author Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries and award-winning short crime fiction. As Maddie Day, she pens the Country Store Mysteries, the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries, and the new Cece Barton Mysteries. Day/Maxwell lives with her beau north of Boston, where she writes, gardens, cooks, and wastes time on Facebook. Find her at EdithMaxwell.com, wickedauthors.com, Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.