Welcome Edwin Hill!

Hey readers! We’re continuing our new series of inviting writers of other genres to the blog to discuss all things writing. Today I’m happy to have Edwin Hill, author of the Hester Thursby mystery series, here to answer some questions. Welcome Edwin!

What drew you to the genre you write?

I’ve always been fascinated by stories of ordinary people overcoming extraordinary situations, and as a writer, I like to explore what those circumstances do to those ordinary people. Some rise above them, and others fall victim to their circumstances, but as someone who is interested in human psychology, I like to see how my newest imaginary friends are changed by their imaginary circumstances.

What sets your book apart from what is out there?

I don’t know if this sets them apart, because I write what I love to read, but my goal is to write crime fiction that’s based in a literary tradition. I love writers like Laura Lippman and Kate Atkinson who fill their novels with richly drawn characters, and then pile on complex and exciting plots that keep the reader turning the pages. 

What are you currently writing?

I’m working on a standalone book set in Boston that is about two sisters who are haunted by a murder/suicide involving their father and their next-door neighbor. In the present day, another murder hits too close to home when the victim turns out to be one of their ex-boyfriends. I don’t think I’m giving too much away to say that it’s all connected – now I need to figure out how! 

Do you write a series or standalones? Why?

My first three novels are all part of a series that focus on a research librarian named Hester Thursby who finds missing people. I love writing series characters because you can take a longer view with character arcs and really think about where you want the characters to grow. My third book in that series, WATCH HER, finished off some of the story lines that I began in my first novel. When I start the fourth book in that series, Hester will have some new challenges to face, and I’ll let her sit with some of those challenges over another set of three books. 

The standalone that I mentioned above is my first standalone, and it’s been fun to write for many reasons, but one of the most fun aspects is that no one is safe. I don’t think my readers would be too thrilled if I killed off Hester Thursby or her partner Morgan Maguire (or their dog Waffles) but in this book, who knows who’ll make it through to the end (though dogs are always safe)! 

What are you reading right now?

I worked on a time-consuming project last year that limited the amount of pleasure reading I could do, so I’m catching up on some books I missed! Right now, I’m reading THE LUCKY ONE by Lori Rader-Day and really liking it. Here in Boston, we have an amazing writing community through an organization called Grub Street. I try to read as many books by local authors as I can, and am reading all of Jenna Blum’s novels right now. I am also making my way through the nominees for the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize from last year and am on THE NICKEL BOYS by Colson Whitehead. It’s amazing. My crime novel will be Rachel Howzell Hall’s AND NOW SHE’S GONE, which, like so many other novels, I’ve wanted to read since it came out. Also, I am looking forward to Barb’s latest clambake mystery, SHUCKED APART. I’ve read this series from the start and love visiting Busman’s Harbor and catching up with Julia! And… oh, there are way too many to list! 

What is your favorite deadline snack?

I try not to stress eat. I also fail at not stress eating. I wind up eating a lot of almonds when I’m pacing around. And if there’s anything bad for me in the house, I eat that too. Basically, anything not nailed down. I also drink pots and pots of coffee.  

Do you have a favorite quote or life motto?

The final lines of Mary Oliver’s “The Summer Day” really speak to me, especially after this terrible year. 

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

Favorite writing space?

Like so many of us, I used to like going to my local coffee shop to write and look forward to doing so again. Right now, I work in my home office! 

What do you see when you look up from writing?

I live in a densely populated neighborhood in Boston. My office window looks out over my backyard, and I love sitting there and watching the seasons change or my dog Edith Ann playing. 

Thanks for joining us, Edwin! Readers, any other questions for our guest! Ask in the comments below!

Bio: Edwin Hill’s critically-acclaimed crime novels include Watch Her, The Missing Ones, and Little Comfort. He has been nominated for Edgar and Agatha Awards, featured in Us Magazine, received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal, and was recognized as one of “Six Crime Writers to Watch” in Mystery Scene magazine. He lives in Roslindale, Massachusetts with his partner Michael and his favorite reviewer, their lab Edith Ann, who likes his first drafts enough to eat them.

25 Thoughts

  1. Hi Edwin,

    Like Dru, I’m happy to hear that there will be more books in the Hester Thursby series.

    You attended the last official signing I went to (for Bruce Robert Coffin) before the pandemic shut everything down, so I was able to meet you and get a signed copy of THE MISSING ONES.

    Has the lack of book signings over the last year been the same kind of drag for you as it has been for everyone else?

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    1. Hi Jay, one of the benefits of the not being able to go anywhere is being able to meet people online. That said, I’m looking forward to getting together in person again, and hope to be back up on Portland very soon!

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  2. Edwin, I am like Dru and Jay in professing my love for your Hester Thursby books. I am glad to learn there will be more after your first stand-alone. Congratulations on this upcoming book release. What is the title?

    I also greatly enjoyed the virtual New England Noir at the Bar events that you organized and co-hosted last year. Your fun facts about each author were a nice addition and enhanced both the online chat and Q&As. There is no way I could have attended a real Noir event since I live in Ontario.

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  3. What a well-written and insightful essay, Edwin. I can’t wait to meet Hester Thursby. Good approach for pleasure reading: choosing books that have won or been nominated for big awards. That’s how I found the novels of William Kent Krueger, by seeing citations for his “Ordinary Grace.” Your standalone sounds fascinating. Oh, I do have to disagree with your comment that dogs are always safe — they aren’t when they latch their jaws onto your main character’s leg during a fight scene! Write well, and thanks for this piece giving us insight into your life and your work.

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  4. I’m also glad to hear there will be more Hester novels. Here’s a process question for you: for the next three books, have you more or less planned out what will happen in each? Ask because I’ve just finished the third book in my Berkshire Hilltown Mystery series, and have an idea for the fourth one, which actually came in part from you when you said in a library presentation that you’d used a story thread that didn’t work in your first Hester novel in a later one, which I’ll be doing in book four. But I have no idea what will happen in book five.

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    1. Hi Leslie, this is a great question! As far as plot and mystery, I have not one clue what will happen until I start writing. But I know the emotional arc for Hester, Morgan, and Kate for the next three books, and the types of challenges I’ll create for them along the way.

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  5. How fun to be introduced to a new to me author! I find the Hester Thursby mystery series very intriguing and will be checking them out – devouring them might be a better description. Naturally it makes my smile to know that no dogs will be harmed. 🙂
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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  6. Hello Edwin, I love Hester Thursby, the little dynamo that could! They are great mysteries and full of kind relationships that give space and understanding. I also loved the Noir at the Bar events. The comments were just as entertaining as the authors… I’m looking forward to your next book!

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