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.