Wicked Wednesday–The Journey of a Lifetime

News Flash: Our lucky winner of Edith’s books is Vida A-J! Vida, congratulations, and please check your email.

Hi Wickeds. We’re celebrating the release yesterday of Jessica Ellicott’s second WPC Harkness mystery, Murder on the Home Front. Read down for a giveaway from Edith.

In this second book in Jessie’s wonderful World War II series, Billie Harkness continues her journey from daughter of a church rector in a small English village to WPC (Woman Police Constable) in the war torn city of Hull. It’s a enormous transition for anyone, much less for a young woman, facing disrespect and suspicion for doing a “man’s job,” in a big city that doesn’t yet feel like home.

Since it’s our tenth anniversary, Wickeds, tell me a little about your writing journey over the last ten years. Have you ever felt like a stranger in a strange land? Have the inhabitants ever been hostile or disrespectful? With your current perspective, how do you feel about the journey?

Edith/Maddie: So many congratulations on the new book, Jessie! You’ve found a great niche in writing historical mysteries, one I also love. As for my writing journey, it has been varied and involved a lot of sweat and worry. Along with dozens of other authors – Julie among them – I did feel disrespected when the publisher of my historical Quaker Midwife mysteries, Midnight Ink, was deemed irrelevant by its parent company. Still, I pulled up my socks and kept going. Like all of us, I’ve had rude or misguided reviews. Failed to earn a starred review here. Was turned down for a contract there, or had one not extended. But I have to say, I have so appreciated this journey. The negatives have been far, far outweighed by the positives, from generous and helpful mentors to adoring fans to supportive blogmates like the Wickeds. And my love for creating stories means I’m living my dream. What’s not to like?

Liz: Super congratulations, Jessie! So happy for you with this new series. I think for all of us the writing journey has had its ups and downs, like Edith said. There are days when everything feels like magic, and others when I’ve wondered, What the heck am I even doing? But overall, it’s been the experience of a lifetime. I’ve made lifelong friends, got to put my words out into the world, have gotten wonderful (and sometimes not so wonderful) reviews – but the bottom line is, I made my childhood dream come true. How can you not love that?

Julie: Congratulations Jessie! What a great question, Barb. I feel so blessed, now more than ever, to be on my writing journey. I’ve accomplished some things, but have so many other goals I want to reach. I continue to endeavor to be a better writer, and gain inspiration from other writers. My life in general is SO MUCH better because of the writers I know, especially my dear Wickeds. This journey isn’t easy, and isn’t always happy, but there’s joy.

Sherry: Jessie, I’m so happy there’s another Billie book out in the world! I can’t believe we’ve been on this journey together for TEN years. I’ll never forget the joy and anxiety of my first book, Tagged for Death, coming out. I don’t know if I would have made it through without all of you. The whims of the publishing world is the hardest part and it’s something we don’t have any control of. Writing, seeing books in the hands of readers, and hearing from them — that makes any frustrations worth it!

Barb: Congratulations, Jessie! And best wishes for success with Murder on the Homefront. Over the past ten years, I’ve felt like a stranger in a strange land frequently. Publishing is such a weird business, not like any business I recognize after thirty years in the business trenches. And it’s particularly weird being on the outside, after being an insider all those years. BUT, I’ve had my friends, and supportive fans, and organizations like Sisters in Crime with me on the whole ride, which has made it not only bearable, but truly wonderful.

Jessie: Aww, thanks everyone for the well-wishes and kind words! For me, the journey has been so engaging and educational. I have learned so much worth knowing along the way about others as well as myself. As has been remarked upon by other WIckeds, it hasn’t all been easy, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way!

In keeping with celebrating Jessie’s latest historical mystery, Edith will send one commenter a copy of her new Quaker Midwife short story collection, A Questionable Death and Other Historical Quaker Midwife Mysteries, as well as an advance copy of Murder at a Cape Bookstore, the fifth Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery.

Readers: Same questions for you. Have you ever felt like a stranger in a strange land? Have the inhabitants ever been hostile or disrespectful? With your current perspective, how do you feel about the journey?

47 Thoughts

  1. Yes, I certainly felt like a stranger moving from small town Maine to bug city California! Culture shock for sure! Fortunately, I worked with wonderfully kind people who took me under their wing, helping me to settle in and learn my way around. I only stayed there a little over a year, but I still consider it one of my bravest moves!

  2. Yes, as a child of an alcoholic years ago. Felt like the stranger, as I felt I could never invite company to our home. As an adult, I still occasionally revert back to that feeling. As parents, we made sure our home was always open to our son’s friends.

  3. Congratulations Jessica on the release of “Murder on the Home Front”! Fabulous cover on a fascinating sounding book that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

    Yes, I once felt like a foreigner from another planet in in the town we lived. It as if I was purple with multiple horns and tails that everyone had to avoid or be eaten up. Circumstances beyond my control – hurtful ones that changed our lives forever. Instead of waiting for the true details and supporting us in the process, rumors flew, judgements were drawn and suddenly the people we had known for years were strangers to us. It hurt, but not near as much as what had happened, but the hurt remained even after everyone saw the error of their ways. Something like that doesn’t go away. You can forgive, but the forgetting part may fade a bit but it’s there in the shadows. However, you have two choices – give in to it and crumble or hold your head up and get stronger. We choice the later. Maybe even after all these years, it was so easy to pick up and move to our dream destination – leaving that hurt behind and taking the stronger versions of us somewhere to start over fresh.

    Thank you so much for a chance to win not one, but two of your fabulous books – which I LOVE! Shared and hoping to be the extremely fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Kay, for some people, enduring the judgement of their fellows makes them stronger. Maybe not right away, but with time. You are proof this can happen.

  4. I only felt like a stranger in a strange land when I start a new job. Meeting new faces, trying to fit in and doing the best you can in the circumstances. You have to make the best of it and it will turn out all right. Now I am retired so I do not meet new people so I enjoy meeting new authors and the books they write. I have been enjoying the book reviews and it is fun. Thank you for writing and sharing your words it is meaningful.

    1. I know that feeling well. The two jobs I was in the longest, I was one of the first people in the company. So everyone had to get used to me! Then, just before I retired, I worked in an established company and had the novel experience of have to get used to others.

  5. Congratulations, Jessie, and Happy Anniversary to all of you! The publishing world is (ahem) a novel one, but as Liz said, it’s a childhood dream come true.

  6. While in the U.S. Navy, I was on temporary duty for six months on the USS WASP (LHD-1) before the law changed allowing women to serve in a permanent billet on a combat ship. I was the only woman on the ship (total population – 2500 people) for the deployment of the ship to do operations off the coast of Somalia and in the Arabian Gulf. It was a strange circumstance both for me and for the rest of the crew. They were used to being in an all-male environment. Extremely interesting time.

  7. Congratulations Jesse, and to all of you dear Wickeds for your 10th. anniversary! I understand how one could feel like a stranger in a strange land, but we persevere and life does get better if we only focus on the positives…counting our blessings. I have so much to be thankful for, and in trying to answer today’s question I quickly did a survey of my extraordinary life, and could not come up with any instance in which I truly felt out of place. I was born in Chile, and came to the US as an exchange student when I was 15 year-old…I was made to feel welcomed everywhere. I still keep in touch with my host family, who are truly my extended family. I came back for college, and was welcomed so much that I even found my soulmate and was blessed to marry her 54 years ago. I went on to a career in the airline industry, and have been all over this beautiful world, meeting incredible people and immersed myself in so many cultures. So, my answer is a flat “N. O.” I wish all of you dear friends a lifetime of acceptance, success and blessings. For me, you are welcomed warmly at our home as we connect with you via your fun-tastical worlds and characters. You are also invited to come visit our avocado ranch in SoCal. Thank you for all you do. Blessings! luis at ole dot travel

    1. What a lovely story. Interestingly, Edith and I were both exchange students in high school, she to Brazil and me to Colombia.

  8. I probably felt the most out of place my first couple of days in college since I moved away from home. But that quickly evaporated with the friends I met and my class schedule! Congrats on the 10 year and the new book release!

  9. Congratulations to all of you for sticking with it through thick and thin!
    I’ve had my share of SMH interactions with the photography part of my life (while I was on assignment to ‘get-the-shot’ somebody verbally attacked me for getting in the way of her vacation shot). On the writing side, I’ve had to change access because of Kerrian stalkers. But overall, the up side has made the down side worth the inconveniences. 99% of the followers have been delightfully supportive.
    A heartfelt thank you for all the wonderful hours of reading during the last ten years! Here’s to many more.

  10. Congrats, Jessie, on your latest book! And HURRAH to you Wickeds on your 10th anniversary! I totally feel like Publishing is such a strange land–but Writers are the most amazing & supportive people around!

  11. It’s weird, but I have never felt like a stranger in a strange land when I’ve been in strange lands. I’ve always felt welcome. However, I have felt that way here in the US. Maybe it’s because we have such a wonderfully diverse population. There will always be people who disapprove of others. I just get out of those places as quickly as possible.

    1. That is so interesting. I have felt like a stranger in a strange land when abroad, but that’s entirely because I didn’t know how to behave. I have also felt that way in the US, not because of hostility, but because I had no idea of people’s references–and they had no idea that I had no idea.

  12. Every time I’ve started a new job, I’ve felt like a stranger in a strange land. (No need to enter me in the giveaway.)

    1. Ah, the new job strangeness. As I said above, I mostly avoided it by building the company around me, rather than the other way around.

  13. Congratulations on your 10th Anniversary!! What a wonderful accomplishment! And congratulations, Jessie, on the new book! Can’t wait to read it! Years ago, I returned from abroad and couldn’t move back into my house because the tenants wouldn’t leave at the end of the lease term. One of my best friends was a Benedictine nun & she arranged for me to live in the convent temporarily. I definitely felt like a stranger in a strange land! The sisters were wonderful and welcoming & I loved spending time with them. But the rhythm of the days was so different –ordered around attending Mass & praying the Divine Office together. It was a priceless experience, but certainly different from my “normal” day-to-day life!

    1. What an interesting experience! In a lot of ways I would be the worst nun ever, but I do love having a rhythm to the days and year.

  14. I don’t know that I’ve ever consciously felt like this. There has always been a moment of “what did I get myself into?” when I walk into a new situation – like writing. But there have always been enough kind and welcoming people that I never felt like an outsider for long.

  15. So many changes, and so many lessons learned to apply to the next change. I wanted to teach since kindergarten, but upon graduation in ’72 I faced a time of layoffs not hiring of teachers. I worked for Prudential, first as a secretary, then as Minneapolis’s first female Agent. Moving back to St. Louis, I finally got a teaching position in ’80, laid off in ’82, taught study skills all over the U.S. and Jamaica for a year, and finally found my first steady position in a district I loved. Retirement was hard, but then I remembered all those summer of delicious reading, and Elaine Viets informed me of the value to writers of good reviews, so I felt a new purpose, a fun one. Thanks for all the books!

  16. Yes, I have felt that way. I went from a public school to a private strict Southern Baptist Christian school in junior high. It was not that they were hostile, it was just that I never heard of most of what they already knew. I was excelling in private school, but struggled to understand what was being taught as well as the docturine. Going into junior high is hard for most kids, but the culture shock made it worse. I learned so much being in the school through graduation. I had a much better education than the public school students. I am glad I took the journey. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.

    1. That is so interesting. I changed schools 9 times in 9 years through middle and high school (some normal elementary to middle, middle to high, two redistrictings, and then a move to private school. Maybe that’s why I always feel like a stranger!

  17. I have felt like a stanger whn we moved fron from lakeside city to country living in house with no furnace or bathroom at age7.

  18. Woot! Congratulations, Jessie.

    I often feel like a stranger in a strange land. Then I remember two things: 1) I am only an egg :); and 2) this is the land of my choosing so I learn to adapt!

  19. Congratulations Jessie on a second book. Congratulations on 10 years of being Wicked!
    Great question. I have felt like a stranger in a strange land while advocating for my autistic son. He is 43. When he was 4 I told his since fired neurologist he seemed to have autistic tendencies. Well he mansplaned no he is too verbal to be autistic. I didn’t accept he was ADHD. Now we know autism is a spectrum. I don’t have a medical degree but I can read and research. I can sure feel when I am being disrespected.

    1. It’s scary when you realize you know more than the professional.

  20. I worked over 25 years at a bank but when we were downsized, a temporary job wasn’t as good a fit. At the State, the Bureau of Forestry was wonderful. Another department didn’t always seem to want me there. My friend had the same problem at a different department.

    I love Edith’s series and would love to win. I requested Jessie’s new book at the library.

  21. My husband and I went to Reno, Nevada, and he wore a Boston Red Sox baseball hat. It turned into quite a conversation piece for the natives! Most were friendly, but there were a few hostile attitudes.

  22. I remember going to my husband’s godmother’s funeral deep into Louisiana. I was fascinated by all the thick Cajun accents. It almost felt like listening to a foreign language. Everyone I met, though, was very gracious so I felt comfortable, and I liked learning more about the culture and eating delicious food that was new to me,

  23. About ten years ago my family took a cruise. One of the stops was Russia. We found the people there to be very unfriendly and not very smiley!

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