Nancy: Welcome SinCNE member and mystery author, Edith Maxwell, a.k.a. Tace Baker. Thank you for talking to us today as Tace Baker, the name under which you recently published your first mystery novel, Speaking of Murder. First of all, what made you decide to publish under a pseudonym?
Tace: It was a business decision. I am under contract with two publishers for two different series. Under one contract, I write as Edith Maxwell, under the other as Tace Baker.
Nancy: What made you choose the name Tace?
Tace: It’s an old Quaker name. Perfect for Tace Baker because she has a Quaker protagonist. As a matter of fact, I recently learned that Tace Sowle was the first Quaker printer and publisher. Also, the name Tace provides a unique search result, an available URL and an available twitter handle.
Nancy: What’s the best writing tip you ever received?
Tace: “Butt in the chair, fingers on the keyboard.” And it really works.
Nancy: Your protagonist, Lauren Rousseau, is a linguist, and so are you. What can you tell us about linguistics?
Tace: I studied linguistics and, as a matter of fact, hold a PhD in linguistics from Indiana University. It is the study of all things relating to languages, from child language acquisition to the history of words to how many milliseconds long a particular vowel tends to be to how we process language in the brain, and much more. Some linguists spend their careers studying only their native language, so it doesn’t have to include learning a foreign language. Other linguists study language families and traits, such as the use of tone to indicate meaning or grammar, or universal structures, in languages around the world. I discussed linguistics in more detail in a blog post here: http://www.edithmaxwell.com/2010/09/my-protagonist-lauren-rousseau-is.html
Nancy: How can video forensics software help solve crimes? How did you learn about video forensics?
Edith: Video forensics helps investigators clarify and analyze video footage from security cameras. I know something about this software because I used to write technical documentation at Avid Technology, the premier company making video-editing software and hardware products for many years. Ocean Systems’ dTective video forensics enhancement software, which works off an Avid product, is what one of my characters uses. Readers can learn more about video forensics at: http://www.edithmaxwell.com/2010/08/video-forensics.html.
Nancy: Lauren Rousseau, your protagonist, is a Quaker. How does being a Quaker help her solve crime? And what is a Quaker, anyway?
Edith: The Religious Society of Friends was founded by George Fox in England in the 1600s. Friends to this day gather in silent worship and follow the Testimonies of Simplicity, Equality, Truth and Integrity, and Peace. It is in origin a Christian faith, but most modern Friends Meetings welcome attenders of all backgrounds and don’t require a statement of beliefs.
Lauren’s Quaker faith exists in the background of the story, and essentially helps her center and deal with the stresses of looking for her student’s killer, rescuing her best friend from danger, and figuring out her relationship with her boyfriend.
Nancy: What’s the next Lauren Rousseau adventure? When will we be able to read it?
Tace: My next Lauren Rousseau novel is called Murder on the Bluffs. It’s largely written, but since I’m writing another series as Edith Maxwell, as well as holding down a demanding full-time job, it will be a good while before I finish it. In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy reading my Edith Maxwell mystery, A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die, due out next June!
Nancy: Thanks so much for talking to us, Edith. I look forward to reading your novels, whether they are written as Tace Baker or Edith Maxwell!
Edith Maxwell is the author of SPEAKING OF MURDER (Barking Rain Press, under pseudonym Tace Baker) featuring Quaker linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau. Edith holds a PhD in linguistics and is a member of Amesbury Monthly Meeting of Friends. The book was first runner up in the Linda Howard Award for Excellence contest.
Edith also writes the Local Foods Mysteries. A TINE TO LIVE, A TINE TO DIE introduces organic farmer Cam Flaherty and a colorful Locavore Club (Kensington Publishing, June, 2013).
A mother and technical writer, Edith lives north of Boston in an antique house with her beau and three cats.