Today’s Book Club Friday guest is Charlotte Adams, the creation of award-winning mystery writer Mary Jane Maffini. In addition to the four Charlotte Adams books, the very prolific Mary Jane is the author of the Camilla MacPhee series, the Fiona Silk adventures and nearly two dozen short stories. Visit Mary Jane at www.maryjanemaffini.com.
Mary Jane has graciously offered a copy of Organize Your Corpse, the first book in the Charlotte Adams series, to one of our readers. Simply post a comment to the blog to be entered in the drawing. -- AP
Charlotte Adams here! I guess you could call me the ‘star’ of the Charlotte Adams mysteries. I am thrilled to be a guest at Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers. Honestly, it’s great to take a break from work for once. Between running Organized for Success, my own professional organizing business, and finding myself pulled into investigating weird murders every couple of months, I barely have time to indulge my own hobby: collecting shoes.
I’m looking forward to this chat, although I am more familiar with crafty killers in the dictionary sense of ‘crafty’ being marked by underhandedness, deviousness, or deception. I suppose if I’d realized just how crafty some of these villains were, I might have thought twice about moving back to my home town of Woodbridge, New York, on the scenic Hudson.
Never mind. It’s the perfect place for me, reconnecting with my childhood friends – the misfits – in our friendly and historic town. It’s also a great way to make a living. I believe in the power of organizing. I think my writer, Mary Jane Maffini, does too, although you might not believe it from the look of her office right at the moment. “Deadlines! You wait until this #$%^ book is finished,” she puffs. I have tried to explain to her that a few minutes at the start or the end of each day would mean a much more manageable work space.
But never mind that either. I’m getting a bit off topic. I am told that I can be just the tiniest bit obsessive and even bossy. I mean really, what’s that about?
Today would seem to be a good opportunity to pass on to you crafty types a few tips that were useful to my author. She says ‘creator’, but I think that just screams hubris. She’s crafty too. In the sense that she loves to knit, sew, draw, garden, and attempt to train her miniature dachshunds (who are a lot like my own Truffle and Sweet Marie). She’s also hooked on television crime shows.
Last year she started carrying on about not having time for hobbies as she had three (!!!) series to manage. I bit my tongue and barely managed not to say that only one was really important. I respect my ‘sister’ characters too much for that. But back to topic. I sat down and had a chat with her about a strategy. Well, I sat down. Mary Jane was stretched out on the sofa with a book. Did I mention she’s also addicted to mysteries?
“It’s all about choices and timing,” I said gently but firmly. I don’t huff or rant or shriek, no matter what she claims in the books. “Why not focus on one craft or hobby per season? You won’t feel so frazzled and you have to admit the price is right.” I noticed Mary Jane eyeing me over the top of the book. Maybe this once she was listening. I continued, “Remember how helpful you found my storage suggestion using clear plastic salad boxes for your ever-expanding stash of yarn? You can see what yarn is where and you can stack them right up to the ceiling. They’re free too.” That may have been a nod.
Believe it or not, this worked for her. Concentrating on one hobby at a time, she got the new cushion covers done for the deck in the spring and knit a half-dozen of dog sweaters and one child sweater while glued to TV crime shows in the winter. To tell the truth, the garden has looked better and she has yet to pick up her sketch pad this year, but she tells me she’s very glad to have her knitting hobby back. She may have even said ‘thanks.’ Or that might have been a hiccup. Whatever. I’m here to serve. And I have lots of ideas to help her out.
I love helping other people, not just her, and offer a bonanza of organizing tips in every Charlotte Adams book. They’re at the head of each chapter. Being adult readers, you are free to read and ignore or even skip over them. I can accept that. I hope to meet you on the pages of Closet Confidential, my fourth outing as an amateur sleuth. It launches on July 6th. Mary Jane promises me I won’t have to worry about duct tape or fires or broken glass in this one. That’s a relief, although I don’t want to let my guard down. I hope you’ll drop in. I’m sure you will be safe. But keep in mind: show me your closets and you show me your secrets.
Thank you, Mary Jane, for allowing Charlotte to stop by today. Anyone want to read more about Charlotte? Post a comment to the blog to be entered in the drawing for Organize Your Corpse, Charlotte’s first adventure. -- AP