Author: Terri Thayer
Author: Terri Thayer
“Quilters have all sorts of sharp instruments at their disposal—it just seemed natural to murder somebody with a rotary cutter,” joked Terri Thayer, author of the Quilting Mysteries. The East Coast native and California transplant has penned four books in this popular series to date: Wild Goose Chase, Old Maid’s Puzzle, Ocean Waves, and the recently-completed Monkey Wrench. She has begun writing the fifth, which has a working title of Robbing Peter to Pay Paul.
According to Thayer, sometimes a traditional quilt pattern name generates the idea for a book; other times the story comes first and she then searches for a suitable pattern name to complement the story. For example, Monkey Wrench was suggested by readers of her blog, who had read a brief synopsis of the plot.
The heroine of the series is 30-something Dewey Pellicano, who inherited a quilt shop from her mother. Dewey does not start out as a quilter, although she loves quilts. She has a somewhat edgy persona and she is not afraid to show her sexy side.
“I wanted to bust the stereotype of the traditional quilter and create a character who shows a different aspect than what is often expected,” Thayer says. “The quilters I know are funny and they have opinions. They are not all sweetness and light. They are real people who like to have fun—all types of fun.”
Thayer, who has been quilting for over 20 years, did not grow up in a quilting family. She learned to sew in her seventh-grade Home Economics class and she taught herself to quilt from a book after she decided to make a quilt for her son. Once she began quilting, her mother and aunt took it up as well, and she later learned that her grandmother had made utilitarian quilts but that they were “all used up” before Thayer ever had a chance to see them. Quilting is Thayer’s “go-to thing” when she wants to get away from writing, and she especially enjoys the social aspect of quilting with friends and family.
She had always been a reader, and after being laid off from her job, she decided to try her hand at writing. “I’ve always been a person who learned from books, so I went to the library and checked out a book on how to write a romance novel,” Thayer recalls. “My romance got rejected, but it got me started.”
Things began to gel when she heard a lecture by mystery writer Laurie King and joined the California Writers Club, attending meetings, taking classes, going to lectures, and becoming part of a critique group. “They are still my best critics,” she adds.
Thayer especially loves mysteries and she noticed that her quilting friends liked to read mysteries as well. She recognized that there might be a market for mysteries with a quilting theme. “Most quilters like to read, and a lot of them listen to audio books when they quilt,” Thayer says. “I’m not really sure why so many quilters like mysteries. Maybe it’s because they like puzzles and they like to create order out of chaos. Plus, there is something really satisfying about tying up all the loose ends and seeing justice done. At the end of a mystery, the world gets set right.”
Terri Thayer and her amateur sleuth Dewey do know how to tie up all the loose ends, and whether it pertains to making a quilt or solving a mystery, there is, as Thayer says, something really satisfying about that.
Terri Thayer is also the author of the Stamping Sisters Mysteries and she is working on a new web-based quilting series entitled Tales of the Quilt Shop with different characters, serial episodes, and an accompanying Block-of-the-Month. More information can be found on Thayer’s website: www.territhayer.com
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Column 52: True Confessions: First Quilt
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