Cathy Elliott is a full-time
writer who lives in northern California and whose cozy mysteries
reflect her personal interests from playing her fiddle with friends to
antique collecting and quilting. Besides collecting (too much) cool
fabric, she also enjoys hunting for antiques and is several years into
recovery from her eBay addiction. UPDATE: She backslid a while back,
enticed to bid on a 1945 Singer Featherweight. (She won.) But now she’s
back on the wagon. Except for the recent crazy quilt pillow purchase.
She also leads music at church and enjoys time with her grandchildren.
Cathy’s previous plot-twisting works include A Vase of
Mistaken Identity and Medals in the Attic.
After my debut novel went out of print, I secretly hoped for another
adventure for its characters. I especially missed immersing myself in
Thea’s story. I’d come to love the spunky antique dealer turned amateur
sleuth . . . and rookie quilter. A few years passed and I still missed
hanging out in her world. What if I started a new book featuring Thea
James and some of the characters I loved best? Perhaps with a stronger
quilt theme? Would it find a home with a new publishing house? I wrote
up a proposal.
My newest cozy mystery, A Stitch in Crime, was born.
The Quilts of Love books were new to me when my agent called with good
news that the book had found a home there. In fact, it would be the
final book in the series. Excited, I perused the collection, selecting
one to read, and was soon smitten, more eager than ever to add my story
to the rest.
In my novel, Thea was given the role as cochair for small
town Larkindale’s first quilt show. Unfortunately, I knew little . . .
er . . . nothing about chairing such an event. So I tapped an
experienced quilter in my local guild for help. An amazing resource,
she answered all my questions, giving me plot ideas along the way. I
made extensive notes about what could and did go wrong, what sorts of
committees were needed, information about judging, and even anecdotes
that I could twist for my fictive purpose. I was thrilled with all I’d
learned. But I still needed some hands-on experience to make Thea’s
Later that year, our guild hosted its biannual quilt show,
and another kind quilter allowed me to intern in her booth, observing
and asking questions. I took notes on everything, listing the different
displays, the variety of booths, the door prizes, and the hanging of
the quilts. We discussed which ones were awarded ribbons and why. I
took pictures and interviewed quilters. I wrote down choices of
background music and the food served. By the end of two days, I felt I
had enough to give Thea’s quilt cochair role the ring of truth.
the book, the Quilt-Without-Guilt-Guild ladies’ misbehavior was
believable because it could have happened in real life. When other
quilters showed Thea kindness, I knew that was also true to quilter
form. My extensive research and on the job training taught me enough
about what does happen in a quilt show that it was easy to exaggerate
events a bit in Thea’s world.
Overall, A Stitch in Crime
is filled with quirky characters, mystery, mayhem, and an underlying
theme of faith, friendship, and forgiveness. Along with lots of cool
Assault, larceny, anonymous threats. Who knew quilt shows could be this dangerous?
“Fans of inspirational fiction will enjoy the funny, feel-good whodunit.” Publishers Weekly Review, November 7, 2014.