Maia Chance, national and Amazon bestselling author, writes mystery novels that are rife with absurd predicaments and romantic adventure. She was born in rural Washington State, grew up in small-town Moscow, Idaho, and after living in upstate New York and Boston for a decade, she returned to the Seattle area. She now makes her home with her family on magical Bainbridge Island.
FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)
How did you get started as a writer?
The usual way, I guess: secretly writing badly structured novels as a teenager, considering writing an impractical dream (while meanwhile majoring in MUSIC. Hah.), publishing some very embarrassing and hacky romance novels in my 20’s, then when I was pregnant with my first child and in the thick of graduate school I thought, hey, why not write a mystery novel right now? Well, I wrote it, it got rejected all around (by the few agents who didn’t axe me at the query letter stage), yet, interestingly, that’s how I met my agent, the marvelous Stephany Evans, and a few years after that I published my first mystery, Snow White Red-Handed.
Where do you get your ideas?
From all over the place. Mildewy old magazines, eavesdropping on others, traveling, television and books, my own experiences. I think of our imaginations as splendid recycling plants in which everything that goes in can come out again in a new and shining form.
When are you going to finish your dissertation? (This question frequently asked by a certain professorial type.)
SOON. I think. I have one chapter to go on my PhD dissertation in English Literature. It’s about 19th century New England writing. Am I remembering that correctly? Anyway, I will most certainly announce it to the world when I become Dr. Chance. And there will be cocktails.
What were the worst and best jobs you’ve ever had?
Worst: I loathed being a front desk clerk at a hotel. Granted, it was a boutique hotel in Boston, not a creepy serial killer-frequented motel on the interstate, but I became a bit disillusioned about humanity on that job. A favorite job was working as a clerk in a handmade chocolate shop. We were actually required to sample the wares in order to be the most excellent employees we could be. I was a real go-getter about that. Oh—and being a writer is a dream come true. I am so fortunate.
What would you be if you weren’t a writer?
A vintage house flipper. I have an unholy obsession with fixer-upper houses. If I see a shabby old house—Craftsman, farmhouse, shingle cottage, mid-century marvel, you name it—something comes over me. A junkie sort of thing. It’s not wholesome. I recently met another house-addict and he hunched low over the table and whispered, “What’re you using?” I got all twitchy and whispered back, “Houzz. Pinterest. Sometimes a little Redfin if I need a bigger hit.”
What is your biggest time waster?
See previous FAQ.
LKF’s (Little Known Facts)
Maia was born when her archaeologist parents were on a dig at Kettle Falls, WA. It was the 70’s, ok? (Note: the LATE 70’s. Just for clarification.)
Maia suffered from chronically bad hair as a child, since her mother insisted on cutting it. Maia has four siblings and no longer begrudges her mother this household economy. (Note: Maia has also inflicted bad hair upon herself, most notably when she decided to trim her bangs following an orchestra concert after-party in Yekaterinburg, Russia during which copious amounts of vodka and some sinister little pastry things were served.
Maia studied violin at the prestigious Eastman School of Music with the renowned Oleh Krysa. She also holds a master’s degree in music, a bachelor’s degree in English, and a master’s degree in English. She was recently was asked by her dentist how she was ever going to get a real job with such a useless roster of degrees. She couldn’t supply a coherent answer (possibly b/c of the dental tools, foams, etc.) However, she has had the pleasure of performing with orchestras in concert halls all over the world, from Arkansas to Carnegie Hall. So there.
Maia reportedly bakes “the best cakes” (unattributed source). Friends and family favorites include pumpkin w/ cream cheese frosting, vanilla w/ milk chocolate buttercream, mocha Bundt, and coconut layer cake w/ lemon curd filling.
Maia is married to Zach Jonasson, who gives the best pep talks and is the cleverest plot-point doctor in town. They have a six year-old son, a four year-old daughter, and an eight year-old Austrador (that’s the fancy name for a Labrador/Aussie mix). Time with family is the centerpiece of life and the reward for all of her hard work.