Column #72

Author: Terri Thayer

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:


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Archived blogs:

Column 149: Rosie’s Redwork
Column 148: The Quilt of Belonging
Column 147: Kanthas—The Quilts of Bangladesh
Column 146: Patterns
Column 145: Suzy on Carolyn Mazloomi's Groundbreaking Quilt Exhibit
Column 144: Texas Community Marks Juneteenth Sesquicentennial with History Quilts
Column 143: Maya Embroidered Patchwork
Column 142: Huipil Patchwork Quilts
Column 141: Tom Korn’s Military Medal Quilts
Column 140: The Return of Double Knits!
Column 139: Passage Quilts
Column 138: Home of the Brave Quilts
Column 137: The Story of Fabric Yo-Yos
Column 136: Christmas in July
Column 135: Trifles
Column 134: Deaf Initiatives—Communicating Through Quilts
Column 133: My Betty Boop Quilt
Column 132: Maura Grace Ambrose
Column 131: All You Need Is Love
Column 130: Chicken Linens
Column 129: The Quilted Chuppah
Column 128: Patchwork Around the World: Yoruba Dance Costumes
Column 127: The Bowers Co-Op Quilts
Column 126: Fon Appliqué and Haitian Voodoo Flags
Column 125: The Quilt Garden at The North Carolina Arboretum
Column 124: Harriet Powers and Handful’s Mauma
Column 123: Quilters de Mexico
Column 122: An Appliquéd Surprise
Column 121: Matisse’s Fabric Stash
Column 120: Soogan—The Cowboy’s Quilt
Column 119: The Ron Swanson Quilt
Column 118: HClarkdale, Georgia—A Thread of History
Column 117: How WWI Changed the Color of Quilts in the United States
Column 116: Wagga—The Bushman’s Quilt
Column 115: All in the Family
Column 114: The Alabama State Quilt
Column 113: Balloon Quilts of Albuquerque
Column 112: The Family That Quilts Together, Stays Together
Column 111: Two Rivers, Three Sisters
Column 110: Quilters Helping Quilters
Column 109: Community Cookbooks and Fundraiser Quilts—Parallel Histories
Column 108: Quilting to Freedom
Column 107: National Quilting Day
Column 106: The Airing of the Quilts
Column 105: A Call for a National Juneteenth Commemorative Quilt
Column 104: Dominoes
Column 103: 1936 Texas Centennial Bluebonnet Quilt
Column 102: Helen Blackstone, A Texas Quilter
Column 101: Montana CattleWomen Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 100: 100th Suzy's Fancy Column!
Column 99: Montana Stockgrowers Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 98: The Tobacco Sack Connection
Column 97: Meet the Sisters Who Are State Fair Quilting Queens
Column 96: The connection between fairs and quilts.
Column 95: Her Mother Pieced Quilts
Column 94: Rebecca Barker’s Quiltscapes
Column 93: The Thread and Thimble Club Mystery

See other archived columns here

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