Q&A With Jessa Maxwell

New Information about Upcoming Book Related News

Q&A With Jessa Maxwell 

Tim O’ Connell who is the editorial director at Simon & Shuster who I recently did a Q&A with was kind enough to connect me to his wife Jessa Maxwell who has a debut novel titled The Golden Spoon coming out on March 7th. The Golden Spoon is a murder mystery taking place during a baking competition filmed for TV. I finished reading the book at midnight. It’s definitely a novel which will keep you up late at night.


Q: How did you conceive of such a brilliant idea for a novel? I love murder mysteries and I enjoy the baking competition shows. 

A: Well, thank you! I do too. I had been thinking about writing my own mystery for years and had been toying with several ideas but in the summer of 2021, I decided enough was enough I had to write the damn thing or I never would. It was then I really began to seriously consider my options and had lots of long intense phone calls with my mom about what that book should be. At one point I wondered out loud about setting a book at a baking competition. And I suddenly knew I had something. I loved watching the Bake Off and would get so emotionally invested in each of the contestants. I also loved how the setting allowed me to put a bunch of people together of different ages and backgrounds who under normal circumstances would never have met. 

Q: When did you realize that your calling was to be an author? 

A: Before I knew I wanted to write I knew I wanted to live in my imagination. As a child I created elaborate stories to entertain myself, as most children do, I’m sure. It took me a while to realize I wanted to write. And for a very long time even though I was writing—I wrote and illustrated six picture books with HarperCollins and wrote articles for magazines and newspapers—I didn’t really have the confidence to pursue larger projects. I would start something only to feel that heaviness in my chest when I ran up against a problem and I would put the project aside. I think it’s this way for so many people who have ideas. Working through the issues that come up in your project takes an enormous amount of hard work and more than a bit of self-esteem. But I think the comforting thing about writing is that finishing the book half the battle. 

Q: I saw on your Instagram account that The Golden Spoon is being adapted into a limited series. Are you an executive producer and writer for the project? I’m glad authors are smartening up and they are being more involved in the tv and film adaptations of their work. 

A: I am a producer and a consultant on the series but not a writer. Aline Brosh McKenna who has adapted some great material in the past—The Devil Wears Prada for example—wanted to write the script and I’m more than happy with that! I’ve read the first episode and while it is very different than the book it is quite fun. We’ll see what happens! Hollywood is very slow, slower even than publishing, and very fickle. It’s actually much harder than you’d expect to write on the adaptation of your book. 

Q: We were chatting on Instagram and I told you that I hope you are writing more murder mysteries. You replied that you were working on it. If you’re allowed to reveal any details, are you writing a sequel to The Golden Spoon, or is your next murder mystery novel a standalone novel with a different plot? 

 A: The next one is a standalone. I’ve gotten pretty deep into it but not quite far enough where I want to divulge too much. What I can say is that it is another locked room style mystery with a lot of fun characters and it takes place by the ocean. 

Q: Who would you cast to play the characters in The Golden Spoon limited series?

A: Ohhh in my wildest dreams? Jane Lynch or Glen Close would be so fun as Betsy! I think Anya Taylor-Joy would nail Hanna, for Stella, maybe Selena Gomez? Meryl Streep for Lottie no question! I like to picture Gerald as played by Jeffrey Wright. For Pradyumna I’d love if it were Rahul Kohli! My favorite! 

Q: Is it fair to say that the characters you created in your novel are based off of anyone you know in real life? I like it when an author can create people and places and sometimes base them off of a person or many persons and base a fictional place off of a real one. 

A: I don’t think they are actually, no one specific I can think of anyway. Of course, their personalities are inspired by a hundred different interactions I’ve had as well as books and movies and television I’ve consumed over the years.