Character Spotlight: Cathy Elliott’s Thea James

imageMeet an antique lover in

Cathy Elliott’s

Quilts of Love novel

A Stitch in Crime

Abingdon Press


The Story

Thea James has accepted an assignment as co-chairperson for Larkindale’s first quilt show extravaganza. Juggling the new assignment with running her antique business, she’s already feeling frayed when things start to unravel.

Mary-Alice Wentworth, a much-loved town matriarch, respected quilt judge, and Thea’s dear friend, is covertly conked on the head during the kick-off Quilt Show Soiree, throwing suspicion on her guests. It also appears that a valuable diamond brooch has been stolen during the attack. The family is furious. But is it because of their mugged mother or the missing diamonds? When a renowned textile expert goes MIA and the famous Wentworth heritage quilt disappears, Larkindale’s reputation as a tourist haven is at risk.

Thea attempts to piece the mystery together and save the town’s investment in the quilt show before Mary-Alice is attacked again . . . with far worse results.

Introducing Thea James

Brief physical description

Medium height & build; blond hair with dark roots if she’s late to the hairdresser, bright, winning smile, and lovely periwinkle-blue eyes.Meg Ryan


I think of Thea as a Meg Ryan-type. NOT Meg, but Meggish. Cute, but not beautiful. With messy, wash-and-wear short hair.

Strengths and weaknesses

Strengths – Thea is a good businesswoman, hard-working, brave, and kind.

Weaknesses – Her imagination goes wild without notice, she procrastinates terribly, and is a klutz by anyone’s description. Thea can never be cool. (I can relate.)

Quirk (if any)

She hates to put her groceries away after a tiring shopping trip, so she grabs only the perishable things and stuffs them in the fridge, leaving the rest for tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes. Her friends and family know about Thea’s mobile cupboard and often look for snacks in the back of her Jeep.

Your inspiration for the character

Thea James been with me so long, it’s hard to say. But perhaps my daughter, who marches adorably to her own drummer, started Thea’s birth. I’d take note of things Heidi would do or say. And think, “I bet Thea would do that, too.” Soon she did. My little amateur sleuth has now matured into her own woman, embracing the traits she gathered along her journey.

Background to the story

I had purchased a book about Civil War quilts and the Underground Railroad and found it fascinating. It made me think about messages in quilts and legacies over time. That was the core spark for me to create the fictional Larkin’s Treasure, a quilt with a secret of great riches that is highly prized. And decide how someone might insert that message into it somehow, yet in a way that isn’t apparent and is mysterious.

Thanks Cathy

Relz Reviewz Extras
Visit Cathy’s website
Buy at Amazon: A Stitch in Crime: Quilts of Love Series and Koorong


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4 Responses to Character Spotlight: Cathy Elliott’s Thea James

  1. I too Civil War quilts and the Underground Railroad and found it fascinating. I’ve quilted for 40 years & I think my favorite to make is the scrap quilt with clothing scraps thrown in for those special memories.. This sounds like a book I’d enjoy reading..

    • Deanna: I love scrappy quilts best. I bet I’d love your quilts. I once found a lightweight HAND-PIECED (I know!) lap quilt top in an antique store and bought it for $8. Later, I learned it is made out of vintage men’s shirt fabric. So much more interesting because it makes me wonder about the story lingering there in the material, in the stitches. The pattern is Jacob’s Ladder. Wish I knew more. Hmm. I’ll have to make up a story! :-)

  2. Can’t wait to renew my acquaintance with Thea…such a delightful person…and fun to be with! Thanks for sharing how you formed her personality!

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