Jim Hayman: I don’t know whether it’s something in the air or in the water or whether, as is more likely, it grows out of the general culture of the place. But, for a state with just over a million people, it’s amazing to me how many writers there are in Maine. Talented, accomplished, well-published writers (as well, of course, as many equally talented ones who have yet to be published,)
Though I’ve yet to do a precise count of either species , I sometimes I think there are more writers here in Maine than there are lobsters.
I’m not just talking about crime and thriller writers, the sub-group to which I belong, but writers of every stripe. Poets, literary novelists, memoirists, humorists, writers of speculative, young adult and historical fiction. The list is practically endless.
Anyway, last Saturday, having just completed the final edit of my third McCabe/Savage suspense thriller, Darkness First, I celebrated the book’s completion by joining a bunch of other featured Maine writers at a terrific event.
Along with my wife Jeanne O’Toole Hayman (who is herself a fine artist, another species that abounds in our state) I was invited to attend as one of the fourteen featured authors, the semi-annual Cooks For Books fundraising event held to benefit the Portland Public Library.
Now there are fundraisers and there are fundraisers, but this is one of my favorites. A group of fourteen generous hosts opened their homes and their kitchens and hosted excellent and elegant dinner parties with one or sometimes two writers as featured guests.
Jeanne and I and a second writer, Morgan Callan Rogers, (whose debut novel Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea was published by Viking in January) chatted with a dozen or so readers and enjoyed a delicious dinner at the home of Rob and Robin Whitten on Portland’s Munjoy Hill. Rob is a leading Portland architect and Robin edits Audio File Magazine, the top resource for reviews and coverage of what’s going on in the worl of audio-books.
After dinner we all went over to the Portland Public Library’s Lewis Gallery for champagne and dessert and a chance to mingle with the other writers, hosts and guests.
Anyway, it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening that gave me a chance to meet and talk with a large and impressive group of Maine writers I hadn’t met before as well as a bunch I hadn’t seen in a while.