I first met Thea Devine years ago when she spoke to the Maine chapter of Romance Writers of America. Long before E. L. James set fingers to keyboard, Thea was the acknowledged “queen of erotic romance.” It turns out this talented and prolific novelist also has long-standing ties to Maine.
In My Mind …
One of the first things my to-be-husband asked me shortly after we met was, do you want to go to Maine with me?
I was a city girl, born in Brooklyn, living in Newark. What did I know about Maine?
I came to Maine shortly after sunrise on a cool August morning where, on the Kittery Bridge, the temperature dropped another ten degrees as we crossed the state line. We had another two hours to go to get to the newly renovated camp on a lake in southwestern Maine that my husband’s parents had bought several years before. I had no idea what to expect. What I found was a railroad style cabin with a full living room and wood stove, a bedroom, a bunk room, bathroom, kitchen, electric and running water.
We’ve summered there for 46 years, weeks and months at a time, with kids, dogs, cats, alone. We’ve picnicked, antiqued, swam and canoed in the local lakes, gone to every local fair — imagine my youngest son, city-born and street-wise, chosen to compete in a pig scramble at one of them — and I’ve written good portions of several books up there at the little desk overlooking the lake that my husband rigged up for me on the porch.
I love it there. What I especially love is how time stretches. That everything has a pace and a time and that anything that needs to be done gets done by four pm, so we can sit on the porch and inhale the peace, the quiet, the calm, and just talk. Or not.
You might ask why we never moved there. I have no answer — we thought about it for years. I corresponded for many years with our neighbor up the road before she died. She wrote wonderful stream-of-conscious letters about life in Maine during the winter. They kept Maine my mind and heart when I couldn’t be there..
But I set portions of two books in our little corner of Maine. I imagine living there. I think about my characters living there, I dream up mysteries that haunt the woods behind our house, monsters that live in the lake, secrets buried for generations in the attics and cellars of abandoned farms that dot the hills, heroines returning to their roots, running from their bad decisions, heroes who are local, hard-bitten and wise.
And sweet sultry romance in a place where time moves slower, the air is clear, the water sparkles, where neighbors are always ready to help, and where, forty-six years after the fact, people still know your name.
Thea Devine’s books defined erotic historical romances. She’s the author of twenty-five erotic historical and contemporary romances, and a dozen novellas, all laced with a mystery. Her 2008 contemporary erotic romance, His Little Black Book, was reissued October 2012. Her sequel to The Darkest Heart (June 2011), Beyond the Night, will be a Pocket Star release September 2013. She is a Romantic Times Romance Pioneer honoree. She’s been married forty-six years to John, who has been summering in Maine since he was a teenager.
How lovely to reconnect with Thea! Thea and I were friends several years ago when I was active in the NY Romance Writers and served as the Program Chair. Thea was a star and always gave me and the audiences such wonderful good writing advice!!! Thema Straw
“She wrote wonderful stream-of-conscious letters about life in Maine during the winter.” We all know people like this and they’re wonderful reminders and resources about living in Maine. Thanks for a neat guest column.