Hi. Barb here.
I spent the weekend at the Machias Wild Blueberry Festival. It seems like a crazy thing to do with a book due in two weeks, but I had some research to complete. In Boiled Over, the second book in my Maine Clambake Mystery series, my protagonist travels to the blueberry barrens of Washington county during picking season–and I’d never made the trip myself.
One of the challenges of writing a series is timing. I finished the last book in November, so I was writing this one mostly over the winter. I did as much research as I could on the internet and in books, and dredged what I could from memories of trips up US Route 1, in order to complete the first draft. But I didn’t feel at all confident, and it came through in the writing.
Then this weekend, the only weekend all summer I could have possibly gone, and in the middle of the blueberry harvest–The Machias Wild Blueberry Festival. I had to go.
And I’m so glad I did–even though it means the next two weeks will be a crazed whirlwind of rewrites.
The weekend was absolutely gorgeous. Perfect weather.
Of course, I realize some Maine Crime Writers have forgotten more about blueberry farming than those of us From Away will ever learn. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, we have a former Blueberry Queen among us.
I didn’t learn anything that would cause massive rewrites, but I would’ve gotten several small things wrong. I had to pass huge No Trespassing signs to see the migrant worker camp where my protagonist has an important meeting. Fortunately, my husband was along to give me courage. “Man, you’d make some detective,” he said in the face of my wimpiness. Which helped me understand how scared my protagonist is when she approaches the camp.
So all and all, good trip. I totally recommend it. Except the trespassing part.