So we’ll start with Waymouth. Waymouth is the town where Will’s 92-year-old Aunt Nettie lives, in my Shadows Antique Print Mystery series. Will has now moved there, too, and it looks as though ….Well, you’ll just have to read Shadows on a Maine Christmas to find out. But, here’s a hint: the next book in the series will probably be called Shadows on a Maine Morning.
Readers have often asked me about Waymouth. Or, more accurately, they’ve told me they’ve deciphered the code: they’re sure they know which town I’m REALLY writing about. Wiscasset, Bath, Brunswick, Boothbay Harbor, Damariscotta, have all been suggested as the REAL Weymouth.
In truth, Waymouth, on the Madoc River, is a little like all of those, with a bit of imagination thrown in. Although my historical novels (Uncertain Glory is the most recent of those) are set in Wiscasset, creating a town like Weymouth allows me to add in whatever my plot calls for: a beauty salon, an old inn, a hospital, a couple of seasonal and off-seasonal restaurants. While my characters do visit “real places” like Portland and Union and Pemaquid and Freeport, Waymouth exists only in my notes and my imagination. And in that of my readers.
But when I started to write the Mainely Needlepoint series (which will debut next week, January 6, with Twisted Threads,) I wanted a new setting for a new cast. Haven Harbor is a small village on the Atlantic. Its town and harbor are sheltered by the Three Sisters — three islands that protect the harbor from the stormiest Atlantic blasts. Haven Harbor boasts its own lighthouse, yacht club, tourist and non-tourist shops, a lobsterman’s co-op, a small rocky beach, and, of course, its own mysteries.
Both Waymouth and Haven Harbor have Congregational Churches, nearby hospitals, houses with history, long-time families, and lots of classic Maine food, from baked beans to maple syrup to rhubarb to fiddleheads to, of course, lobster.
But Haven Harbor is closer to the sea, so its more influenced by the ocean’s moods and tides than is Waymouth, ten miles upriver.
During the nineteenth century days of tall ships, mariners and immigrants from around the globe could be found in Maine ports. Today, Haven Harbor is home not only to descendants of those men, but to others looking for a place to settle. Perhaps to hide.
Who will you meet in Haven Harbor?
Angie Curtis, whose mother was a “bad girl,” and whose own reputation is suspect. She left Haven Harbor when she was 18 and worked for a private investigator in Arizona for ten years. Now, ten years later, she’s back, determined to find her mother’s killer – and confront her own ghosts.
Angie’s grandmother, who started her own custom needlepoint business in her fifties, and found romance at an even later age.
Ruth Hopkins, who supported her late husband, and now herself, for years by doing something she can’t tell anyone in town.
Sarah Byrne, an antiques dealer from Australia who quotes Emily Dickinson.
Dave Percy, an ex-sailor who now teaches biology. And has an unusual garden.
Rev. McCully, who has a collection few other ministers choose.
So – where is Haven Harbor, Maine? It’s a place where people have secrets and mysteries are solved. It’s a state of mind, in the State of Maine.