Kate Flora: There’s an old New Yorker cartoon I remember from my childhood, where
the husband is saying on the phone: “She’s not here. She’s at fine stores everywhere.” Well, for me—the second-hand queen—I am rarely found at stores, but whenever possible, I am found in libraries.
There is no place a writer likes better than the library. The vast majority of us are voracious readers, and developing and feeding that reading habit began when we first clutched our library cards and started choosing and taking out books. Growing up, the Vose Library in Union, Maine was a magical place. Every week I would bring home a whole stack of books, and on Friday I would return them and get another stack. Back then I was enchanted by the way writers could pull me out of this world and into the world they had created.
I still am.
Becoming a writer—crossing that threshold into creating stories as well as reading them—has brought me into libraries in a new way. Now I visit to talk with readers. To get their perspective on my books. To hear what they wonder about. Sometimes to hear how deeply attached they’ve become to my characters. It is readers, of course, who have led me change my mind about ending the Joe Burgess series. It was supposed to be a quartet, but now I’ve written book five and am pondering on the plot for book six. Libraries foster these relationships between writers and readers by providing opportunities to speak about the process, the research, and to connect with people who are fascinated by writing and storytelling.
Last year, I joked that I hoped to eventually visit every library in Maine. So far, I’ve only taken baby steps, but with my co-written Maine game warden memoir, A Good Man with a Dog, http://amzn.to/1PuSQwI on the publication horizon, I’m hoping retired game warden Roger Guay and I will get to visit a whole lot more in 2016.
Here are some snapshots of 2015 in the library. Where will 2016 take me?