Kate Flora: It’s summer in Maine. For many, it is the season of vacation, of ponds and lakes and oceans, of farmer’s markets, of tending vegetable gardens or picking berries. For writers, it is the season of libraries, book fairs, street fairs, and book stores, and a chance to meet readers and talk about the stories we tell and the process we use to tell them.
During the summer, I put a lot of miles on my car. Sometimes it can be exhausting, especially those long drives back to Bailey Island late at night when it seems that every road is under construction. But traveling to different parts of the state is a treat, too. I love all the different “Maines” that I get to see and appreciate the work that people put into organizing author events. A few summers ago, I vowed that eventually I would visit every library in Maine. I am slowly knocking them off my list, but Maine has so many libraries it’s going to take a while.
Here are some of the library and bookstore adventures from last summer, and early this year:
A wonderful mystery author “Death and Desserts” with sister writers Dorothy Cannell and Lea Wait at the Liberty, Maine library. If you aren’t familiar with “Death and Desserts,” it’s an event that features both crime writers and criminally amusing desserts. For this one, the library had gone all out to create a devilishly funny feast, and capped the event by drawing a chalk outline of Dorothy’s handsome grandson on the asphalt outside the library door. Not only is this a great library, but across the street, for tee shirt fans, is Liberty Graphics, where you can get Blueberries for Sal and One Morning in Maine onesies for little readers. http://lgtees.com
A trip to the Rangeley Library, a beautiful arts and crafts library with a gorgeous and beautifully tended library garden. If the pleasure of seeing that part of the state wasn’t enough, the library also arranged for us to stay at Highland Heath House http://www.highlandheathhouse.com a spectacular Bed & Breakfast overlooking Rangeley Lake, with gorgeous rooms, a marvelous view, and a gourmet breakfast. This was an amazing treat, since writers, while always assumed to be rich, are lucky if we make enough to pay for gas and bookmarks.
A day at the Beyond the Sea Book Festival in Lincolnville, http://www.beyondtheseamaine.com where the bookstore owner, Nanette Gionfriddo both made us very welcome and provided a much appreciated chance for authors who generally live solitary lives at our writing desks to spend time together. We also got to enjoy view of Lincolnville Beach and meet readers from all over the country. This year, the event will be on Saturday, July 30th.
In September, courtesy of the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, there was Murder by the Book, a Friday night and all day Saturday event with workshops and panels. The Jesup really knows how to throw a party. We writers got treated like royalty—with a wonderful Friday dinner and an overnight stay at The Bluenose Inn, http://barharborhotel.com a place with rooms so gorgeous I wanted to move there and never leave.
And of course this past weekend, it was Books in Boothbay, a yearly summer bookfair. The best place to meet other authors, and readers. The books, as always, were provided by Sherman’s, lunch by Boothbay Harbor merchants, and the clever and energetic Jen Blood created a crime scene and a whodunit detective game for everyone to play. I seem to have been the prime suspect, owing in part to my shoe size, but I swear it wasn’t me.
There are many more summer book events ahead, so keep your eye out for Maine Crime Writers. Check out our weekend update. We’re everywhere. And if you can’t find us? Well, maybe it’s time to organize an event and invite us.
Happy Reading in Maine.
p.s. Tonight (Tuesday, July 12th) Jen Blood, Lea Wait, and I will be at the Belfast Library at 6:30. We’d love to see you there.