I’ve posted a version of this article before, but I’ve updated it. So here goes. I’ve set eight of my published novels in Maine and the state is also the setting of my work in progress, a blend of romantic suspense and murder mystery to finish my Obsession series. Well, actually, romantic suspense usually involves mystery as well. But this time, my heroine is a Maine Major Crimes Unit detective, so her case is central to the plot. But I digress.
Why Maine, I asked myself. I investigated that idea of the lure of Maine on Amazon.com for books set in Maine or with Maine in the title. My search yielded 36,221 results, both fiction and nonfiction. Next a Google search of Maine authors yielded 2308 results. That lengthy list included authors who lived in the state as well as those who’d set a book in Maine.
This blog is popular because of the wonderful writers here, but another draw is, I suspect, the state of Maine itself. Or maybe the mystique and image of Maine as a setting for all kinds of fiction lures both writers and readers, but I’m thinking mostly of mystery fiction.
Maine has more than a bit of twisted history. For instance, the state’s rugged coastline of peninsulas and hidden indents provided harbors for rum smugglers during Prohibition. Even today, rural peninsulas and small fishing villages are sites for secrets. More than one kind of mischief and mayhem occurs in out-of-the-way coves and harbors. The quiet and isolation of the coast are fuel for the writer’s imagination. Mine included. My Task Force Eagle series involves stopping drugs and weapons smuggling along the Maine coast. Yes, it’s the same lighthouse.
Maine offers more isolation on land, in huge swaths of forested land that’s largely unpopulated. All kinds of mischief and secrets can take place undetected. Headlines in the local news reinforce this notion every day. A man disappears while snowmobiling. His sled is found, wrecked, but there’s no sign of him. A young woman disappears never to be found, or her bones are spotted ten years later when a lumber company is cutting trees. Many Maine authors have taken advantage of this isolation to create moody and suspenseful stories.
People in remote spots live a simpler way of life, independent, and in many ways disconnected from the modern world. Imagine an isolated lake cabin, where people are trapped together because the only way in or out is by boat, and someone has stolen the boat. Someone is stalking… Well, I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.
Then there are the wonderful old houses. And I don’t mean purposefully spooky like Stephen King’s turreted house with bats on the gate and a carved tree trunk. Old houses mean deep family roots with secrets and scandals—including hidden spaces or diaries secreted beneath floorboards or behind fireplaces. Small towns are where people have long memories and hold grudges. Old Colonial and Victorian houses make romantic and evocative settings.
If others have ideas of why people like to read and write about Maine, I’d love to see them.
The Kindle version of DARK MEMORIES, the first book in my DARK Files series, is on sale now through the end of April for only 99 cents. DARK MEMORIES is one of those eight taking place in Maine. The story is set at an old resort somewhere near Camden. Here’s a short description: After museum curator Laura Rossiter witnesses a murder, she runs for her life, finally landing in a Maine resort where she feels safe. Until bad-boy Cole Stratton rides his Harley back into her life… Now a DARK officer, Cole has a mission: protect Laura, the golden girl he’s never forgotten, and flush out a killer. As the danger increases, so does the tension between the ex-lovers. You can find it here: http://getBook.at/DarkMemories