In which I embrace my small town roots…

Authorial Endeavor #022. On May 24, 2013, I participated in my first library-organized speaking event. This Author Talk was sponsored by the community library in Marine on St. Croix, a quaint little town that’s just a stone’s throw from the acreage where I grew up. I’ll tell you about the event, and share pictures that may just remind you of Prissie Pomeroy’s hometown in the Threshold Series.

Age FourI was delighted to be welcomed by Sue Logan and the Marine Community Library. The event was co-sponsored by Christ Lutheran Church in Marine on St. Croix, and that’s where we met. Once we were inside, I realized I knew the place. You see, I was a one-year-old when we moved into the Scandia-Marine area … and I attended Red Bridge Preschool, which was located there. My mom found a blurry old photo from when I was four-ish. What makes this extra fun for me is that in Rough and Tumble, Zeke Pomeroy’s now four … and he’s due to start preschool in just a handful of chapters!

100_3799I’d completely forgotten the beauty of the sanctuary inside Christ Lutheran Church. They have carved wood pews, a pipe organ, stained glass windows, and a balcony. Although it’s smaller than the Presbyterian church Harken attends in West Edinton, all the right elements are in their proper place. I took a snapshot of one of their windows. (Notice the diamond panes. Insert author’s squee of delight.) Like many of the local historical buildings, Marine Lutheran Church has Scandinavian stenciling along the walls, and the scripture verse painted at the very front of the sanctuary is in Swedish.

The Author Talk itself was enjoyable. We were a small group, but the Q&A session was lively. At least two young, aspiring authors were there, and they came ready with questions! (Many of which were fun!) I jotted down a sampling…

♦ Will your digital stories ever be available in print format?
♦ Do you have a favorite color?
♦ What were your favorite childhood books and authors?
♦ If your series was ever made into a movie, would you go see it?
♦ What author has most shaped your writing style?

Author Talk, Marine 5.24.13

LibraryAs I explained to my audience, I practically grew up in the Marine Branch Library. Some of my earliest memories are of climbing the step stool to reach my favorite books … and dawdling afterward at the fence out front to look down on the waterfall that splashes past the building.

Now, I only borrowed a few things from Marine when I was building Prissie Pomeroy’s home town. I’d say West Edinton is actually cobbled together from five or six different small towns that my husband and I lived in or near. Some in Minnesota, some in Michigan. It’s easy to spot key elements!

Fun Facts:
♦ West Edinton’s library is also a single room located inside their town hall. (This is established right away in The Blue Door.)
♦ I put a creek behind Prissie’s small town library. That detail shows up in Angels All Around.
♦ There was a stereo in the back corner, always set to the classical music station. (Another detail from Angels All Around.)
There’s a big gazebo out front of West Edinton’s town hall, where the librarians sometimes host story time for youngsters. Zeke attends these with his older siblings in Rough and Tumble (Chapter 133: Up, Down, In, Around). I borrowed that bandstand/gazebo from Marine on St. Croix.

Gazebo

When I was old enough to have a little money to spend, the building next door offered a special enticement: penny candy. The General Store had rows of it behind the counter, and I always took a long time trying to decide how to spend my nickels and dimes.

General Store

As a teen, I secured my first job in that very same library. I knew what was on every shelf and spinner in the place, and I read a goodly portion of it. Classics, adventure, sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery were my favorites … and still are. I loved working there. And it was a treat to be welcomed back.

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