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I read a piece in The Guardian about Project Bookmark Canada, an organization that’s mission is to “place permanent markers displaying text from stories and poems in the locations where they take place.”
What a novel idea (pardon the pun).

Though I am a writer of fiction, my first two novels are set in the real world, with only minor geographic variances here and there for a variety of reasons. For example, I invented several streets in Something Missing in order to avoid misidentifying any real homes located in the area with the homes described in my book.

I wouldn’t want people to mistakenly assume that one of Martin’s clients actually lived in an actual home, though the homes used in the book were loosely based upon the homes of friends and colleagues in the general vicinity.

In fact, both stories take place within the same geographic area, and for a while, I actually toyed with the idea of Martin, the protagonist in Something Missing, running into Milo, the protagonist in Unexpectedly, Milo.

I didn’t think my wife or my agent would like the idea, and they tend to be my litmus test for ideas.

Both stories are set near and around my own home, in the towns of Newington and West Hartford, CT (though Milo takes a long and significant road trip at one point in the book). My new book is set in a fictional Vermont town, but I am drawing many elements of this town from my hometown of Blackstone, Massachusetts, as well as the waterfront district of Rockport, Massachusetts.

It’s just easier this way.

But if Project Bookmark Canada wanted to make an excursion south to the United States, it might be fun to imagine some of the markers that they might place in honor of my first two books.

Mill Pond Park in Newington, CT, a location of some significance in both books

West Hartford’s Town Hall

The Newington Public Library

West Hartford Center, specifically The Elbow Room and Max’s Oyster Bar, two local restaurants

Never mind. I guess my locations aren’t as glamorous as I had originally hoped.

No Comments

  1. EB on May 14, 2009 at 12:48 am

    I don’t think there is any problem with characters from previous books having cameo appearances in future books. Some great authors have been known to do this on occasion, for example, William Faulkner and Sinclair Lewis.

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