instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

LETTERS FROM WAKE ROBIN FARM

Childhood at the Beach

Well, time flies! My little cover model for Someday I’ll Laugh About This, Gillian Stephenson, probably around eleven when she posed for me, just graduated from high school. Congratulations!

Coincidentally, I was just shipping another box of this title to the lovely sisters at Mari’s Books And…..in Yachats, Oregon. I wonder how many titles can claim to be sold exclusively in one store? I was going to write that the book is available on Amazon but nobody buys it there, but when I went to check I saw that, yeah, that’s right, probably nobody has ever bought it through Amazon. That’s kind of what a ranking of 8 million or whatever means! So, Amazon gave up. Can’t blame them.

So, this summer vacation story can be bought only in Yachats, where Mary and Mari, the store's owners, do a great job of hand-selling the book the way only independent book store owners can, doubtless pointing out to customers that Yachats is the actual setting of the book, renamed Perpetua for fictional purposes.

It’s certainly dated in terms of the technology available to my characters; the beloved beach cabin, Sea Haven, doesn’t even have a phone, and cell phones are still in the future. But the heaving emotions of puberty are still the same, and I was so sad to see that last summer, a teenage girl from Eugene died in a rolling-log-in-the-surf accident similar to what I describe in the climax. The need to warn of this Oregon Coast peril will never be out-of-date.

Gillian, my model for Shelby, is the granddaughter of my dear friend, Margaret Anderson, who has herself just released a memoir entitled From a Place Far Away: My Scottish Childhood in World War II.

I loved this book! Read it last night in one sitting and it was so soothing, such an antidote to the current state of political affairs and the degradation of our culture. So pleasant to read about decent people coping with the threat of war as they live through what will in retrospect seem rather idyllic childhoods.

Margaret is a wonderful writer, and she had me laughing out loud over and over, describing her childhood antics. It’s a difficult thing to write about oneself, and she pulls it off to perfection. Fans of her earlier novels—who are no doubt now reading these books to their own children—will definitely want to read From a Place Far Away and learn about the places and incidents that inspired her earlier and much beloved works.

From a Place Far Away is a gem. Don’t miss it!  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Keeping it Local

Yachats—pronounced YA-hots (go figure)—is known as the Gem of the Oregon Coast and boasts a gem of an independent bookstore called Mari’s Books And…..For several years the lovely owners, sisters Mary and Mari, have been cheerfully handselling my set-in-Yachats middle grade novel SOMEDAY I’LL LAUGH ABOUT THIS, making it one of their small-scale bestsellers. Sweet deal--I let the store know when my mother is heading to her beach house in Yachats and she delivers whatever new stock they need of this title plus BRIDES OF EDEN, which also has a local setting. In this person-to-person way, we save shipping costs and keep it local.

For this recent Mother’s Day, my mother was booked with my brother and his clan (four great-grandchildren!) at the Yachats house before I invited her to our smaller gathering, so, to get a card to her on the right day, I sent a Mother’s Day card to the bookshop, with a note to Mari and Mary asking them to hand over the card when my mom showed up with the current delivery of my books.

When I didn’t get a call from my mom, I worried. Had she inadvertently left my books at home and so not visited the bookstore? I didn’t want her to think I’d forgotten her on the big day, and the Hallmark card (first off the rack to choke me up) was a misty-making epistle about a Lifetime Legacy of Love which I knew she’d agree was perfect.

Well, I needn’t have worried. As it turns out, the sister who received the card was not the sister in the store when my mom came in. When they realized the card hadn’t been handed over, Mari took it upon herself to go looking for my mom at the family cabin, knowing only that it was up at the end of Salmon Street. How hard could it be? She ended up delivering the card to my mom as she sat with the rest of the family down on the beach.

Now, I ask you—do you think anybody at Amazon.com would pull through for a writer like that? Please support your local independent bookseller!

And don’t forget to stop in at Mari’s Books And…in Yachats.
 Read More 
1 Comments
Post a comment

Life Imitates Art Imitates Life Etc.

My father’s father, my Papa Bill, was a gentle, handsome man, an artist with the soul of a poet. He loved the Rubayatt of Omar Khayyam, and when he built a cabin at Arch Cape on the Oregon Coast, he inscribed the beam above the fireplace with this line: AND PITY SULTAN MAHMUD ON HIS THRONE.

As a little girl, this fascinated me. In my book SOMEDAY I’LL LAUGH ABOUT THIS, I fictionalized the cabin in Yachats owned by my mother’s very practical and non-poetic side of the family by transporting that line to the beam over the rock fireplace there. As my character twelve-year-old Shelby explains it, it means you feel even luckier than a king, because a palace can’t top a good cabin.

Now my husband and I are building a little cabin on one of our forest properties, and I am copying my grandfather in real life by putting the line over the doors framing the view to the west. I think he would have approved.

The next lines of the poem are perhaps the more famous:

A book of verses underneath the bough
A flask of wine, a loaf of bread and thou
Beside me singing in the wilderness
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise ‘enow!

Well, we’re usually too busy planting or limbing trees to sit around reading poetry to each other, and drinking and chainsaws are not a good mix. But the part about being out there together? Pretty much says it all.

 Read More 
Be the first to comment