Tag Archives: connecticut

Keeping It Local: Setting My Book in Connecticut

When it was time to put pen to paper, the decision about where to set Specter was an easy one. It had to be Connecticut, specifically a loosely-veiled version of the Farmington Valley—this despite the fact that there’s a good amount of myself in Lanie, the sixteen-year-old main character, and I had spent my own high school days in a Chicago suburb very different from the Farmington Valley.

I’ve lived in Connecticut for about ten years now, and it’s taken me a solid chunk of that time to feel like the state is really my home. Moving to the East Coast is a tough transition for a Midwest girl who’s used to open fields—from a zombie apocalypse perspective, I used to staunchly hold the position that I want all that open Midwest space around me so that I can see the undead mob coming. Now, after years of living in the lush, forested valley, my opinion’s made a hundred and eighty degree flip—I’ve grown to love the dense press of trees all around me, the mountains framing the horizon. It’s comfy having this much greenery around, like nature’s version of a lead blanket.

And all that forest provides a perfect setting for a book with much weirdness. Here are just a few examples of the startling things I’ve encountered in the CT woods…

  • Bears at every turn. Morgan Matson needs to get her facts straight; I have no idea what the hell kind of “research” she conducted for Save the Date to claim that there are no bears in CT.
  • This sound. (It was so loud.)
  • Clothes stitched together into the shape of a human body and filled with stuffing to form a punching bag.

I don’t want to give anything away plot-wise, but suffice it to say that the CT woods—and the surprising things within the woods—features heavily in Specter. Weird attracts weird; CT and my book were simply a perfect fit. 🙂

Specter debuts July 7th and is available for preorder at all major retailers.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Kobo | Hidden Bower Press

Unhaul at the Diner

I am not, alas, one of those bookish fortunates who has five gorgeous bookcases. I have just two, and a good amount of that shelf space is shared with my husband or taken up by old sheet music, photo albums, and general paper detritus. So by necessity I have to stay pretty conscious of the books I adopt into my collection and regularly cull those I suspect won’t be read again.

But what would maybe be a sad or painful affair becomes way easier when you know there’s tasty food at the end of the process. You see, I am lucky enough to live fairly close to Traveler Restaurant in Union, CT, which has basically the best bookish proposition of all time: come for a tasty meal and leave with up to three free books. It’s a diner/used bookstore mashup, and the shelves beside the tables are great conversation starters. You never know what you’ll find on the shelves; our previous visit introduced me to these two beauties.

So a few days ago I packed up a whole bunch of books that I don’t need on the shelf anymore, loaded up a backpack, and off we went to Traveler Restaurant!

Goodbye, dear books. You will be missed… but not that much.

The restaurant is very cute, with a yellow Lego-esque roof and flowers outside. Also, if you’re the antiquing sort, there’s an antique shop directly opposite the restaurant.

Here’s the food we ordered; I got the baked haddock with a side of mashed potatoes, and my husband got the Red Badge of Courage burger. It was the name that sold him… and all that bacon. 😛

In addition to the books, the restaurant also has signed portraits up all along the walls of all the celebrities and authors who have visited the restaurant.

Yes, that’s THE Dr. Spock.
Maybe one day yours truly will be up on the wall. >:D

And then, after we finished our meal, we started looking through all the used books! A lot of them are what you’d expect from a used bookstore—tons of older thrillers, mysteries, and contemporaries. There are also bags of romances that you can buy for cheap, and in the basement is a proper used bookstore (with books you have to pay for), selling some of the more choice offerings.

Combing through the stacks, it really hit me how much cover design has changed (for the better, in my opinion). I’ll be honest—a lot of the books were very drab-looking, which is a shame because I’m sure many of them are hidden gems. Yet I did come away with a book that I’ve been meaning to reread for a while—the last time I read it I was in middle school, and I’m pretty sure it went wayyyyyyy over my head.

So that was our cute diner meal/book donation date! I definitely recommend Traveler Restaurant for any book lovers in the area, and I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for any other bookish things to do in the area.