Tag Archive for: New Hampshire


This blog post is part of my ongoing series regarding my new novel, What Happened in Granite Creek. This post contains spoilers, so if you haven’t read the book yet, don’t proceed any further. You’ve been warned! 🙂

For the rest of you, let’s get to it:

Q: How come you don’t resolve who killed Carl, Wayne’s brother? Who did it? I need to know!

A: Carl dies as the result of a hate crime — this the reader knows. Sadly, crimes like this happen too often, and some remain unsolved. While “thread resolution” is important for *most* main threads in novels, this wasn’t a main thread (at least not in my mind), and it felt more true to life that it remain unsolved. At least in this book, the author adds wickedly. Muahahahaha. 🙂

Q: Jamie is a quad amputee, meaning he has no arms and no legs. How could he possibly drive a car, even one that’s been manufactured just for him?

A: I’ll admit that when I first wrote the scene in 2010, I was wondering if I was penning science fiction. Then I saw this video in the summer of 2011 when I was revising the book — it’s a video of Todd Nicely, a quad amputee from the war, and how he is able to successfully drive. It thrills me to see stuff like this!

Q: You killed off a main character that we spent half the book with. Did you ever think twice about it?

A: Honestly, no. In fact, it didn’t occur to me that this might be a problem until I was reading a post on Nathan Bransford’s blog regarding a debate in his forum (I think that’s where it was) about whether it was okay to kill your protagonist. Oops, I thought. But even then, I had no plans to change it. I’ll admit I waited with bated breath for reaction from my beta readers (around 12 people). While some were startled and/or sad about the character’s demise, no one thought that I “couldn’t do that.”

That said, I did start thinking about the readers and how jarring losing a character they’d spent 230 pages with could be. This influenced the cover art (I wanted the cover to convey the fact that someone probably dies), the book description, and the way I’ve talked about the book on this blog and elsewhere. I certainly don’t want it — or anything I write — to be so shocking or unbelievable that it takes the reader out of the story.

Q: Is Granite Creek based on a real place?

A: Nope, it’s entirely fiction, but it’s fiction based on my experience driving through and spending time in some small New Hampshire towns.

Q: What research did you do for this book?

A: I talked with a real CSI guy from my hometown in Framingham, Massachusetts. I spent dozens of hours reviewing videos on how to shoot guns and the parts of a gun. I talked with a woman who is married to a double-leg amputee and who has extensive knowledge on disabilities in general (and how people live their day-to-day lives with them). I quizzed many of my friends and family who lived through the Great Ice Storm of December 2008 so I could get details on what it was like (the storm happened in New England, including Massachusetts, but my town was spared).

Q: Do you think Rosie and Jamie will eventually get together? Will Iris ever “remember” her real role in her mother’s death? Will Wayne and Honey get hitched? And is there anything redeemable about Hank, Wayne’s brother?

A: All good questions. And I promise I’ll answer some in a couple of novellas I’ll be releasing next year. Stay tuned! 🙂

Do you have any other burning questions about the book? Contact me and let me know. I love hearing from readers!

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So far, almost all of my published stuff is based in New England. My short stories “Orange Pineapple” and “Crush” are set on Cape Cod. Forgotten April is set outside of Boston. And then, there’s What Happened in Granite Creek.

Granite Creek is a fictional town in New Hampshire, but some of the places I mention in the novel are very real and dear to me, including two places in particular:

  1. Hodgie’s Ice Cream, which is in Amesbury, Mass., and home of the BEST ice cream I’ve ever had.
  2. Markey’s Lobster Pool, which is located on RT 286 in Seabrook, New Hampshire, as you head towards the beach. It’s a place I’ve frequented since I was a kid, and a place where I enjoyed eating fish and chips and steamers with my mom and grandmother and feeding French fries to the sea gulls that flocked on the outside balcony (something that’s no longer allowed now, though it was common practice back in the day when I was 10 in 1983).

I like including as much “real” local flavor as possible since setting is critical to most stories, often playing a character in its own right. By including real places, I make it that much more enjoyable and relatable to readers who’ve been there or who have been to some place similar. Plus, real places are easier to describe. If I were to tell you about Markey’s Lobster Pool, I wouldn’t need to fake it and make stuff up…I’d simply dial up my memory, or, even better, go on a road trip for “research.”  🙂

How ’bout you? Can you think of books you’ve read where the location played a critical role…and were you happy to learn some of it was real? Share in the comments.

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