As a child I spent much time there with family friends. Later I found summer jobs, ways of staying on the island for blissful summers while writing about my experience. My go-to positions were babysitting and being a chambermaid.
I was fourteen. Beach nights were secret and wonderful. Older kids would build a bonfire. Someone always had a guitar. We would surfcast and swim; one July night I felt the the scrape of something cold on my leg, and I had no doubt I'd just been touched by a passing shark.
On rainy days I'd take the kids to the Flying Horses in Oak Bluffs, the oldest platform carousel in America. It arrived on the island in 1884. I'd ride the merry-go-round with the kids and feel free and happy and somehow nostalgic in a way I hadn't yet understood.
All of these experiences went in deep. When I wrote The Silver Boat, about three sisters who return to their island home, the only place they've ever been happy together, I drew on memories, dreams, that elusive nostalgia, and love of my own private Martha's Vineyard.
The character of Harrison--the sisters' best childhood friend--seems to be a favorite of early readers of the novel. I can't wait to introduce you to him--and the real-life best friend who inspired him.
The novel continues in Ireland, home of the sister's long-gone father, and the site of a family secret, but that's another blog post... (and so is Harrison!)