Even though I’ve spent almost my whole life in Massachusetts, except for a stint in Rhode Island from five to nine years old, I have always searched for a place to call home. There have been a few towns I’ve been fond of, where I planned to spend my life. But then things changed, and I moved. I’ve been in Bradford MA for over ten years. It’s a charming locale but I suspected several years ago that life would change again and eventually I may have to say goodbye to the town. Sometimes I feel like the character of Caroline in Chocolat.
I knew I needed to memorialize Bradford so it could always be my special place. To that end, I’ve made a point of setting almost all my stories and novels in the fictional town of Bradfield, Massachusetts. Several authors have made a practice of this but until I did it myself, I never understood why.
When you write a story, screenplay or book, you usually start with fresh characters and settings. You may or may not know at the outset what will happen to them, or where or how they will end up. But one thing is a constant. Your characters become a part of you. Their stories change your life. Their locales and experiences become your memories and vice versa.
I’m a homebody and crave security, and have always had this fantasy where I was born and raised in a small New England town. Birth to death all in one place. A town where over the course of my life I would come to know all the residents and hear their stories. There was a terrific dark book by Jonathan Carroll called, Land of Laughs, in which a character/writer created an entire living town of his characters. Silly as it sounds, it was a book that altered my life a bit, at least from a literary standpoint. It made me want to live in a town where I knew all the characters.
And so I created the town of Bradfield. To date, ten of my stories (maybe more) and four novels have been set there. I’ve featured Bradfield Books, Bradfield Antiques, Bradfield Elementary School and probably local spots I’ve forgotten. My town has children and adults and pets. Murderers and magic, ghosts and revenge and kidnappings. Snow angels, a cutting edge cancer enter, attics filled with spirits, and one time had a raging flood which altered the landscape for years. I can picture the fictional downtown, have walked its streets, know which meals are good in the diner and which to avoid. With each story and novel, I meet more of the residents, and Bradfield becomes slightly more real.
I hope you read my stories and novels someday so you can talk a walk through Bradfield and experience the magic it offers.