If you’re so inclined, you may buy it or view an excerpt on Amazon here. It's also starting to get picked up at local shops: Letterpress Books in the Portland Northgate Shopping Center, The Dolphin Restaurant (since they are Chapter 12!), Lands End Gift Shop in Bailey Island.
I hope you’ll share it far and wide, buy it as gifts for friends, and join me in introducing our beautiful state of Maine to others “from away.” We are blessed to come from this place.
Eventide is an archaic word meaning evening.
In the story, three couples, old friends, are cruising from Portland, Maine to Monhegan Island in Sir Fishalot, a 61-foot Viking sport fishing boat for an overnight, hoping to see the Northern Lights.
Can you just imagine the beauty of Casco Bay and the midcoast early September, under bright sunshine and a royal blue sky, whitecaps glistening as a wide wake forms behind the boat? Wind in your hair, sun on your face, the fresh smell of salt air.
This group hadn’t been out on the boat since their twenties. Now middle-aged, with the baggage that ebbs and flows in a life lived that long, what starts out joyful, ends in tragedy.
Over the course of the day, their troubles and sadness seeps out as conversation (and drinks) flow.
By evening, back on the boat, after trekking around Monhegan for the afternoon, rain sets in. Rolling seas. Mystery. Anger.
And then, after an accident, an opportunity is taken. By evening, it all falls apart.
Collusion in murder….can it ever work?
Eventide is written in the genre of Gone Girl, Girl on the Train, Big Little Lies.
Murder…with a twist.
My early readers said they “kicked it” to the end, pushing to finish once they got into the finale. They were surprised by the ending….and asked me several questions…always the sign of a good read!
The back story of how this book came about is as compelling as the story itself.
Like the couples in the book, my husband and I have spent time on Bill Covens’ boats since our twenties. And now, at the culmination of Eventide, I can say that the time I’ve spent on Bill’s boats has been a marker in my life, a turning point, a meaningful occurrence….an anchor. One of those several life events that would mark my future trajectory. I am grateful to have had the opportunity.
And from it…Eventide has come to life
Late summer 2014, when we three “real” couples were on Bill’s boat, my husband described going shark fishing the prior fall with Bill, heading out at sunrise, just the two of them, an excursion they had done many times before.
“You know what would be the perfect crime?” my husband asked. “Two go out….one comes back. No witnesses. No body. It’s a perfect crime.”
Bill only grinned. He was a long-time seaman after all. Maybe that thought had long since crossed his own mind.
My husband told we three couples this conversation late summer 2014. We laughed. Funny.
Well….what about that?
For two years after that, every time we three couples were on the boat, we’d discuss “the perfect crime.” We mused in detail what someone would have to do to you to make you feel you needed to push them overboard, miles out to sea, that that was the only way out. What would someone have to do to you for you to murder them in such a gruesome way, leaving them drowning in open waters?
After two years of this banter, and lots of jokes and laughs, Captain Bill turned to me with a serious expression and said, “You need to write this.”
And in an instant, I knew he was right.
I write nonfiction – memoir, travel, self-help, articles. But I do know Maine, and knew I'd love to share the beauty of boating up the coast.
Fiction, a murder, dark – is a stretch for me though.
But Bill brought me on the boat as a student for over a year, in the gray and the mist and fog. He made me drive the boat. He showed me charts. He quizzed me.
As I dug into it, my 3 couples (a.k.a. my friends) were becoming caricatures. Oh my...this might be too unsavory. Creative license? How far could I stretch…without losing friends? I had no idea their appetite for what this all might entail. Were they really up for this? The possibilities I might imagine? What started out as them in my mind quickly turned into three-dimensional characters….and not-them.
I set out, put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard.
I wrote the first four chapters….and the last four. I wasn’t sure if I could pull off the surprise ending without saying “he, “she,” or divulge what/who was going down.
But I did it.
And I liked it.
I proceeded to write the middle over the next 18 months.
The original draft sprinkled meaningful song lyrics throughout. The 80’s sound track plays in the background under the loud sound of the boat’s motor and the squawking of gulls. For folks of this age, I find music is still very important, particularly old music from their heydays. Because our group, from the beginning, could see the story as a movie, I thought I’d create the sound track from the get-go.
But I learned that adding lyrics to books is nearly impossible. My attempts to get the rights to do so couldn’t even garner a response from the producers so I had to let the lyrics go. Phil Collins’ In the Air Tonight was perfect closing out the book – that drum solo. My son could picture the last drum beat and the movie going black at the very end!
But as a writer, you learn sometimes you need to “kill your darlings” – meaning let something you love go because it’s not working. So, I had to leave the lyrics out, but I do share the list on the sound track in the opening pages of the book to give my reader the mood.
My older son says he thinks my three books have showcased where I was in my life at the time of writing. Evidently, at this stage….it’s the dark period!
I held a dinner party in the fall of 2016, three months into my writing when I already knew the ending would work, asking what my husband and four friends wanted their vices to be. I didn’t want to pick their vices, lest I lose their friendship! I was treading a precarious path. They just laughed, made jokes, and didn’t choose.
For a mystery to work, all characters need to be unsavory, all must have issues, so the reader doesn’t know who the killer is. When I headed my final proof to Bill and Sue Covens, the inspiration for the key characters, I said, “Remember, it’s fiction! I had to make all of us unsavory.”
Sue replied, “I’ve strived all my life to be….unsavory.” She’s awesome!
Okie-dokie. It was a “go” then.
And so, I bring you Eventide. Fiction with a cool back story.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I’ve loved writing….and living….it.