ROSE ISLAND Lighthouse Series
Last spring, the Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation contacted me and asked if I might be interested in writing a historical novel about the small, mansard-roofed lighthouse on Rose Island, a tiny 18-acre landmass halfway between Newport and Jamestown, Rhode Island. At the time I was trying to make a living at writing so, after exhausting all the funding opportunities I could think of, I spoke at the Foundation’s annual meeting last April and then we parted company, hoping to figure out a way to work together in the future. Then, a few months ago, I accepted a new “day job” as an architect and am once again free to write whatever I want to write. So, I got back in touch with the Lighthouse Foundation.
As of December, I’ve completed the first book in a series about Rose Island and the people who once lived there. And I had lots of help, too! My daughter, Julia, used her considerable artistic talent to illustrate my stories. Michaela Fournier, a gifted graphic designer and friend, designed an awesome cover for the book and figured out how the words and pictures should look on the pages. My mother, Marilyn Harris, a retired teacher, provided us with all of the research assistance we needed. My other daughter, Laura, helped by updating this website for us, to include information about this new, exciting project. Chris, my tremendously patient husband, even chipped in, helping transfer illustration sketches to drawing sheets for Julia to work on. And Colin, Chris, and Dave, three great friends I met in my Master’s program at Fairfield University, have kindly agreed to publish the Life on Rose Island Series through their Connecticut-based publishing company, Woodhall Press. With a Book Team like that, the books are bound to be amazing!
Book One: The Curious Childhood of Wanton Chase
The first book of the Rose Island Lighthouse Series will be about Wanton Chase, a boy who lived in the lighthouse with his grandparents from the time he was 18 months old until he had to leave the island to go to school in Newport at age seven (1910 to 1917). His grandfather, Charles Curtis, was the lighthouse keeper, serving at that post longer than anyone else. Before Wanton Chase died at the age of 99, he wrote down his memories of life at the lighthouse. I’ve taken those memories and expanded them into short stories. The book is composed of these short stories about Wanton interspersed with brief snippets of history concerning such subjects as the Rose Island Lighthouse, life in America in 1910, and the duties of a lighthouse keeper. It is written at a middle-grade level so that it will appeal to readers of all ages; mature readers can enjoy the stories themselves or read them aloud to young children. And Woodhall Press will be publishing the book in hardcover as well as paperback so that everyone will be able to buy a copy. If all goes well, The Curious Childhood of Wanton Chase will be available for purchase by early spring 2019.
By the way, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Rose Island Lighthouse is open for tours. So, if you happen to be looking for something fun to do this summer, take the Jamestown Ferry out to Rose Island and check out the lighthouse, beautifully restored by the folks of the Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation. And make sure to check back here to see new stories and postings about the lighthouse and about our upcoming books. See you then!