As you may know, I’ve been touring the Salem, Massachusetts area for the the last week. I was raised in Peabody—the next town over—and lived in Salem for many years. I’ve always loved the North Shore. It’s seashore, history, culture and people are both beautiful and inspiring.
Just yesterday, I was walking through Salem’s historic district and happened upon a dilapidated 1806 brick home, with a broken-down garage out back. I’ve seen the property before. It’s been vacant for years, but this time it got my creativity in high gear. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.
Although Tim on Broadway primarily takes place in New York, the main character, Timothy Benton, is from Salem—and many of the book’s scenes take place along the North Shore. For instance, the Starbucks where Tim and his best friend, Julia, would scope out guys going into the Laundromat is here. Tim and Julia both attended Salem State University. The Point—the section of Salem where Julia lives, and Tim and Javier visit—is here. Tim’s mother gets here hair done in Downtown Peabody. And, of course, there’s the Salem Willows and Hawthorne Hotel where Carolyn Sohier, and Cantor Productions, filmed the movie talked about in the book called Witches of Salem. The prequel to Tim on Broadway—with a working title of Summerwind—has much, much more of Salem and New England in it.
My first book, Not Sure Boys, is a take off North Shore boys. My second book Painting with Wine is set along the rugged coast of Beverly Farms, a rich community on the other side of the harbor. In the Juicy Bits anthology Never Kiss also has a connection to the area; the Clark Kent lookalike hails from Danvers, Massachusetts. And in Marketing Beef, the majority of the story takes place in a fictional town called Conant, which is between Beverly and Hamilton-Wenham. But Salem can’t escape Marketing Beef; there’s 62 Restaurant of Salem where Evan and Dillon have their first date.
Let’s just say, the North Shore has definitely inspired me and continues to do so.