|Author Maryanne O'Hara|
I’ve always been fascinated by the human impulse to create art. And I’m fascinated, too, by what cultures deem worth saving. I liked the idea of using a doomed town threatened with extinction as background for a story about an artist trying to create lasting works of art. I hoped that this juxtaposition would give readers a lot to think about.
I first saw the great Quabbin reservoir in Massachusetts as a child, during a family road trip. As we gazed out at a vast body of water that I assumed was natural, my uncle pointed out that a town had once existed under that water, that the island we were looking at had once been a hill. I was thrilled and spooked and obviously never got the image of the drowned town out of my head.
I originally planned to set CASCADE in Enfield, the largest of the original towns and a farming and mill community, but as I developed the novel, I realized that the town in my book needed to have been a “place to be” in the 1920s—a summer cultural center, with a Shakespeare theater at its heart. So I created Cascade, Massachusetts, then superimposed it over the real towns on the map.
What’s interesting is that I have received emails from all over the country, from people sharing similar stories. Towns were flooded in almost every state, and around the world. Very real lives were upended and forever changed by the dictates of the government. In CASCADE, I have the mailman mention, somewhat callously, and in passing, that an elderly man committed suicide rather than move from his home when another Massachusetts reservoir, the Brackett, was built in 1878. That old man’s former piece of land is watershed
next to my own riverside house, and I often thought of him, and all the other displaced people like him, while writing CASCADE.
I am very excited to be able to give away a copy of Cascade (US only)!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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