How much of me is in SWEET SALT AIR

June 18.  What seemed like a long way off a year ago is coming fast.  You all have been so patient.  I thank you for that.

I just reread Sweet Salt Air.  I mean, wow, I’ve been distracted from it.  I’ve probably read twenty books since I finished writing it, and now I’m working on my next book, so my psychic energy has been focused on that.  No, no title for the new one yet.  I don’t even want to talk much about its subject, because Sweet Salt Air is the one that’s going to take center stage now.

Rereading it, I felt right at home, and not only because the story came back so quickly, but because there’s so much of me in it.

How much?  I’m asked that a lot, but, honestly, no book of mine is ever totally about me.  I like being behind the scenes.  That’s a fiction writer’s place.  Still, I write about things I like, and, inevitably, little bits of me sneak through.  Four such bits crept into Sweet Salt Air.

First, the setting.  Maine was a second home for me growing up, and though I spent more time in the lakes region, the ocean always held a fascination.  It still does, hence the photos below, which I took last weekend in Kennebunkport and Ogunquit.

Maine coast reminiscent of Sweet Salt Air

A dock in Maine reminiscent of Sweet Salt Air

Lobster trap buoys reminiscent of island life in Sweet Salt Air

White Barn bathroom in Maine

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the bathroom shot.  We spent the night at the White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport, and this has to be the most beautiful bathroom I’ve ever had!  Back on point, though, I’ve written lots of books set along the Maine coast, most memorably For My Daughters and The Summer I Dared.  And now there’s Sweet Salt Air, in which a fictitious island off the coast of Maine is a major character.  So that’s part of me right there.

Second, herbs.  I’m on slightly shaky ground here, because I don’t grow herbs myself, but there’s a whole lot of magic involved with the herbs on the island of Quinnipeague in Sweet Salt Air.  Magic is my thing.  I do believe in it.

Third, the blue-green décor in Nicole’s gorgeous beach house.  Maybe it’s because I do adore the ocean – and though the North Atlantic tends to be gray-blue, blue-green is watery, so this has always been my favorite combo.  The very first apartment my husband and I had was itty-bitty, but I did it all in blues and greens.  I still remember the coverlet on our bed, the large picture over the bed (an ocean scene that we bought in Rockport, MA), even the china on which we ate our meals.  All blue and green.

And fourth, knitting – specifically knitting in the Aran Isle style.  I made a fisherman’s sweater when I was in college and, let me tell you, I was as challenged doing mine as Charlotte is doing hers.  So all you would-be knitters who struggle to do it right will identify with this story!

Do any of the above items resonate with you?

If not, I’ll tell you about the inspiration look for Sweet Salt Air in my next blog.  It’s different from my usual inspiration …


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  1. Melissa on May 13, 2013 at 5:27 am

    Oh goodness, I can’t remember when last I looked forward to a book so much … I can’t wait for the day it pops into my Kindle! I do tend to aim for books which contain subject matters close to my heart, and this one seems to tick many boxes. Coast of Maine? Check! (Even though I’ve only ‘been’ there in books!! I love stories set anywhere along the East coast of the US) Herbs/Gardening? Check! Knitting? Beeeeg check! Blues and greens? Check-check-check!! 🙂 Can’t wait.

    • Susan on May 13, 2013 at 7:55 am

      I so look forward to each new book.
      I have just been doing my bathroom in blues and greens because of the colors of the ocean. My husband’s favorite spot was Rockport, Ma. where he spent many happy summers with his grandmother.
      I can’t wait to read Sweet Salt Air.

  2. Ramona Meserve on May 13, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Hi Barbara,
    Just finished reading “The Right Wrong Number” and also the preview of “Sweet Salt Air”. I can’t wait to finish it.
    I am now reading “More than Friends”. I really enjoy your books because they talk about relationships which include
    sex but you don’t go for detailed sex. I really like that. Sam has sex with Teke, but the details are not important, it’s the relationships that make this book great.

  3. Ramona Meserve on May 13, 2013 at 10:41 am

    P.S. I live in Maine, not far from the coast. I can understand your fascination with Islands and the sea. One of my other favorite authors is Elizabeth Oglivie. I have reread the Tide Trilogy (which contains about 12 books) several times.

  4. Janet Warren on May 13, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    I will definitely be buying this one! My son gave me an Amazon gift card for Mother’s Day! Yay!!

  5. Nila Henson on June 11, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    I love your books and have been looking forward to this one hitting the book stores for so long! For ME, it has been a long wait. You are one of my favorite writers….actually, you are my favorite writer!

  6. Izabel Cristina Esselin on April 29, 2018 at 11:05 am

    I love your books and I have them all !!! I live in Brazil, in a beautiful place, but I wanted to go to Maine to know the places she describes in her books, and I was delighted! I’m reading your last book and I feel like going back to Maine and getting to know the islands … you’re wonderful and I thank you for all your books.

  7. Brenda Johnson on August 6, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    I live in Maine a stone’s throw from wells and Ogunquit. I love your books and I love reading about places close to me. You are an amazing writer. I look forward to your next book whatever that may be.

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