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Love letters from real life inspired
Scituate author's new novel

Posted by dinouye  July 23, 2010 09:08 AM

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Last year, Lynne Griffin’s well-established reputation in family and parenting issues took a turn when she published her first novel. This month, the novelist side of her persona expanded with the release of her second novel, “Sea Escape.’’

Griffin will talk about her new book at 2 p.m. Sunday at Newtonville Books in Newton, and at 7 p.m. next Thursday at the Hingham Public Library. In an interview with The Globe, the Scituate resident described how the novel, which tells of a woman who is caring for her mother after a stroke and discovers her old love letters, was inspired by real life.

Letters.jpg

My father passed away when I was in high school, and when my mother passed away in 2000, I came across love letters [pictured above] my father had written to her when he was in the service.

He was a wonderful writer, but he didn’t write for a living; he was the advertising director for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette newspaper. The letters were legendary in my family. Everybody knew about them, and we knew they were special to my mother, but we weren’t ever allowed to read them.

When I read the letters, I imagined a fictional story in which someone like me was reading the letters and found information about her family that was very different from what she had imagined.

I didn’t learn any secrets like that in my father’s letters, but dipping into them was really quite lovely because I felt I got to know my parents in a different way. And my sisters and brother have all been really supportive of taking the inspiration of our parents and letting that seed grow into a novel.

I took some of my father’s writing and included in the novel. I’d say 60 to 70 percent of the letters in the book were written by my father, and the rest is embellished by me to fit the story.

I also included how my parents met, what happened in the Worcester tornado of 1954, names of streets, and other things from my childhood. Some of the details are in there, but what happens to the characters is completely from my imagination.

For my appearances, I’m going to read a portion of my father’s actual letter, then I’ll get into the heart of ‘Sea Escape’ so that readers can see how that real letter evolved into the novel. Then I’ll read a short bit from the book.....

The way I identify myself depends on where I am. I really do see myself as a family-life expert and novelist, but there are times when I say, ‘I am a novelist and a family-life expert.’ So I guess I see myself as equal parts of both.

I still do my parenting workshops throughout the country, and I still believe strongly in sharing a positive family message. But I’m also spending an enormous amount of time writing novels about family life, and in fact, I’m already working on my next book.

Novelists don’t want to say too much about a book until it’s done. But I can say that it is a family story and it deals with issues related to parents and adolescents.

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