Fog Island Light

January 21st, 2012

One of the joys of inventing stories is transforming real places, people, and things into the world you’re making up. Inventing Fog Island was one of my favorite parts of writing Into the Trap because I dreamed it up by combining elements of places I love. That’s why storytelling is something like alchemy: You concoct new things out of what already exists.

One of those places is Sandy Neck on Cape Cod. Separating Great Marsh and Barnstable Harbor from Cape Cod Bay, Sandy Neck is a peninsula about five miles or so long and a mile wide in some spots. You can always hear the sea, and when you climb one of its high dunes you can see the sweep of the bay to the north and the more protected waters of the harbor to the south. The marsh stretches away so wide and far it looks infinite beneath the open sky.

Years ago I used to spend a lot of time roaming the marsh and hiking on the beaches and dunes, and to this day my wife and I go there to walk, especially in the winter. Sometimes we walk on a beach facing Sandy Neck so that we can see the lighthouse and cottages at the end of the point where it meets the harbor entrance.

When we went there recently, the wind was howling, rain spat down, and the moon tide was flooding the beach, but the visibility was sharp. I could look across the whitecaps of the water—the water itself was a serpentine green—to see the lighthouse I had transplanted from Sandy Neck to Fog Island.

So even though Fog Island light only appears in Into the Trap, in a sense it’s real, even though it’s imaginary. Just go to the end of Millway Road to the town landing on Barnstable Harbor and look across the water. You could also hike or take a four-wheel drive vehicle the length of Sandy Neck. There’s the lighthouse with cottages straggling behind it like ducklings, just as I imagined it for the book, except that in the book it stands alone at the end of the barrier beach.

A Lobster Tag’s Odyssey

December 5th, 2011

My old pal Mark Reed-Edwards brought this story to my attention earlier today. Evidently yellow rubber ducks have nothing on lobster trap identification tags. This one fetched up in one of the loveliest spots on the planet, too. Take a look:

Before the Storm

November 4th, 2011

You might like two new posts here:

“Island Secret”

October 27th, 2011

Read a new post about a small epiphany on a small island here:

Season’s End

October 11th, 2011

I mourn the end of our sailing season. I’m not complaining, don’t get me wrong: Though we didn’t sail as much as we like because we needed to tend to our old gentleman of a yellow Labrador, we had fine jaunts in all sorts of wind conditions with no major mishaps.

But I already miss the tug of taut lines and the thrumming tiller, the gulp and lap of waves against the hull, the salt smack of sea air, the slap of sail. The short sail I took before we hauled Finn out for the season will have to hold me till May.

Under blue skies crisscrossed by contrails and smears of cirrus, I dropped off the mooring in light airs of about five knots out of the north northwest. We were the second to last boat on the water; a Beetle Cat was still moored at the farthest part of the mooring field. I swung back to the beach to drop the dinghy off, then set a course out toward Halftide Rock so I could tack into the inner harbor. The waves chuckled against the hull as the breeze stiffened, slackened, stiffened, slackened. I came about when I saw a stretch of greasy water separating us from the water riffled by the breeze so I wouldn’t lose way.

I sailed toward the rocks bordering the beach in the mooring field, then came about again and took a leisurely course back toward the Scraggy Neck causeway, not a single other boat on the water. The night before I had dreamed that I sailed Finn directly onto the trailer, a feat I’d never accomplished before because of wind conditions. From the way the breeze kept changing its mind about blowing or not blowing, it was a feat that looked to remain unmet this day, too.

Coming about again, I set a course directly for the beacon at the end of the breakwater, the osprey’s nest now just an empty heap of sticks atop the structure. I rounded the point, the wind holding, and I weaved my way past a couple of bigger sailboats moored in the inner harbor, one of which emitted the tantalizing scent of cooking bacon. Maybe the air temperature made the scent even more enticing: I was comfortable in the chill thanks to my baseball cap, fleece vest, sweatshirt, and two long-sleeve polos, old blue jeans, and fishing boots (though the toes of my left foot had been numb earlier).

When I ghosted into the slot between the pier and the dinghy dock leading to the ramp, Peter Eastman, Finn’s builder and owner of the yard that maintains her, was backing the trailer into the water. I sheeted in to slow down, and eased the boat into the cradle.

With the slight crunch of barnacles on the rubber pads of the trailer as the boat came to rest, another season ended. I was left standing in Finn’s cockpit, feeling fulfilled at finally accomplishing a minor but satisfying feat.

But as we rumbled out of the water up the ramp, a bittersweet pang took over, a pang about the days of sailing just past, about the long stretch of sail-less days, about other losses that lay ahead.

Finn in Megansett Harbor

All About Into the Trap

August 31st, 2011

Over the past couple of months I’ve been writing pieces about Into the Trap (some only loosely tied to the book, I admit) for Macmillan on their blog site. They’re sprinkled through the June, July, and August postings. Take a look at the latest here:

“A True Summer Adventure”

August 2nd, 2011

“Vampires, ghosts, wizards, angels—they’re hard to escape in books these days. But every once in a while, a kid longs for an old-fashioned summer adventure story, which is exactly what Craig Moodie delivers in his exciting new novel, Into the Trap.”

Read the full review here:

Old Friends

July 22nd, 2011

Into the Trap sails along into its first week since its release. My old pal John Greiner-Ferris made a kind mention of it at Hearing from old friends (the phrase reminds me of the Simon and Garfunkel tune, one of my all-time favorites) like John conjures a feeling akin to a warm chuckle: You don’t have to be in constant touch to know how connected you always will be.

Is that how Eddie and Briggs in Into the Trap will feel about each other when they get older?

Launch Day Approaches

July 12th, 2011

Next Tuesday, July 19, Into the Trap makes its way into the world, sporting a fabulous blurb:

Into the Trap is that best of combinations: a mystery and an adventure, and a story of deep humanity. It is that symmetry, mixed with a funny, frightening, and tense plot out on the water, that will keep readers whipping through the pages. Finest kind!
—Gary D. Schmidt, Two-time Newbery Honor Winner

Into the Trap Trailer

May 25th, 2011

Take a look at the book trailer here: