Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, June 20, 2019
Couple’s new book tells their stories from Stonington
by Monique Labbe
Sometimes, a trip to a new place can create such a passion that the trip turns into a second one, and a third one, until, eight years later, the visitors find themselves so in love with a place they need to find a creative outlet to express it.
Such was the case for Stories from Stonington authors Ron and Janet Haase. The couple came to the island about 10 years ago, because of a weaving workshop Janet attended at Haystack. Ron, both a writer and an artist, found himself driving around the area in search of places and things to sketch. He ultimately landed in Stonington.
“We just loved it, and have been back about eight times since that first time,” said Ron Haase.
On a visit in October of 2018, while in the area celebrating their anniversary, the couple had an idea to write a book of short stories based on the places and people in Stonington. Within hours they were busy doing research, walking around town to get ideas for characters and storylines, and doing some preliminary writing. When they went home to Florida two weeks later, they had the meat of what would become their book only a handful of months later.
Ron Haase has published two other books, and has always found writing as a way of expression. For his wife, this was a way to document the time they have spent in the area, a creative means to explain to people, including their children, what Stonington means to them.
One of the places in town that is special to the couple is The Catbird cottage, a small, two story cottage nestled downtown looking out onto Stonington Harbor. The cottage was the inspiration behind the first story in the book, “The Catbird Seat.”
“We stay there every time we are in Stonington,” said Ron Haase. “It is this great little cottage that allows us to wake up every morning and look out onto the harbor. We get to watch the lobster boats go out, watch the fog lift. It is a special place.”
The characters in “The Catbird Seat,” as well as the rest of the stories, are fiction, with storylines inspired by the plays of William Shakespeare. “The Catbird Seat” is a reflection of The Tempest, while “Garden Parties” has characters reflected in Macbeth.
“It has been a very fun process,” said Janet Haase, who has one story in the book, titled “Over Under, Over Under.”
The couple finished the book over the winter, and by March were ready to self publish. With self publishing came self marketing, and they have been busy working to get their books on shelves in the area.
The book can be found at Dockside in Stonington, The Periwinkle in the Deer Isle village and Blue Hill Books in Blue Hill.
“This is definitely a book that needs to be sold in this area,” said Ron Haase. “We are learning that the self marketing thing is a hustle, but these three store owners have been very gracious and excited about the book. We understand we aren’t going to get rich off this thing. But it is something that we love.”