Back in Vermont, For a Month of Work and Play

This is part of the Bittersweet Book Launch case study, where Dan Blank and Miranda Beverly-Whittemore share the yearlong process of launching her novel. You can view all posts here.

by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

I’m back up north. Ahhhh.

This lake house (which doesn’t look like much from the driveway) is the home my grandparents built in the late sixties overlooking a beautiful bay. The home, and the land and water surrounding it, hold innumerable meanings for me, so many more than you could guess just by glimpsing it from a passing car:


It’s the only family house that’s remained constant in my lifetime (every other family, including mine, has moved multiple times). It’s the house my mother, father and I moved into when we came back from Senegal and I was six; the house where I learned all about what it felt like to be an American. My sister was born in the master bedroom; we celebrated her thirtieth birthday here yesterday. Now that I have a child of my own, it’s a place where my own family is establishing new traditions and memories; already, it’s one of my son’s favorite spots on earth. I’ve returned, and continue to return, to this land: in difficult times, in moments of creative retreat, for family reunions, to ski and sail and swim, and to watch the leaves change.

And now, this place is the setting of my novel Bittersweet.

I find it can be hard to write a place I know well, or know constantly (when I wrote The Effects of Light and Set Me Free, for example, I hadn’t been living in Oregon for at least seven years, which I gave me some perspective). But I also knew that this spot is so enchanting, so wild and beautiful, and so lonely, that it needed to be set down on paper.

More on that tomorrow.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to almost a whole month up here, a month of playing with my boy and family, and working on the next steps of this book process (collecting blurbs, working on Friendstories, revisiting my author questionnaire, blogging here, working on a few creative projects, and so much more). There’s a spot on the dock that I make a point of standing in every day, to take in the new sky and the changed water and the color of the Adirondacks. Every day, I try to take a picture, to stockpile summer memories for the cold city days to come.

Here’s the first two:

The day we arrived, August 4th:


August 5th, my sis’s birthday. That’s her in the small sailboat in the middle, having the time of her life: