Join us for a presentation by author Dean Whitlock based on his historical fiction novel, Finn’s Clock. This as an event for all readers interested in history, adventure, and the process of writing. Librarians in Vermont have been raving about Dean’s presentation—don’t miss it! Copies of Finn’s Clock will be available for sale at the event.
Through readings from Finn’s Clock and sharing period maps, lithographs, and paintings, along with some sobering facts about the Irish Diaspora, which started with the Potato Famine in 1847, Whitlock will detail how he selected the time period and place for the book and how his research into the era and setting was vital to the development of both characters and the plot.
Finn’s Clock is set in a time when steam is threatening sail, when factories are displacing workers, when the immigrants are Irish–unwanted and under threat, but determined to make their place here. It’s 1853, and into Boston Harbor sails a sea-going Chinese junk, bearing mysteries, magic, and a firebrand named An-Ming.
While magic is key to the plot, the historical setting is equally important, and Whitlock has made the book as accurate as possible in its portrayal of the culture and the location. (A Chinese junk actually did sail to Boston, in 1847 and women actually did wear up to seven petticoats, weighing upwards of 40 pounds.) These are just two of many details that make the book rich and enjoyable for adults as well as teens. The book is also a coming-of-age story with plenty of action and a bit of mystery.
*This fall, the library will be hosting two companion programs to the Vermont Humanities Council’s 2018 Vermont Reads selection, Bread and Roses, Too (copies available at the library). This historical novel tells the story of the 1912 “Bread and Roses” labor strike in the Lawrence, MA textile mills as seen through the eyes of a young Italian-American girl and a runaway boy. The second half of the story takes place in Barre, Vermont, when the granite industry was booming. Through the “Finding Finn” presentation as well as our November 5th “Granite Cutter’s Story” presentation from the Vermont Granite Museum, we’ll be exploring the history of immigrants in New England.*
More about the presenter:
Vermont author Dean Whitlock writes fantasy and science fiction for young and not-so-young adults. His stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Aboriginal SF, as well as in anthologies in the US and abroad. His first two YA fantasy novels were published by Clarion Books, but now he publishes independently under the Boatman Press imprint.
An Air Force brat, Dean has lived in a dozen states and three foreign countries. A life of travel that gave him plenty of time to read in the car and now enriches his writing.