"Northeast Kingdom" a treasure trove for writer

Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:27am EDT
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By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) - The writer Howard Frank Mosher has lived for nearly half a century in such a remote part of the northern U.S. state of Vermont that Internet connections are very slow and even landline phone reception can be terrible at times.

Yet the area known as the "Northeast Kingdom" - the three northeasternmost counties in the state - proved to be such a fertile source of inspiration that Mosher, born in 1942 and with 12 books behind him, has ended up spending most of his life there.

In fact, his one try at leaving after settling there in 1964, to attend graduate school in California, ended rapidly Realizing he was unhappy and taking a drive with his wife to think things out, he was stopped by a red light at a crossing in downtown Los Angeles, which he called "probably the least inspiring place I've ever been."

"I've always figured that if the light had been green, the arc of my career would have been entirely different," the award-winning author said in a telephone interview.

"But it was red, and a telephone truck pulled up beside. The driver must have seen our green Vermont license plate because he rolled his window down and quickly called out to us, 'I'm from Vermont too, go back while you still can.' So we realized that was the voice of the muse, and we turned around and went back."

Born and raised in the Catskill mountains of New York, Mosher relates in his new memoir "The Great Northern Express" how he and his wife came up to interview for teaching jobs in a local high school and fell in the love with the Northeast Kingdom, hooked by natural bounties that included plentiful trout streams and rugged, beautiful scenery.

Even more appealing was the essence of the place itself.

"What we discovered very soon after we moved here that this Northeast Kingdom - what I call Kingdom County in my novels - was just a goldmine of stories that no writer had ever told before," he said.   Continued...