Martha Reynolds grew up in Cowesett and spent weekends during her teen years hanging out on Main Street. Downtown EG was her town so when she started writing a novel about a college-age novelist living in a small New England town, she fashioned the town on the one she knew best.
“I needed to set it here because this is where I grew up,” said Reynolds over breakfast at Dante’s recently. “This is where I spent my time. I walked these streets.”
Martha Reynolds will be at Symposium Books, 1000 Division Street, Wednesday, Sept. 10, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., to read from “Best Seller” and sign copies.
“Best Seller” tells the story of Robin Fortune, a 19-year-old who’s just gotten kicked out of college and finds herself working as a waitress at a local diner, dealing with her parents’ displeasure, and writing a novel.
It is not autobiographical, Reynolds said.
While Reynolds always wanted to write, she ended up working as a fraud investigator at the Attorney General’s office.
“I wasn’t meant to be a fraud investigator. I hated it. I was good at it, but I hated it,” she said. Finally, miserable after years on the job and plagued by health problems, she decided to quit. It was her husband who urged her to follow her dream.
“Jim said, ‘Look, you’ve always wanted to do this. Just write,’” Reynolds recounted. So she did. Less than four years later, she’s published five novels through Amazon and sales are consistent.
For Reynolds, who lives in West Warwick, writing is now just what she does.
“I dedicate myself in the morning to writing,” she said. “I just say, Twitter off, Facebook off, email off – just write it. Just spit out the first draft really fast. Don’t worry how it looks, just get it out. And I can do that, I can write 50,000 words in 30 days. Then you have to edit it. And you have to add more and I have to do a lot myself before I send it out to an editor. It will take another three or four months to polish it.”
Her first book, Chocolate for Breakfast, ended up being the first of a trilogy – The Chocolate Series, set in the U.S. and Switzerland. Her fourth book, Bits of Broken Glass, centers on a 25-year high school reunion. And now comes Best Seller.
The small town featured in Best Seller isn’t called East Greenwich, but there are several places that will be familiar to anyone who lived in EG in the 1970s, the time period in which the book is set.
“The Bud Gallop Piano and Organ Store is where, I think, Civil is now,” she said. “I mention Silverman’s, where I bought my prom gown, and Country Casuals …. across from Silverman’s. The LIttle Italy pizzeria is obviously Frank and John’s. I saw Main Street very clearly in my mind but I did change it around a little bit.”