By Jennifer Huberdeau
North Adams Transcript
NORTH ADAMS -- When city native Craig A. Chicoine was laid off from Sheffield Plastics last year, he didn’t see his departure after 14 years with the company as a bad thing.
"I’ve been using the time to pursue my dreams," Chicoine said Thursday.
One of those dreams was becoming a novelist, and he’ll celebrate the release of his first book, "Gray Locke: The Mystery of the Weeping Rocks," which is self-published, as part of Word Play at Papyri Books this Saturday at 7 p.m.
Set in North Adams, the book chronicles the adventures of a 10-year-old boy (named Gray Locke), who sets off to solve his first mystery while visiting family in the city. Although specific locations are not named in the book, a majority of the story takes place at Natural Bridge State Park.
"I have a special connection with Natural Bridge -- I’ve been going there all my life," Chicoine said. "The rock formations are incredible and something you don’t see anywhere else. Three of the chapters in the book take place there, starting with ‘the blasting rock.’ The characters refer to it as ‘the big rock.’ There’s also a chapter in the quarry part of Natural Bridge, where Gray goes into the field and then finds a cave. He also goes down to the [Hudson] brook, where the mills used to be."
The book is the first in what will be a series of five, with a second book scheduled for release sometime in March, Chicoine said.
"Initially, I was writing an adult novel about the same character," he said. "I was writing it in blog format, which allowed me to write it in entries. It was quite exciting. Frequently, I would write flashbacks as part of the story, and then realized that I should start from the beginning. I hope to finish the adult novel and publish it in a few years."
The first book will introduce young readers to Gray Locke, an inquisitive child by nature, who comes from a loving and supportive family. In the second book, Gray’s adventures will take place in his hometown of Marlborough, and several of his friends will be introduced. Books three and four will return to North Adams, Chicoine said.
"Gray Locke: The Mystery of the Weeping Rocks," is available for purchase at Papyri Books, Chapters Bookstore in Pittsfield and online at Amazon.com. Copies also have been donated to the North Adams Public Library, the Adams Free Library, the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield and Berkshire Arts and Technology Public Charter School.
Chicoine said he has been writing since age 14 and has about 10 different blogs going, along with several other projects.
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