Author's first novel has Sewickley flair
Like many writers, Marcia Ferguson said she loves to read, has a vivid imagination and has had characters running around in her head.
After retiring a few years ago following 27 years as manager of the Community College of Beaver County bookstore, Ferguson said she finally put some of those characters into adventures exploring Sewickley, Maine and other areas in her book, “North of Supposed to Be.”
The book was independently published last August through Franklin Hancock Press, with help from Flying Pig Media and VMC Art & Design LLC. It recently won the Bergie the Penguin Book of the Week honor at the Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley. The nearly 600-page novel focuses on character Bronwyn McCall, who is orphaned at age 8 and moves to Sewickley to live with an aunt.
Later in her life, she returns to the area often.
An elite portrait photographer, McCall is critically wounded while rescuing the sons of the Israeli prime minister. As she recovers, former MI6 agent Ernest Rose becomes her Jeeves, both faithful sidekick and father figure. With gratitude, the prime minister's family gives Bronwyn their coastal Maine estate and the abandoned Bayside Blanket and Toboggan Factory.
Mary Ferris, a Penguin employee, said the book continues to sell well at the shop.
Customers have said it's realistic, and that Ferguson is a good storyteller.
“A few dachshund owners said they enjoyed the relationship with the dog in the book,” she said.
The dog pictured on the back cover is Frank Still, a Rhode Island dachshund who is a “great stand-in” for the fictional Snooks Von Krinkles in the book, said Ferguson, who has owned four dachshunds.
Ferguson, who lived in Leetsdale as a child and now resides in Hopewell, said readers also have told her their favorite parts of the book feature local places such as Isaly's, Jenny Lee Bakery, Sewickley Café, Eat'n Park, the former Sewickley Select Market, Penguin Bookshop, Hyeholde Restaurant, Six Penn Kitchen, Grand Concourse and the Kaufmann's and Joseph Horne Co. department stores.
Ferguson, who graduated from Hopewell High School, studied advertising and retailing at The Wheeler School in Pittsburgh. She then worked at Joseph Horne Co. as a ready-to-wear section manager and with the fashion office in Pittsburgh, organizing special events including fashion shows.
She said it was easy to write about Sewickley because she is so familiar with the area, and inherited a love for it from her parents, Pat and the late Bill Ferguson. They lived in several towns in the Pittsburgh area.
When she was younger, she frequented Sewickley Public Library, visited her aunt and uncle on Centennial Avenue and went to the movies and a tearoom in the Village.
“I'm now a big fan of the Penguin Bookshop, oat scones at Ultimate Pastry, yarn for friends at Yarns Unlimited and the tomato dill soup at the Sewickley Café.”
Although the local area is important in the book the focal point is coastal Maine, which she has visited many times.
The “North” in the title not only refers to direction, she said, but also a place — Maine -- “where things do become as they're meant to be.”
The cover photograph by Joy Brown features an antique store that no longer exists in New England. Ferguson said she hopes to someday find the name of the store and the owners, because she would like them to know a photo of their store was used for the cover of a book.
Other photographs of sites and animals included in the book are on Pinterest.com, to give readers unfamiliar with the area a better idea of what they are reading about — especially the interior of the Grand Concourse, Ferguson said.
She's working on a second novel that also will feature the Pittsburgh area, along with the Johnstown Flood.
Ferguson said when writing the first book she enjoyed “making a statement and recording my favorite places.”
Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.