SALEM — On Tuesday, February 23, international bestselling author Brunonia Barry will reflect on the city she calls home and speak to how Salem has inspired her writing throughout her successful, productive career. The virtual presentation, from 6 to 7 p.m., is free of charge and sponsored by The House of the Seven Gables.
With three bestselling novels — linked to Salem — still widely read throughout the world, a fourth novel recently completed, and a fifth novel in its creative infancy, Barry has found Salem to be a source of limitless inspiration. The views from her office feed her. The streets she walks, just as Nathaniel Hawthorne did 170 years ago, cue up for her not merely inspiration but ideas, scenes and themes.
“I write pretty visually,” she says. “I feel like I see a lot and what I see often serves as cues. There are so many visuals. Even a teabag will trigger something. Or spices that people have given me as gifts. Those things find their way into my books.” To hear more about Barry’s creative process and Salem’s role in that process, those interested may sign up for the virtual event here.
Barry lives the life of a working writer. She has an office in her Salem home that’s dedicated to her work. She’s proactive about assuring that her inspiration encircles her day and night. When she begins each new book, she redecorates her writing space with artifacts of her storytelling. Business cards, photographs, a teapot, lace, snow globes, images of trees, singing bowls and much more allow Salem an entrée into her inner sanctum. When she takes a seat at her desk, she inhabits a world nearly transparent in its accessibility. With skill, imagination and commitment as the tools she’s come to master, she begins to write.
A good writer develops characters. These characters change, says Barry, from book to book just as people change over time. So does Salem. “Salem has changed with every book I’ve written. You can’t step into the same river twice.” Thus, the sharp observer must stay alert and open.
Barry’s published novels include “The Lace Reader,” “The Map of True Places” and “The Fifth Petal.” “The Island of Mothers and Daughters” is completed and awaiting publication. And the last in the Lace Reader series, ”Bone Lace,” is Barry’s current work in progress.
About The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association
The mission of The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association is to be a welcoming, thriving, historic site and community resource that engages people of all backgrounds in our inclusive American story. For more information visit www.7gables.org.
Stories are at the core of what we do at The House of the Seven Gables. They are not just a part of our past, but also our present and future. In 2021, we look forward to exploring the lore of our historic site and surrounding community with a special series of lectures, programs and events.