SODUS, N.Y. — Jonathon M. Rose, a former Stockton Springs resident who lived there for more than a decade, has published his inaugural novel this summer centered around the Midcoast and ghosts.
Rose, an upstate New York native, moved to Maine in 1990 when his father accepted a position as a pastor of a small church in Stockton Springs. He called Stockton Springs home for 15 years before leaving in early 2001 to attend Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York, to study medieval history, English and philosophy.
Stockton Springs, at the time Rose grew up in the area, had its own elementary school and Rose lived across the street from t. He graduated in 2000 from Searsport District High School.
After meeting his wife, Mitzi, at Roberts Wesleyan, the couple has continued to call the Rochester area their home. They moved five years ago to the rural village of Sodus with their five children.
For the past 15 years, Rose has been working in group homes while splitting his downtime between raising his children and writing.
His writing, this summer, yielded his inaugural novel, Oceans Have No Memory, that he independently published.
Rose hails the book as a contemporary, nontraditional ghost story. While the story is ghostly, it is not the traditional horror story one may expect when they hear about ghostly characters headlining the book.
“When most people think of ghost stories or hauntings they think of horror, and things going wrong,” Rose said. “And while there are some intense and darker parts of the story, my intent was to write a more melancholy story, and ultimately a love story between the two ghosts, and the human characters who find that bits of the past were reborn within them. There are no creepy haunted houses, or things going bump in the night, usually the ghosts appear and influence in dreams, and they are more tragic and sympathetic than something to fear.”
Rose’s inspiration for the book came during his sophomore year of college when a friend, Daniel, wrote an instrumental piece of music, “Stonewall”, featuring a haunting melody.
“He’s a saxophonist, but I usually heard him play it on the piano,” explained Rose. “It gave me a very sharp image of a young woman in a yellow sundress looking around an old fashioned upper story room overlooking the ocean. I didn’t know who she could be, and I wanted to find out. Eventually the story formed, and her ghostly visitor emerged. Plus I’ve always loved ghost stories and classic horror stories, it was a natural fit.”
Music largely shaped the book as the title comes from a song of the same name from the band Porcupine Tree.
Though a Stockton Springs native, Rose opted to set the story around the vivacious way of life for which Camden and Rockland is known.
“Camden and Rockland have a busier small town life and culture than my hometown, plus the Owls Head Light is supposed to be haunted, and was near at hand,” said Rose. “The book itself is set in the fictitious town of Shaverport, just north of Camden. There are also wider vistas in the area which plays a role in the main character learning to love the area.”
Rose recalls the active theater in the area from his younger days and noted the theater is important to the two local characters, as does Camden Hills State Park.
Asked what he hopes readers glean from the novel, Rose stated his desire for readers to develop a “real sense” of the area and local people and to develop and interest and love for the area.
“It is very much my love letter for what I still consider my home state,” said Rose. “[The book was] written with the sincere wish to entertain, but also share my love for an area within a medium and genre that I am comfortable with. If they come away with a love for the characters and a greater love of coastal Maine, I’ll be content.”