Kingdom County is the fictional setting of most of my books. It was inspired by the Northeast Kingdom -- the remote and mountainous corner of Vermont where my wife, Phillis, and I have lived our entire adult lives. Phillis and I came to the Kingdom in 1964, just out of college, expecting to teach for a year or two, and then move along to graduate school. Almost immediately, we realized that we had stumbled onto a gold mine of stories no one had ever written before. From our first landlady, who had saved her Depression-era hill farm by manufacturng and selling moonshine, to my logger and storytelling mentor Jake Blodgett, a professional whiskey runner who made (and promptly lost) several fortunes running booze out of Canada during Prohibition, the residents of the Kingdom were – and still are – some of the most resourceful and independent-minded people left in America. The accompanying montage of “Kingdom County” photographs will give you an idea of why I’ve dedicated my writing life to telling the stories of this harsh and gorgeous surviving fragment of a much earlier northern New England.
Irasburg with Kingdom Mountain