Jean Flahive Courtesy photo

SOUTH PORTLAND – The South Portland Historical Society is set to host authors Jean Flahive and Michael Connolly for a discussion on Sunday, Nov. 12, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The main attraction, according to the historical society, will be the opportunity for attendees to chat with the authors, who have made significant contributions to preserving and sharing the rich history of Maine through their literary works. The event will be held at the South Portland Historical Society Museum at Bug Light Park.

Flahive is the author of several books, including “Billy Boy,” “Railroad to the Moon,” and the children’s book “The Old Mainer and the Sea,” and, wrote the historical society, “is no stranger to captivating readers with her vivid storytelling.”

In anticipation of the event, Flahive shared some insights into her writing journey and its connection to Maine.

“From Pillar to Post,” penned in the seventh grade, reflects her early wanderlust and the longing for a sense of place. “I was a ‘military brat,’ and had already lived in six different states by the age of thirteen,” she wrote. “I returned to Maine as an older adult and immediately discovered that my family roots run deep in this state. I was home at last.”

Flahive’s journey to reconnect with her Maine roots influenced her passion for writing about pieces of Maine history.


“Billy Boy,” tells the story of Billy Laird, a Civil War soldier from Berwick. Flahive recalled the moment she first heard Billy’s story and was inspired to write a novel about him. “From the moment I heard the story of Billy Laird, I told myself his unique story had to be told,” she wrote. “I knew Billy’s story deserved more than an essay or poem, that it should be a novel.”

Transitioning to long-form storytelling posed its challenges, as Flahive had mainly focused on essays and poems. Yet, her passion and determination sustained her throughout the process. “Despite my fears and anxieties over my ability to transition to long-form storytelling, I was motivated by my passion for the telling, and it sustained me through the long and challenging process,” she noted. Her dedication paid off, as a professional manuscript reader commended her debut novel, calling it the best she had read in 14 years by a first-time novelist.

Flahive blends historical realities into works of fiction. “Writing historical fiction necessitates research,” she said. “It’s like being a good detective, gathering all the facts about the person or event you wish to write about. I weave my stories around the facts, they are my guideposts.”

The event at the South Portland Historical Society will provide an opportunity for attendees to delve further into Flahive’s literary journey, along with insights from Connolly, author of “Seated by the Sea: The Maritime History of Portland, Maine, and its Irish Longshoremen” and “Murky Overhead.”

“We have an exciting lineup of programs and lectures coming up,”  said Kathryn DiPhilippo, executive director of the South Portland Historical Society. “It’s an incredible variety of American history topics that we’ll be touching upon. We also have some great local authors coming to the museum to chat with visitors about their books and their areas of interest.

All events are free for members and $20 for non-members unless otherwise noted. Annual family memberships are available for $25. The South Portland Historical Society is located at 55 Bug Light Park in South Portland.

For more information, call 207-767-7299 or visit

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