Local author, Amelia Garretson-Persans courtesy photo / Amelia Garretson-Persans

SOUTH PORTLAND — Local author Amelia Garretson-Persans will be visiting the South Portland Public Library Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. to talk about her book “Where the Avonley Seed Falls.” The is an illustrated novel that unfolds through the recovered nature writings of Tabitha H. Eldreth, a middle-aged naturalist on sabbatical from her university position.

Garretson-Persans, an interdisciplinary artist and writer, said the story marries nature writing with mystery and psychological thriller elements. The protagonist, Tabitha H. Eldreth, evolves over a decade-long creative process.

“I began ‘Where the Avonley Seed Falls’ as a way to participate in the legacy of nature writing, to live out a side fantasy of being a naturalist illustrator,” Garretson-Persans said. She said initially she envisioned Tabitha as an ambitious but thwarted middle-aged woman, but it took on a more personal dimension as she grew older. “She’s become less of an alter ego and more a part of myself,” said Garretson-Persans.

“An important side note, everything in the story is made up, all the flora, fauna and historical details are dreamy, imagined versions of the real world,” she said.

Though set in the north woods of Maine, the story had its origins in Nashville, Tennessee. Garretson-Persans said,

The Maine landscape,plays a direct role in shaping the story, Garretson-Persans said. A videographer, she said she drew inspiration from her walks, capturing images and feelings that found their way into the narrative. “Some specific places include Acadia National Park in the early fall, the Maine Audubon location at Gisland Farm in Falmouth in the winter and the Pleasant Hill Preserve in Scarborough,” she said. “Even the bits of wildness on my street in South Portland have inspired some of the writing and illustrations. The finale of the story, when Tabitha believes she is close to discovering a new humanoid species, takes place in an imagined version of Acadia.”


In terms of community support, Garretson-Persans shared her positive experience with Maine Authors Publishing, which helped bring her vision to life. Winning the Excellence in Publishing Award from the Maine Literary Awards further connected her with fellow authors and elevated the promotion of her book. “Winning the award has been a big stepping stone in really promoting the book and getting to know other authors. I’ve contacted some of the other winners and we’ve agreed to share books. I feel that I am at the beginning of participating more fully in Maine’s literary scene,” she said.

The upcoming event at the South Portland Library is an opportunity to connect with readers and share her journey as a writer, Garretson-Persans said. “I hope to find connection with others in the story of how you make it work as an artist or maker of anything.”

“Having lived in Maine these past 10 years, Maine has become an inextricable part of my body,” she said. “I think when you write from a place of feeling rooted somewhere that feeling alone resonates to readers who all have places that are deeply embedded in their own hearts.” She said she sees a responsibility in representing the unique character of Maine while balancing the creation of a universally appealing narrative.

New book by local author Amelia Garretson-Persans courtesy photo/ Amelia Garretson-Persans

For more information about Amelia Garretson-Persans and her work, visit her website at https://www.ameliagarretson-persans.com/about-1.

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