1991 Boothbay Region High School alumnus Lara Tupper returned home Sept. 9 as the featured speaker at Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library’s “Author Talk.” Tupper discussed her two most recent books. One is a collection of short stories she has written over the past two decades, titled “Amphibians.” The second is “Off Island,” a fictionalized account of reimagining if artist Paul Gauguin had sailed to Mohegan Island instead of Tahiti.
The talk drew seven participants with one being impressed with Tupper’s work describing the famed artist’s fictional journey to Maine. “It was such a powerful adaptation. I really believed Gauguin actually had travelled to Maine, and even checked Wikipedia to find out when,” she said.
Tupper spent the hour-long talk reading excerpts from her books and joining her husband Bobby Sweet singing three songs he wrote and another song by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, “Teach Your Children.”
During the question-and-answer session, Tupper explained she began writing as a child by keeping a journal. As a young adult, she considered a career as a singer before deciding to write.“I realized how much I missed writing, and returned to it,” she said.
She began “Amphibians” as a college writing assignment. The stories are set around the globe: Japan, Grenada, United Arab Emirates and a fictional Maine town named Bay Harbor which bears a strong resemblance to her hometown.
Her favorite story from “Amphibians” is also called “Amphibians.” Tupper said, “It’s a little longer, and it gives me a chance to ramble on a bit more.” When she began writing “Amphibians,” Tupper remembered several short stories from college she wrote and began revising them for her book.
Tupper lives in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. She is still fond of her hometown, and happily reported she received her first library card at BHML at age 9. One of her “Amphibians” short stories has references to Wiscasset, McSeagulls and the Footbridge in an excerpt she read.
Her father Stan Tupper is her next planned topic to write about. He was a lawyer and three-term U.S. Congressman in the 1960s. In Congress, Stan Tupper was was one of two Republicans to co-sponsor Medicare, and his congressional career was also notable for his support of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965.
Stan Tupper died in 2006.
Lara Tupper told the audience she wasn’t “all that interested in her father’s political career as a child,” but now she is excited about learning more about it.
“I’m interested in comparing the political landscape from the ’60s to now, and this project will give an opportunity to spend some time researching his papers at the University of Maine,” she said. “I think it will be a lot of fun for that reason. It will be like spending time with him.”