Hi, readers! It’s been over six years since the members of the Baby-sitters
Club graduated from middle school and I said goodbye to a series that
had been a major part of my writing life for fifteen years. As much
as I loved creating new adventures for the BSC members over such a long
span of time, I’ve enjoyed the challenge of writing for new characters
in new settings and in an entirely different time period.
So when my former BSC editor, David Levithan, approached me about the
possibility of writing a new series, I initially said no. “But
Ann,” he said, “we’ll come up with a writing schedule
that works for you.” I hesitated. “How about if we set the
novels in a small New England town? You know you love small towns,”
said David. Well, yes, I do love small towns. But still I hesitated.
“And how about centering the series around a sewing store in town?
You know you love to sew.” Okay, now I was hooked. David’s
right. I love sewing, smocking, knitting, embroidering, and cross-stitching.
And I certainly have first-hand knowledge of small town life since I’ve
lived in a small town in upstate New York for many years now. I’ve
always been drawn to the character, pace, and history that small town
life provides, and intrigued by the ways in which the lives of the townspeople
are interconnected. The chance to create my own fictional New England
town, complete with many residents, each with a story to tell, was too
good to turn down.
Welcome to Camden Falls, the first book in the Main Street
series, introduces the reader to eleven-year-old Flora Northrop and
her sister, nine-year-old Ruby, who have come to Camden Falls to live
with their maternal grandmother, Min, after the death of their parents.
Min is the co-owner of Needle and Thread, a sewing store on Main Street.
Needle and Thread sells fabrics and patterns and holds sewing classes,
but it’s more than just a sewing store. It has comfortable couches
for customers who drop in for a chat with anyone else in the shop, and
there’s always a fresh pot of coffee going. Min still lives in
the house she grew up in, and where she raised the girls’ mother.
Her house is different from the usual colonials and old Victorians that
line the streets in town because she lives in one of eight three-story
attached homes known locally as the Row Houses. Built in 1882, they
are the only houses of their kind in Camden Falls. Flora and Ruby pass
the summer months in their new town making friends with the other residents
in the Row Houses and helping their grandmother at Needle and Thread,
all the while coping with the loss of their parents, each in her own
Welcome to Camden Falls will be published this May, followed
by three more titles over the next few months. You might be interested
to know that at year’s end, everyone will be a year older. Now
that’s something that never happened in the BSC books.
It’ll be fun for me to watch the characters change and grow, just
like in real life. The possibilities are endless! I’m happy that
David encouraged me to take on this project, and I’m very excited
that my readers will get to know the characters and the town that I’ve
come to love. Camden Falls turns out to be a welcoming place for two
lost girls who are seeking new roots and old connections.
P.S. Scholastic is planning an online home for Main
Street, including an interactive map of Camden Falls, a downloadable
scrapbook and craft ideas section, a contest for readers, and some tips
from each of the characters. Enjoy!