Shades of the Summit
As a young girl growing up in Clarks Summit, Diane Mulligan never believed that one day her book would be among those she looked through at the old Abington Community Library on School Street.
"When I was little, we lived on Colburn Avenue, just a couple of blocks up from the post office and an easy walk to the old library on School Street," she recalled. "My best friend, Jill Helbock, lived on the other end of School Street, so we would sometimes walk or ride our bikes to the library."
"We used to love to go to the children's room in the basement and look at all the books," she continued. "We both liked Nancy Drew and I loved the geographical books that focused on different parts of the world. A love of books and libraries was instilled in me at a very young age, and the simple geography of where my family lived definitely played a part in that."
This Saturday, April 20, Mulligan will sign copies of her novel, "Watch Me Disappear," at Duffy's Coffee House, 312 S. State St., from 4-6 p.m. The signing will be followed with a performance featuring Jack Woodbridge and Tom Rogo beginning at 7 p.m. "Watch Me Disappear" tells the story of a young girl named Lizzie, who is a high school senior starting over in a new school after her father moves the family for a new job.
Mulligan began to write "Watch Me Disappear" at an after-school creative writing club that she moderates for students at St. John's High School in Worcester, Mass., where she now resides. Mulligan attended Our Lady of Peace elementary school and is currently the managing editor of "The Worcester Review" and the director of the Betty Curtis Worcester County Young Writers' Conference, also at St. John's High School.
Although Lizzie's new town is a fictional version of Massachusetts, Mulligan readily admits that the town contains echoes of Clarks Summit.
"It is definitely based on Clarks Summit, particularly Lizzie's neighborhood of big new houses, which is like the one my family moved to when I was about ten," she said. "Also, the characters go to a couple of different diners in the novel, and those are based on places my friends and I used to frequent."
As a high school teacher, Mulligan says that her students not only helped influence her work but also taught her about their world along the way.
"They gave me feedback and helped me stay true to a teenaged perspective," she said. "One thing I see every day is that teenagers are so much more complex than popular culture gives them credit for. I wanted to write a story that my students would enjoy reading and that they would relate to."
For more information or to order a copy of "Watch Me Disappear," visit www.dvmulligan.com.