Brunswick writer Paul Betit talks about his new book Let Me Tell A Story and how it came to be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22, at the Rangeley Public Library, 7 Loon Lake Rd., in Rangeley.
Let Me Tell A Story is quite a departure from the military crime novels Betit has published in the past. A mix of short fiction and memoir, the book is a collection of short stories that take place over a 55-year period.
The book begins with a tale about a 12-year-old boy from Augusta who learns some important life lessons during a family trip to Aroostook County. It ends with a piece about an elderly Brunswick couple learning some lessons of their own while coming to grips with old age.
“The book reads like a novel, but it isn’t one,” Betit said. “The narrator in one story is not necessarily the narrator of the next story or any of the stories that follow, but the book has a definite chronological arc and a melancholy feel to it.”
Half of the ten stories in Let Me Tell A Story take place in Maine. A lot of the pieces are based on the author’s experiences during the Vietnam War and its aftermath.
“The inspiration for most of the stories come from incidents in my own life,” Betit said. “I just took some poetic license in how those events are portrayed.”
One reviewer, columnist George Smith of Mount Vernon, liked the book’s mix of fact with fiction. “I would love to know what is fact and what is fiction, but part of the fun is trying to figure that out,” he said.
Previously, Betit published Phu Bai, Kagnew Station and The Man In The Canal. These crime novels are set in South Vietnam, Ethiopia and Sweden, respectively, during the late 60s and early 70s. The series follows the adventures of U.S. Army CID investigator John Murphy.
During author talks promoting those books Betit often read early versions of a few of the stories in Let Me Tell A Story at events. “It was a good change of pace and the stories were well received,” he said.
Betit, who grew up in Augusta, has worked as a general assignment newspaper reporter or a sportswriter for more than 40 years, including stints at the Kennebec Journal in Augusta and at the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram. He still covers high school, college and pro sports for the Press Herald and Telegram on a freelance basis.
During his talks, Betit shares back-stories, reads from current writing projects and discusses the publishing game. He always leaves plenty of time for Q&A.
Inscribed copies of all four of Betit’s books will be available for purchase at discounted prices.
For more information about Betit and his books, visit paulbetit.com