BELLOWS FALLS — Author and North Walpole, N.H. resident Bill Lockwood said that these days he just tries to enjoy himself, and he does just that through writing and keeping involved in community theater. While four of his short stories were published in the '90s, he has also worked on several novels over the decades. The recently published "Buried Gold" is his first novel to make it to the presses, published by Wild Rose Press with whom he is under contract for a second novel, "Megan of the Mists." "Buried Gold" will debut at Village Square Booksellers Friday at 7 p.m.
Lockwood grew up in Baltimore, Md., and worked for 20 years with children in social services. In the '90s his New York wife, Jeanie Levesque, began work at the School for International Training (SIT), and Lockwood continued his work in social services in Springfield, Bellows Falls and finally in Brattleboro where he eventually retired from in 2015.
An avid amateur theater participant and writer, he was very active in founding the theatre troupe, Fells Point Theatre, which began a theatrical career that continues today. He went on to write articles and reviews of local community theatre productions as well as produce a theatre newsletter in Baltimore called Stage Right before moving to southeastern Vermont. In this area, he wrote for the Town Crier and the Walpole Clarion. Lockwood and Levesque now reside in North Walpole, but for ten years as a Vermont resident was Chairman of the Bellows Falls Opera House Restoration Committee. In 2006 his success was recognized when he received the Greater Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year Award.
But it was the time he spent at his wife's family homestead on Long Island and the stories he heard from the locals about illegal rum-running during the Prohibition era using fishing boats that gave him the inspiration for "Buried Gold." Intensive research for this novel provides an accurate backdrop for his fictional Oyster House on Long Island's North Fork where Evie's great-grandfather ran illegal booze. Gold pieces were used for payment, and on his deathbed, Evie's father discloses to her that there is a map, a principal clue to where the box of ten-dollar gold coins was buried just before Revenuers raided her great-grandfather's illegal business. She steals the map from her father's New York City home. Racing against time and her brothers, who are also after the treasure, Evie and her daughter Cindy collect other clues that help her to stay a step ahead of her two ill-intentioned brothers. But her search is complicated by the murder of one of the old-timers in the little town on Peconic Bay, as Evie desperately tries to track down someone who will provide her with the clue that unlocks the mystery of the map. She elicits the help of a bartender and an old boyfriend that also backfires.
Now that he is retired he has more time to aggressively pursue publication of his work, and "Buried Gold" has been a long time in coming. But his persistence paid off. When he finally received word from a publisher that they were interested he was, as he said, "So excited." His upcoming novel, "Megan of the Mist" is a story about Northern Ireland during the '70s and a girl gets involved running contraband, eventually drawn into their agenda when asked to a plant a bomb, but instead runs away.
Since his retirement he has also been able to spend time in his beloved theater, working with River Theater's production of "Oliver" at the Claremont Opera House. He has directed plays and is currently the director for "Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens," a celebration of lives lost to AIDS told in free-verse monologues with a blues, jazz and rock score taking place at the Latchis Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 15.
Village Square Booksellers is located at 32 Square, Bellows Falls. The event is free. Call 802-463-9404 or email email@example.com for event and book reservations. You can pre-order a signed copy at villagesquarebooks.com/product/buried-gold.
Contact Cicely M. Eastman at 802-254-2311 ext. 261.