Somewhere I Belong
by Glenna Jenkins
Somewhere I Belong by Glenna Jenkins is currently on tour with Worldwind Book Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.
In Somewhere I Belong, we meet young P.J. Kavanaugh at North Boston Station. His father has died, the Depression is on, and his mother is moving them back home to Prince Edward Island. They settle in, and P.J. makes new friends. But the P.E.I. winter is harsh, the farm chores endless, and his teacher a drunken bully. He soon wants to go home; the problem is how.
A letter arrives from Aunt Mayme announcing a Babe Ruth charity baseball game in the old neighbourhood. But Ma won’t let him go. P.J is devastated. The weeks pass, then there is an accident on the farm. P.J. becomes a hero and Ma changes her mind. He travels to Boston, sees his friends, watches Babe Ruth hit a home run, and renews his attachment to the place. But his eagerness to return to the Island makes him wonder where he really belongs.
Praise for the Book
"I loved this book. The author gets right inside the head of the young protagonist, enabling the reader to experience a world of physical and emotional challenges, and (ultimately!) personal growth. A very satisfying read." ~ Jane Austen
"An amazing read! So pleasant to read and from a fun viewpoint of a young boy that moved from the US to PEI after a tragedy in the family and it describes life in rural PEI and all its hilarious and trying times. An awesome ending and a great one for a sequel!" ~ Jax
Guest Post by the Author
Somewhere I Belong: A brief tour of the characters
When I began writing Somewhere I Belong, I included the whole family.
This meant writing into the novel the four Kavanaugh children, Ma (Martha Jane), Joe, Uncle George, Aunt Mayme, Granny, and the uncles and aunts that consisted of Granny’s fourteen children (really, that’s how many). This also meant that some reference would have to be made of the now dead Grandfather William. And because I wanted to present to my readers a snapshot of life in rural Prince Edward Island, this meant including the neighbours, the cousins, the children’s friends, the parish priest, the schoolteacher, the thirty pupils in the one-room schoolhouse, the school inspector, the bootlegger, the bootlegger’s wife, and the neighbourhood gossip.
This was a recipe for mass confusion. Any discerning reader would have needed a roadmap to follow what turned out to be a series of loosely connected anecdotes about the life of the Kavanaugh family. And after receiving some sage advice from a seasoned novelist, I cut down the number of characters, combined others, cut out scenes, and streamlined the plot. The following are brief biographies of the people you will meet in Somewhere I Belong. Most of these characters are based on real family members who have passed away.
Pius James (PJ) Kavanaugh: The younger brother of Larry and Helen and older brother of Alfred, PJ is thirteen years old when his father dies. He is also the narrator and we read the story from his point of view.
Larry Kavanaugh: The oldest and wisest child in the family, Larry is fifteen when his father dies. A kind, sensible boy, he assumes his father’s place and has big boots to fill.
Helen Kavanaugh: The oldest girl, Helen has the hardest time adjusting to her new life on Prince Edward Island. She constantly complains, tries to befriend Maggie MacIntyre, the girl who lives down Northbridge Road, and seeks solace in Granny.
Alfred: The youngest child, four-year-old Alfred, immediately becomes attached to Aunt Gert. And when he isn’t giving chase around the house, he is dashing out the back door after the older kids and insisting on following them to school or joining them in a hockey game at the Giddings's pond, next door.
Ma (Martha Jane) Kavanaugh: Recently widowed, Ma moves her young family from Everett, Massachusetts, to her parents’ homestead on Prince Edward Island. She is overcome with grief and so allows Granny and Aunt Gert to assume some of her maternal duties. But when an accident happens at the old well and PJ is forced to participate in a dangerous rescue, Ma returns to her old take-charge self.
Joe Kavanaugh: A kind and loving father, Joe dies in a terrible explosion at the oil refinery where he works.
Uncle George: Joe’s older brother. He helps the family out after Joe’s death. He is also instrumental in organizing a charity baseball game for the families of the men who died in the industrial explosion that killed Joe. This is where Babe Ruth comes in.
Aunt Mayme: Uncle George’s wife.
Granny: Bossy and, at times, interfering, Granny takes in her oldest daughter and family after Joe’s tragic death. But she also takes away Martha’s authority as she and Aunt Gert assume responsibility for the Kavanaugh children.
Aunt Gert: A kind, sensible, spinster daughter, Aunt Gert helps run the farmhouse and guide the Kavanaugh children through their transition to their new life.
Uncle Jim: A fun-loving jokester, Uncle Jim recognizes Larry’s maturity and independence, Helen’s close relationship with Granny, and that Aunt Gert has taken little Alfred under her wing. He also sees that PJ is at "loose ends" and needs a firm but kind hand to adjust to his new life.
Pat Giddings Jr.: Younger brother of Percy and William, Pat Jr. soon becomes PJ’s new best friend.
Charlie Dunphy: Mr. Dunphy is the teacher at Northbridge Road’s one-room schoolhouse. Crippled by polio in his youth, he takes his bitterness out on an unsuspecting and blameless PJ Kavanaugh.
Thomas Lanigan: PJ’s first cousin, Thomas, is a year older than Alfred. Yet he insists on hanging out with the older kids.
Maggie MacIntyre: The young girl who lives down the road from Granny’s farm. She shares a double desk with PJ and attracts the attention of Helen, who wants her to become her new best friend.
Patrick Daley: The oldest son of an impoverished farm family, Patrick proves to be the schoolyard bully. But when his nasty behaviour spills over into a hockey game the children play, Larry and PJ struggle to understand why this boy is so mean.
Michael and Nora Daley: Fraternal twins Michael and Nora are Patrick’s younger and less troublesome siblings.
Johnnie Condon: A friend of Patrick Daley and another bully.
Matthias Creed: This young man hangs tight with Patrick and Johnnie. He would probably be a whole lot nicer if he chose not to.
Percy Giddings: Pat Jr.’s older brother has his sights set on Aunt Gert and tries to win her favour. Charlie Dunphy is his biggest competitor.
William Giddings: The oldest, most troublesome Giddings brother.
Father Mullaly: The parish priest.
Mrs. MacIntyre: Maggie MacIntyre’s mother.
Mayor Roche: The mayor of Everett and manager of the oil refining plant where Joe was working when he died. He is instrumental in organizing a charity baseball game to help the widows of the men who died in the explosion.
Bill Carrigan: The manager of the Boston Red Sox. He started his baseball career playing catcher for the Red Sox when Babe Ruth played pitcher for the same team. Carrigan is instrumental in getting Babe Ruth to play in the charity baseball game Mayor Roche and Uncle George organize.
Miller Huggins: The manager of the New York Yankees. He agrees to help with the charity baseball game by asking Babe Ruth to play.
Babe Ruth: Never one to turn down a charitable cause, Babe Ruth agrees to play in Uncle George and Mayor Roche’s charity baseball game. Further, he brings his good buddy, Lou Gehrig.
From the Author
I am a writer, editor and indexer who lives in historic Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. A true Maritimer, I was born and raised in Nova Scotia and my Prince Edward Island roots hail back to 1830. My short stories have been published in Jilted Angels: A Collection of Short Stories (Broad Street Press), and Riptides: New Island Fiction (Acorn Press Canada), the latter which was nominated for best Atlantic book of 2012 and won the 2013 Prince Edward Island Book Award. In addition to placing first in the 2014 Atlantic Writing Competition’s literary non-fiction category, I received a mentorship from the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia to study under award-winning writer, William Kowalski. I am also a graduate of the Humber School for Writers, where I studied novel writing under two-time Governor General Award winner, David Adams Richards. My first novel, Somewhere I Belong, is based on a true story and was released on November 1, 2014 by Acorn Press Canada.
As a published author and fiction writer, I offer developmental writing services, coaching, and copy editing, structural editing to emerging writers of fiction and non-fiction in short-story, novel or book format. As an editor, I revise scholarly works written by academics whose first language is not English and who wish to complete their master’s theses, PhD dissertations, or publish in English-language academic journals. I also completed an indexing course at the University of California at Berkeley and index books on economics, politics, history, and topics of general interest.