Stargazey—What a wonderful whimsical word.
I confess I’d never heard of Stargazey Pie until late one Christmas Eve. I was wrapping after everyone else was asleep and watching PBS. A short film using the illustrations and text from the Antonia Barber and Nicola Bayley book, The Mousehole Cat, made me forget what I was doing. I watched in total awe.
I immediately ordered the book to read to my kids. Tom Bawcock’s Eve is celebrated on Dec 23, honoring the fisherman who saved the starving town of Mousehole (pronounced mauzel) in Cornwall, by braving a terrible storm to take his boat into the sea to catch enough to feed his neighbors. In the book his cat, Mawzer, take sa leading role by taming the anger of the Great Storm Cat.
The outcome of this daring and successful feat was stargazey pie, a fish and potato pie,
unusual because the heads (and sometimes the tails) of whole fish stick up from the pastry as if gazing at the sky.
I tucked that word, Stargazey, away just to enjoy in solitude.
I just held onto that word, tucked away, sometimes savored, and sometimes forgotten.
I began writing mysteries, romance and finally women’s fiction. I titled my first womens’ fiction novel, Beach Colors, and a theme was born.
The next novel takes place in a fictional coastal town in South Carolina. Forsaken and forgotten after a series of hurricanes and a changing economy, it is still a magical place. But what to name it? I began the book, nameless.
At one point one of my characters and his young nephew are looking up at the stars and he says, “There are a millions dreams up there, boy, and one of them belongs to you.”
And it came to me. Stargazey. I named my town and my novel Stargazey Point. A prequel novella, Stargazey Nights.
Stargazey Nights is available June 4. And Stargazey Point in on July 9th.
I hope you’ll join us there.