In the 17th and early 18th centuries New Jersey saw its share of infamous pirates protected, even aided and abetted them, fed them, loved them. Jamaica Inn and Frenchman Creek had nothing over the creeks and rivers and villages of New Jersey. Blackbeard, and Captain Morgan, and Captain Kidd among less notable wayfarers
And that’s why I was thinking about pirates that night at the pier.
I had just started putting together my Jersey Shore novel Whisper Beach. I knew I wanted it to be a somewhat whimsical town, in a Jersey in your face style of whimsy.
So as the waves rolled onto the sand I came up with a legend about the beach.
To the locals, Whisper Beach got its name from the sound of the waves shush-shushing against the pylons of the pier. Those with a more imaginative nature, usually after several pints down at Mike’s Pub, insist that one of Jean Lafitte’s mistresses brought her baby there every day waiting for a glimpse of his ship and shushing her baby’s cries with a promise of his return.
Young girls still climb beneath the pier at night to whisper the name of a boy, in hopes he’ll be the one they marry.
But any teenager, wife, husband, or public figure who’d ever felt the lash of town gossip knew that the whispers were only the beginning. And they didn’t stop until they turned into a roar.
I imagined young girls sneaking out to meet their friends at the pier, whispering heartfelt names of pimply boys and football players not in white hand embroidered nightgowns, but in mismatched pjs with photos of the Jonas Brothers and Backstreet Boys on the front.
Whisper Beach is a story of four friends, reunited at a funeral. Who grew up in a simpler time at the shore and who have tried to adapt each in her own way. But who will have to reevaluate everything they thought they knew before. That’s okay, they’ll make it.
We know how to make our own kind of legends here in Jersey. After all we brought you Desperate Housewives and the Jersey Shore. And the women of Whisper Beach have their own story to tell. JUNE 16