Randall Probert, author of the popular Maine backwoods Warden mysteries, stopped by the bookstore to unveil his newest venture in historical fiction, Train to Barnjum.
Kenny: So Randall is there any truth to the rumor that you have written a work of historical fiction which documents the history of the Narrow Gauge railroading communities in central Maine?
Randall: Yes. My new book is Train to Barnjum. It depicts the early history of the communities and the lumbering operations that grew up because of the Sandy River railroad. When the railroad was disbanded the lumbering communities ceased as well.
Kenny: If ever a topic were fraught with local interest it is that! I know you do a good deal of research for your books. I don’t suppose you’ve unearthed any startling new information?
Randall: As you may know Pierpol was a Native American living in the Strong area before the white man settled it. One of the legends about Pierpol was his lead mine in what is now Day Mountain. From my research I believe it was more silver than lead but he didn’t want any trouble with the white traders in Farmington Falls. I think he knew what he had but accepted lead prices for that reason.
Kenny: Hmn, I’ll have to check with Anstiss Morrill to see if The Falls has reformed itself in the interim. I’m sure you don’t have any other fresh ground concerning Pierpol to relate?
Randall: Actually I do and it concerns his name. Everybody called him Pierpol but I found out that his christian name at baptism was Pierre Paul.
Kenny: All right so you took all your research and wove it onto a story. Can you tell us a little about the story?
Randall: In 1880 the Maine Warden Service was created, mostly to stop the commercial hunting of caribou, moose, and deer which was being used to feed the wood crews. I created the character Sterling Sylvanus, who becomes a game warden in that area, to patrol the woods and the lumbering communities enforcing the new laws.
Kenny: What was the most surprising thing you encountered in your research?
Randall: I would say The Greene Farm. I thought it was always part of the lumbering community but it was actually an agricultural farm which supplied the lumbering community with food, hay and grain. The farm burnt in 1871.
Kenny: Very interesting! So what’s up your sleeve next Randall?
Randall: I’m trying to think of something. I’d like to continue the legend of Carjou, which comes into this book a little. It appeared in my A Grafton Tale and was passed on to a character in this book.
Kenny: Well thank you so much Randall.
Randall: It was my pleasure.