The Vigilance of Stars: A UMF professor’s tribute to home

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The Vigilance of Stars can be found on Amazon.

FARMINGTON – After more than thirty years of living in Maine, author and University of Maine at Farmington professor Patricia O’Donnell recently honored her home state with the publication of her fourth novel.

“I wanted to give Maine its due,” O’Donnell said.

The Vigilance of Stars was recently released by Unsolicited Press- a small publication company in the Pacific Northwest. Set in both urban and rural Maine, the work of fiction entwines the stories of four different characters, all attempting to traverse the complications of life.

“The characters’ lives spiral together, moving with inexorable force toward an ending which takes place on an uninhabited island in Maine where the stars stand watch over lives both old and new,” O’Donnell summarizes.
The story goes on to include some of O’Donnell’s favorite places in Maine, including a version of Parker Pond, and scenes set in Rangeley. Although the characters are primarily fictitious, Rangeley’s Wilhelm Reich is included as a minor, but important character. O’Donnell said she did extensive research on the psychiatrist, whose laboratory still exists as a museum in Rangeley.

O’Donnell first began writing the novel in 2013 while on sabbatical from UMF. She completed the first draft that year, going on to edit and revise before submitting for publication.

“I wrote five days a week. It really did take discipline, but it was helpful already having my first book published. It made me confident that it was worthwhile, that I didn’t need to get up to rake leaves or make dinner,” O’Donnell said. “You have to have faith to have discipline. It’s hard to have discipline if you don’t believe it will happen.”

O’Donnell will be reading from The Vigilance of Stars at Devaney, Doak & Garrett on May 16 and at the Wilton Free Public Library on May 30. To buy a copy of the book, click here.

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  1. Pat is a wonderful writer, and gets better with every book. I just finished The Vigilance of Stars and heard her read from it recently in Iowa, her home state. She reads well, and her prose is luminous. Highly recommended.

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