A Map of Busman’s Harbor #giveaway

Hi All. Today I’m celebrating the release of Shucked Apart, the ninth book in the Maine Clambake Mystery series, with a giveaway of a map of the setting for the books: Busman’s Harbor, Maine.

If you want to see the full map, it is here. (Scroll down after you’ve followed the link.)

How did this come about? Several years ago I wrote about the map of Three Pines being offered by Louise Penny’s publisher. The maker of that map, Rhys Davies, reached out to the Wickeds and we’ve been in touch ever since. Last July, Edith did an Ask the Expert post on the blog with Rhys.

I have always been tempted by the idea of a map of Busman’s Harbor. I’ve loved maps of fictional places since I was a kid. I decided that if I signed a contract for Maine Clambake books ten through twelve, my present to myself would be a map.

Once Rhys and I agreed to do the map, the question was–what would it look like? I remember listening to William Kent Krueger on a panel when he said he knew the neighborhood where his protagonist Cork O’Connor lived really well and he knew the area where Cork’s office/burger joint is, but in between was a bit like the old maps, “Here be dragons.”

Busman’s Harbor was the same for me. Even though it is based on a real place, Boothbay Harbor, Maine, I’ve moved things around and made up a bunch of stuff. And, of course, maps of this type, which are really illustrations, simplify a lot even for real places.

We started with our inspiration, which was this map of Boothbay Harbor that hangs on the wall in my living room.

At the bottom it says, “Copyright 1931, Ethel B. Fowler.” In the other bottom corner it says, “This map designed here. The Bridge House Studio. Boothbay Harbor, Maine.” The Bridge House was directly across the water from our former house in Boothbay Harbor. I spent many happy hours on our front porch looking at it. I wrote several of the Maine Clambake Mysteries from that spot. The Bridge House has been a special place for me for a long time.

I used a real map of Boothbay Harbor to guide me for the initial sketch.

I have often described Busman’s Harbor as looking like a lobster hanging in the sea, so I also downloaded a lobster sketch to help me out. (I looked at hundreds.)

Here’ the first sketch I sent to Rhys. I sent along a Word doc with a prose explanation, too.

Note that I had mixed up east and west. Rhys helpfully straightened me out. This is the kind of project I love to do, but not the kind I’m good at.

Rhys and I iterated back and forth, him adding to the map, me sending back notes.

Slowly, slowly we got to the final.

One piece of advice I would give every author reading this, have your map made before you write nine novels and four novellas, putting stakes in the ground every step of the way–some of them contradictory!

Getting the illustrations of the houses was, if anything, more of an adventure. I’ll write about that process in my next Wicked blog post on March 8th.

Louise Penny has said she was reluctant to have a map because she wanted Three Pines to live in each reader’s imagination. I believe that, too. Every reader’s Busman’s Harbor is different and there is a risk in making it concrete, ink on paper, pixels on screen.

The final map isn’t exactly my Busman’s Harbor. But it is the Busman’s Harbor Rhys and I created together.

Readers: What do you think of the map? If you’ve read some of the books, it is the Busman’s Harbor you imagined?

As a reminder, you can sign up to get a printed copy of the map here.

Also, don’t forget to buy Shucked Apart!

Buy links


Barnes & Noble



Your Local Independent Bookstore

57 Thoughts

  1. So interesting. Personally, I like to see where books are set. I always look at the maps at the beginning of books – if they have one. Love the cover of the new book! Going to take a peek now.

  2. This is delightful, Barb! I’m so glad you worked with Rhys, and thank you for sharing the process. How big is the finished map? Did you end up with a digital copy of it?

    Happy release day, too. I hope to pick up my copy (curbside) at my local bookstore today.

  3. Shucked Apart is the current summit of the ARC mountain. Back to the 8,951 unread emails…

  4. I love this! I like having maps of the towns. I feel it helps, rather than hinders, creating my picture of the place.

  5. I live in Winthrop, Maine and have been to Boothbay a bazillion times – it never gets old! Love your version if the map!

  6. Congratulations on the release of “Shucked Apart” and the realization of the map of Busman’s Harbor!

    The map looks amazing and I appreciate all the steps it took to make it a reality. Can’t wait for the opportunity to read “Busman’s Harbor” which has high priority on my TBR list. Love the cover! My hubby loves oysters on the half shell and would love to be sitting down at that picnic table. Think I’ll show him the cover and watch him drool. 🙂 One of our favorite memories was our bucket list trip to Maine in the fall.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  7. Wonderful. I’m a map freak. If I’m spending a lot of time with a character, I’m mentally mapping. Your Busman’s Harbor map is just as I imagined it to be.

  8. So cool, love the map and the process. I always enjoy the geography in books. You new one is now waiting for me in my Kindle. Yay.

  9. Congratulations on the new release! I love this series! I think the map is a great idea. I’m curious to see if the way I pictured the town is what the author had in mind. Plus, a map makes a cozy more cozy; you get to know the town on another level. I’m excited to receive the map!

  10. Barb, I love seeing maps in mysteries (and other books). It may be partly because I am a geographer by training, and collected maps from my travels. Thank you for sharing the process that you and Rhys went through to visualize Busman’s Harbor on paper.

    I read an ARC of Shucked Apart last week, and enjoyed it a lot!

    Fingers crossed that you will find a way to allow Canadians to get a copy of the map someday.

  11. The map idea is great fun and I always enjoy matching my imaginary take on the author’s town with her own. I was able to pick up “Shucked Apart” at B&N on Sunday. Happy Reader here. 🙂

  12. Barb, this map is wonderful! It was fascinating to read how it all came about. It captures the coziness of what I imagined Busman’s Harbor to be. I can’t wait to receive it…It’ll be fun to have something to look forward to!

  13. I love maps…great job on this one! It does remind me of the head of a lobster.

  14. Thank you for sharing the design process. I think the results are worth all the hard work! And, thank you for the gift map!

  15. How I love maps! What a fascinating process! When I first saw it, I did immediately think lobster – but subtle lobster. What a wonderful way to celebrate your series.

  16. I absolutely love it. I’ve tried to imagine all of it, but I can’t seem to hold all the details in my memory. This makes everything more real, except now I’ll think I can really go there. Once Covid dies down, maybe I can get up to Boothbay Harbor. Next best thing.

  17. I love maps for series, because I often have a difficult time picturing where one location is in relation to others. Thanks for sharing this map of Busman’s Harbor!

  18. I’ve got to admit, that isn’t how I pictured things at all. So clearly, this map is all wrong. 😉

    Seriously, it’s nice to have some idea what it really looks like. We’ll see if that changes my mental image with the next book.

    And congrats on book 9! My review will be up in the morning.

  19. Congrats on your new book! I love seeing maps in books, especially in a series so I can really picture the town. This is a great looking map!

  20. Congrats on the new book, I work in a library and we are getting it for our collection. I can’t wait to read it. I absolutely love the map. I’ve spent summers in Boothbay Harbor so it’s really cool to have a series in a place I can really picture. Love the lobster image. It’s pretty much how I picture Busman’s Harbor. My mom and I both read the series and we like to try and compare it to Boothbay Harbor and guess how things have been changed for the books and what’s the same. Thanks for explaining the process.

  21. What a great idea! I love the map so much!

    Will you post an update of Canadians are able to receive the map in the future?

    Can’t wait to read the book!!

  22. I love the map. Thank you so much for your explanation. Thank you for sharing your time and your talent. God bless you.

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