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Archive for The Cutting

Hayman to Participate in Literary Barn Raising for Cynthia Thayer

“Maine has an unusually strong, tightly-woven writing community, and when tragedy happens to one of us, it impacts us all.”

(writer Shonna Milliken Humphrey in Portland Press Herald)

Darthia Farm prior to the fire

When novelist Cynthia Thayer lost nearly one hundred farm animals (among them draft horses, calves, pigs, and sheep) to a devastating barn fire on the early morning of May 7th, injuring herself in an attempt to save them, Maine’s literary community collectively gasped. Cynthia is not only a beloved member of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance community, but her Darthia Farm operates organically and participates in the Community Supported Agriculture program. Peaks Island author James Hayman joins dozens of other authors who will band together for what they’re calling a literary barn raising this Friday, June 1st from 5-8 pm at Longfellow Books in Portland.

In a Maine Crime Writers essay, Jim shared how he befriended Cynthia:

I initially met Cynthia when she came down to Peaks Island to conduct a writing workshop at the island branch of Portland Public Library.  When I was introduced to her, I told her that I was hard at work on my first fiction.
“How much have you written?” she asked.
“One hundred and fifty pages,” I replied.

James Hayman

“Would you like me to read it and give you my opinion?”
“I’d be thrilled,” I said, surprised by her generosity.
“I have to warn you,” she said, “I’m not your mother.  If I think it’s dreadful, I won’t spare your feelings.”
I told her I wouldn’t want it any other way. I emailed her the manuscript that night and she called me back less than twenty-four hours later.
“I have to tell you,” she said, “You kept me up all night.  I think the book’s terrific.” Once again, I was thrilled. These were the first words from anyone whose literary judgment I respected that made me think that maybe, just maybe I might really become a novelist. She then offered a number of suggestions on how to improve the manuscript.  In each case, she was right. Her suggestions did improve it.

From there, Jim explains, Cynthia became a good friend and mentor. He’s pleased to join the legion of friends and colleagues who are raising funds to help rebuild the barn and acquire new livestock. You can learn more about Cynthia’s writing here and either attend the book-signing event at Longfellow Books or donate to the Darthia Farm Fund.

Literary Barn Raising, June 1, 2012

James Hayman, “The Cutting”

James "Jim" Hayman

James "Jim" Hayman

The first line of James Hayman’s debut thriller The Cutting reads “Fog can be a sudden thing on the Maine coast.” These days, fog is nearly a constant thing but that hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm for the launching of Jim’s first novel set here in Portland, Maine. Islanders flocked to a book launching party on the West End, eager to celebrate a neighbor’s success.

Hayman's debut thriller

Hayman's debut thriller

Jim hasn’t always been logging miles on Peaks Island roads. He was born in Brooklyn, graduated from Brown University, and then spent nearly thirty years working as a copywriter and creative director for some of Madison Avenue’s biggest ad agencies. When he wasn’t busy with accounts like the U.S. Army and Proctor & Gamble, he and his wife, Jeanne, were raising their two children, Ben and Kate.

Nancy Beebee and Cheryl Higgins

Islanders Nancy Beebee and Cheryl Higgins enjoy launch party

Fortunately for our literary community, Jim left New York in August of 2001 in search of just the right place to begin a new career. He landed on what is fondly known as “The Rock.” It must have been a good match for he soon became the author of non-fiction titles Taken at the Flood and Once Upon a Hospital, histories of Banknorth and Maine Medical Center, respectively. Now he has his first mystery thriller under his belt and has nearly completed his second in the series. The Cutting has been selected for the July 2009 American Booksellers AssociationIndie Next Great Reads List,” placing it among the fifteen or so best books published this month, in the opinion of independent booksellers across the country.

Be sure to check out Jim’s website at and give him a “Congrats!” when you see him on the ferry.

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