When the Rev. Steve Burt was pastor at Edgecomb Congregational Church in the late 1990s, he penned a few Halloween tales that appeared in a local newspaper.
“Captain James’s Bones,” about a graveyard prank by schoolchildren that goes horribly wrong, was set in New Harbor. “Lighthouse Moths” focused on the shipwreck of a wooden coastal schooner and brought disembodied spirits to the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. “The Strand” followed a young boy’s low-tide crossings of a “nubble” to his great-aunt’s mysterious island house.
Locals, especially teens, loved the creepy, imaginative stories.
Recently those three tales were republished in Burt’s 20-story collection, “New England Seaside, Roadside, Graveside, Darkside.” On Friday, Nov. 3, the book was named Best Young Adult Fiction at the Halloween Book Festival in Hollywood, Calif.
“I think those Lincoln County stories I wrote while living in South Bristol, while pastoring the Congregational Church at Edgecomb; I walked my dog Opie on the Loop Road at Pemaquid every night, were the ones that most influenced the panel of judges,” Burt said. “Of course, my Vermont and New Hampshire campfire stories were solid fare, too, but I think it was the Bristol peninsula ghost stories that wowed them.”
Burt now splits his writing year between Florida and Wells. He has a three-book teen series, FreeKs, that is set in the Bridgton/Sebago Lake area. His two latest adult novels, “The Bookseller’s Daughter” and “Protect the Queen,” set in York County, won the New York and Hollywood Book Festival awards.
Burt’s books are available at all Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop locations and online.