The Lake of Dreams: On the Finger Lakes

Last week I had the pleasure of reading at Cayuga Community College in Auburn, NY, so I was back in the heart of the Finger Lakes.  I graduated from Cayuga before I went on to study at Colgate University, and I was editor of the yearbook in my second year.  It was so interesting to go through and see all the changes that have happened over the years.  People were complaining about the spike in gas prices back then, too-they had just spiked to 61 cents a gallon!

As always, it was beautiful there, though the weather was bad last week, with many tornado watches, thunderstorms, and torrential rains.  The lakes are nearing record levels.  Yet the forsythia was blooming and the daffodils were up, and just in the few days I was there I watched the trees go from bare to feathery green.

This beauty is what I carry with me from the area, and one of the pleasures of writing The Lake of Dreams was setting the book in this area that I know so well, and love.  The area was named because the eleven parallel lakes are long and narrow and very deep, formed as the glaciers retreated, digging out ancient river beds.  From the air it looks as if a giant hand has pressed itself into the earth.  The town of The Lake of Dreams is fictional, completely imagined, but woven with from my perceptions of all the lakes over the years.


  1. Carol Bach says

    It was so exciting to read “The Lake of Dreams” since I had gone to Keuka College in the 70’s and am familiar with the Finger Lakes area and its beauty. Keep writing wonderful stories!

    • Oh, Keuka College is beautiful! I’m so glad you enjoyed “The Lake of Dreams”–one of the pleasures of writing it was being able to imagine myself back in the Finger Lakes.

  2. Thanks so much for The Lake of Dreams. I just finished reading it, which was bittersweet. It is always satisfying to come to the end of a good story, but sad to be leaving that world and those characters…a combination of accomplishment and loss. I live a few hours north of the finger lakes and spent some time there as a newlywed. The elements that really drew me in were the stained glass and the history surrounding Rose and her life. Being removed from the limitations on women of Rose’s time, Lucy’s discovery of and fascination with her struggles mirrored my own responses at times. It’s a shame your book is a work of fiction because I feel drawn to take a road trip to see Frank Westrum’s stained glass, to visit Keegan’s glass shop, and to see the church. Thanks so much for your characters who are real people I feel I could bump into if I traveled to the area.

  3. Jude Tulla says

    I am reading “The Lake of Dreams” and having grown up between Cayuga and Seneca lakes it is thrilling to read so many names that I know so well!!! The army depot and the white deer stunned me since it is such an uncommon and unique feature of the area—my parents used to occasionally take us on the highways at the perimeter of the depot to look for the deer. We seldom saw them but were speechless when we did!!!! Thank you for sharing your good memories of the Finger Lakes in such a vivid way. I now live in northwestern Ontario and miss my roots sometimes but your book describes scenes of my younger years so well that I can close my eyes and see “home”. I look forward to reading your other works as well!!

    • Thanks, Jude. I know that area between the lakes very well. One of the great pleasures of writing this novel was dwelling in that beautiful landscape again. I think the places we grow up stay with us forever.

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