The DarbyChronicles: life, death, and laughs in a small town

NOTE: Back in 2018, the publisher of the Darby Chronicles went out of business, but Wesleyan University Press picked up the rights from yours truly and is reprinting all seven of the current novels in August of 2021. During the same time period, Plaidswede Publications will publish WHIRLYBIRD ISLAND; the setting is fictional Darby, but the format is different from the previous novels. WHIRLYBIRD ISLAND is a murder mystery with a serious theme, the emotional wreckage and violence that can occur in the aftermath of war.

I have a huge amount of writings and drawings dealing with the seven published novels of the Darby Chronicles and with related incidents in my own life. I would like to make all this stuff available to the public. My aim is to provide readers with the stories behind the stories relating to the Darby novels, the craft of fiction writing, and the various serious and comedic states of mind of the author.

I welcome comments, especially those that can help me refine the prose. None of this work has been edited by anyone other myself, so it's bound to be full of defects; accordingly, I invite readers to find my typos, unbollix my grammar, point out my errors of fact, and correct my form to prevent belly flops into bubbling, prosaic lava that I mistake for pools of divine madness.

Why name this page Ernest Hebert's Darby? Because Darby, New Hampshire, is my virtual home. I move back and forth between my material home in a small New Hampshire town, and the spirit home in my books. I decided to make Darby the gathering place for my fictional characters, because I love small towns and because I wanted Darby to serve as a microcosm of another place I love, America.

My goal in future posts is to give readers a window into what goes into the creation of a world built with words.

Let us begin with a brief publishing history of The Darby Chronicles.

THE DOGS OF MARCH (Viking, 1979), citation for excellence in a first published novel, from the Ernest Hemingway Foundation.

A LITTLE MORE THAN KIN (Viking, 1982).

WHISPER MY NAME (Viking, 1984).

THE PASSION OF ESTELLE JORDAN (Viking, 1987), my only novel with a woman protagonist.

LIVE FREE OR DIE (Viking, 1990), named a notable book of the year by the New York Times Book Review.

SPOONWOOD (University Press of New England, 2006), winner of an IPPY (Independent Publisher Book Award), for best regional novel in the Northeast, 2006.

HOWARD ELMAN'S FAREWELL (University Press of New England, 2014)

In 1993, University Press of New England published THE KINSHIP, which includes the two Darby novels that focus on the rural underclass, A LITTLE MORE THAN KIN and THE PASSION OF ESTELLE JORDAN along with People of the Kinship, a long essay related to those two books.

WHIRLYBIRD ISLAND (Plaidswede Publications, 2021), a literary murder mystery.