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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

VCFA's Miciah Bay Gault Pens Debut Novel — A Thriller Set Just Off Martha's Vineyard

Headshot of author Miciah Bay Gault
Daryl Burtnett

Goodnight Stranger is a psychological thriller focused on a brother and sister, orphaned after the death of their parents. The tense tale is the debut novel of Miciah Bay Gault, who teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Gault teaches in VCFA's MFA in Writing and Publishing program and also organizes the Vermont Book Award. She told VPR that publishing her first novel is "almost indescrible," as the book is 15 years in the making.

"I think the premise is the same but everything else has changed in that time," Gault said. "It's probably gone through, I'm going to guess 60, 70 drafts? It's been an intense process."

In Goodnight Stranger, the character Lydia looks after her brother Lucas, who is painfully shy and can barely engage with other people. Lucas is obsessed with the memory of a third sibling, a brother who died when he was just a few weeks old.

Lydia and Lucas live together on a small island off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, which helps Lucas hide from the world — but it's complicated for Lydia, her own dreams sacrificed for her younger brother's care.

The cover of the novel Goodnight Stranger. It features a house in water.
Credit Courtesy
A launch party for Michiah Bay Gault's book 'Goodnight Stranger' will take place Tuesday evening at Bear Pond Books, in Montpelier.

"I was really interested in that idea of loving a place so much it feels like such a big part of your identity, and you feel kind of trapped there — you know, that push and pull," Gault said.

When a mysterious stranger enters the siblings' lives, Lucas is convinced he's the reincarnation of the infant brother they both lost. From there, a twisting tale unfolds — but no spoilers here.

Listen to Gault's conversation with VPR's Mitch Wertlieb above. A launch party for Goodnight Stranger will take place Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Bear Pond Books, in Montpelier.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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