Mary Korpi, currently a docent at Horton Point Lighthouse in Southold, was intrigued by the story of Stella Prince, the only female lighthouse keeper at Horton Point Lighthouse in the early 1900s.
Ms. Prince was a lighthouse keeper at Horton Point Lighthouse for many years but was only documented as a lighthouse keeper there from 1903 to 1904 and Ms. Korpi wondered why.
However, when she tried to research her, Ms. Korpi realized that there wasn’t much information available on Ms. Prince.
After a four-year journey researching and compiling Ms. Prince’s story, Ms. Korpi published her historical novel, “The Lady Lighthouse Keeper.”
“So that’s really why I wrote the book, because I couldn’t find it anywhere,” Ms. Korpi said. “I would have liked to just read the book, but I couldn’t find it, so I ultimately decided to do some original research and that’s what got me into this.”
The Southold Historical Museum will be hosting a launch of the book on Saturday, April 2, at 2 p.m. at the museum’s Ann Currie-Bell House, according to a press release.
Deanna Witte-Walker, executive director at the Southold Historical Museum, was one of nine readers for the book before it was published, and she loved it so much she read it in a weekend.
“The narrative was just so much more enhanced, so that now when I walk [into the lighthouse], I’m reminded of things that came up in this book,” Ms. Witte-Walker said.
Southold Historical Museum maintains a nautical museum at Horton Point Lighthouse, which are the original keepers’ quarters.
Museum volunteers bring visitors up the tower and share insights into the lives of the lighthouse keepers and local nautical history. According to the press release, the Nautical Museum at the Lighthouse reopens on May 28.
“There are certain facts that as a historical museum that we can share … but having this kind of narrative and having a story really enhances that,” Ms. Witte-Walker said.
At the launch Ms. Korpi will be speaking about her writing journey and read a few passages from the book. They will have the book available for purchase and inscription by Ms. Korpi.
Ms. Korpi will also be hosting various author talks including at Mattituck-Laurel Library on May 22 at 2 p.m. and at Cutchogue New Suffolk Free Library on June 29 at 6:30 p.m.
Although the book is based on Ms. Prince’s history, drawing from her father’s journal entries and postcards sent to Ms. Prince by family members and more, Ms. Korpi emphasized that her book is a work of fiction.
“The bones of this book are factual, the history is real, but I had to take and extrapolate from that and create the story,” Ms. Korpi said. “It was just like, take these little pieces of things that I could find and then build a story around that.”
The book is available through the publisher lulu.com and on Amazon. It is also on sale at Burton’s Book Store in Greenport and at the Southold Historical Museum gift shop.