Mackinac Island’s ‘The Dockporter’ authors to give sneak peek at new book with island reading

MACKINAC ISLAND, MI – A couple popular authors who know a thing or two about deftly pedaling luggage-laden bicycles through the island’s downtown streets will be appearing at a book signing on Mackinac this weekend.

Dave McVeigh and Jim Bolone – former island dockporters who collaborated on last year’s successful “The Dockporter: A Mackinac Island Novel,” will be talking to readers and signing copies at 3 pm on Saturday, July 30 at The Island Bookstore. The longtime friends will also read a bit from a draft of their second book – an in-progress prequel tentatively titled “Somewhere in Crime.”

McVeigh and Bolone have said they’ve been grateful and a bit stunned by all the accolades for “The Dockporter” in the last year. The well-written adventure and coming-of-age tale quickly shot to the top of a young adult fiction category on Amazon shortly after its release last year. It made the 2022 Michigan Notable Books list, and is now available on Audible, in addition to a version for Kindle and of course for purchase online as well as at bookstores across the state.

The authors the early success last year with their first book signing on the island, a homecoming of sorts followed by an epic Road Jam ride that was part of a Dockporters reunion.

“The last year has been way beyond what we expected – the release and the book signing reunion last summer was beyond belief,” said McVeigh, a Milford native who grew up summering on the island and is now a writer/director living in the Philippines . “I got to see people I’ve not seen in a decade or more. We tore up the town, told all the old stories and created a few new stories, as ‘once a dockporter, always a dockporter’ remains a fact.

“The book seems to have hit a note for many people, even beyond the island or Michigan. It feels like there is an audience for something pure. We live in strange, complex times, but friendship, love, family, hard work, good times, cold lake water, and solid bikes will always win in the end. Now that the Audible version of the Dockporter is out, Jim and I are jamming on the prequel (Somewhere in Crime). We plan to keep this wild, creative ride going as long as we can.”

Dockporters from different eras gathered on Mackinac Island in July 2021. Photo provided by Dave McVeigh.

Praise for “The Dockporter” built quickly after last spring’s release, and its popularity reached far beyond Mackinac. Its spot-on details drew praise from former porters and island residents, but also from those who just love going to the island and seeing the latest generation of skilled dockporters loading up their trusty two-wheeled rides.

If you haven’t read it yet, here’s a peek into “The Dockporter” from our author feature: “The nostalgic storyline follows Jack McGuinn during the summer of 1989. On the surface, he has the coveted job of being an island dockporter. But behind the coolness of that Schwinn bike, he’s navigating changing family circumstances, a deepening rivalry with an island frenemy, questions about his college future and a head-over-handlebars romance. The dialogue is sharp and spot-on, the characters pull you in, and it has just enough profanity to make you laugh out loud.”

When the Audible version came out this spring, it had a very authentic touch for listeners: “We visited the island during the summer of 2021 and recorded real sounds. Combined with a cinematic musical score, it feels like your favorite (8 hour) independent movie, set on your favorite chunk of limestone,” the authors said.

McVeigh and Bolone aim to have their second book ready for fans by next summer. It will again reunite readers with their favorite paperboy, Jack McGuinn. But this time, he and his bike-riding pals are investigating a crime in the summer of 1979 while the rest of the island is in a bit of chaos during the filming of the time-travel novel “Somewhere in Time.” According to the authors, it will be a “hilarious, creepy yarn” that could only happen on Mackinac.

For Bolone, who spent eight summers on Mackinac and is now a writing teacher, seeing how their creative efforts have resonated so strongly with island lovers have been a very heartfelt experience.

“As much – if not more – fun we had developing and writing the story, I’ve been deeply affected by the community of readers across the country, and especially in the beautiful state of Michigan, who have been so interested and supportive of the work. It’s taken the whole thing beyond my expectations, something that will rest in my heart forever.”

Dockporter Reunion

Former dockporters and island workers pedal down Main Street in “Road Jam” formation during a 2021 reunion. Photo provided by Mark Sawatzki.

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