So & So

Nautical Novel

Wickford author Greg Coppa draws inspiration from South County in his latest novel Second Chances

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On a chilly December day, there’s nothing quite like curling up under a heavy blanket and getting lost in the pages of a good book. Longtime Wickford resident and author of story-turned-Hallmark film “November Christmas”, Greg Coppa’s latest novel, Second Chances, is the perfect book for that raw, wintry day.

Set in beloved South County, the novel follows main character Skip, an ex-US Marine who’s lived in St. Thomas for years managing a luxury charter boat fleet. When a sudden twist of fate occurs, Skip is forced to return home to Rhode Island, a place of debilitating childhood trauma, which is where the story truly begins.

Much of Coppa’s inspiration for the novel comes from his Ocean State surroundings – Wickford in particular. He shares how much “[he] loves Narragansett Bay and the people [he] bikes past, sails by, and chats with in the [area],” adding that he had “no shortage of subjects upon which to partially base the characters in my story.”

The novel describes the quintessential South County “swampers” and fishermen, much of whom spend their days digging steamers, bull-raking littlenecks, lobstering, or dragging for scallops. He discloses, “If you live in South County, you won’t have to look far to see a John, Ed, or Skip (the main characters) working by the shore, running a sawmill in the woods, or trying to make a living on a small family farm. They’re the people I love and love to write about.”

Coppa has lived in Rhode Island for most of his life, sharing a fondness for the land and water just as most natives do. He expresses how easy it is to write about the things he knows and says that he relates to what he sees and remembers seeing. “At nearly 70 years of age, I have seen and remembered a lot,” he explains. “The book just kind of fell into place because it had been percolating in my mind for so long.”

After what seemed like 17 years in the making of Second Chances, Coppa is excited to get on the water and travel whenever he can, saying, “It is now my turn to share the stories of adventure.”