His name is Skip. He first began visiting the Vineyard as a child during the summer of 1955, and came of age in Oak Bluffs, calling Inkwell Beach his playground.
Her name is Kathleen. Her family has also vacationed on the Island since the 1950s. She learned to ride a bike in the Highlands and can still remember the freedom she first felt as a young girl racing through the streets on two wheels.
If this were a book, perhaps even set on Martha’s Vineyard, Skip and Kathleen would meet one summer, have a fling, and then maybe find each other years later, in retirement say, and fall in love for real. Not a bad plot, maybe even something a film company might nibble at, or why not a reality television show?
But this is real life, and the twists and turns are always more unique. For this story Skip Finley and Kathleen McGhee-Anderson do indeed meet up later in life. But it’s words they fall in love with rather than each other.
In recent years, Mr. Finley could be found lounging around the Vineyard having a bad go at retiring, yet again. He has lived a business life of musical mayhem, working in radio and television (owning several radio stations from 1983 to 1995), and the sleepy life of puttering at the beach or golf course was not for him.
Ms. McGhee-Anderson has written for television, stage and the screen. Her credits include episodes of Little House on the Prairie, The Cosby Show and many more. Her career was still in full flower.
Mr. Finley first encountered the work of Ms. McGhee-Anderson when his wife, Karen, took him to one of her plays at the Vineyard Playhouse. He was smitten with her talent. Ms. McGhee-Anderson was equally impressed with Mr. Finley’s own prowess on the page. Mr. Finley is the Oak Bluffs town columnist for the Vineyard Gazette.
In 2011, Ms. McGhee-Anderson approached Mr. Finley to help with a book she was working on. It was to be a love story set on Martha’s Vineyard. She had the female character down, but the male voice was eluding her. Could Mr. Finley ride to the rescue with a bit of machismo? But of course.
The duo decided to alternate chapters, each providing the voice of their characters and exchanging drafts over email.
The result is A Martha’s Vineyard Love Story, just published this week. Mr. Finley and Ms. McGhee-Anderson will hold a book signing from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 5, at the Cousen Rose Gallery, 71 Upper Circuit avenue in Oak Bluffs, and at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 10, at the Aquinnah library.