SOUTH COUNTY – A lifelong South County resident recently published her first novel about a fictional seaside community in Rhode Island.
Carol Hazlehurst, or Carroll Kenyon, the name under which she published “Azimuth Point,” spent 12 years perfecting her book.
She finally decided to put pen to paper in 2000 when at the beach with a friend who told her, ‘With your imagination, you should really write a book.”
So she began “Azimuth Point.” Multiple rewrites later, Hazlehurst finally published the book last September.
“It’s the strangest thing, all of these characters seemed to get legs and take on lives of their own,” Hazlehurst said of her writing process. “I just all of a sudden found that the ideas were just pouring through my head as if it were those people and that’s how it happened.”
When she had one of her many drafts completed, Hazlehurst gave the book to her neighbor.
“I can’t believe you killed her, you can’t kill her,” Hazlehurst’s neighbor told her regarding the fate of one of the main characters.
Other readers had the same reaction as Hazlehurst’s neighbor.
“Everybody was saying, ‘No, you can’t kill her, you can’t kill her,’ so I had to do a new ending,” Hazlehurst said.
Then, two years ago, a friend invited Hazlehurst to join the South County Writer’s Group, which meets twice a month in the Narragansett library.
In order to join, Hazlehurst had to submit a copy of her book for review.
“I think they took one look at it and said, ‘Boy, does she need help,’” she joked.
But Hazlehurst credits the group with her book’s success.
“I got there and they forced me to essentially rewrite the entire thing four times,” she said. “But they were really fantastic. Most of them had all been published and without their help I never could have made it as good as it is.”
Tracy Hart, of Matunuck, who is also a member of the writer’s group, then further edited the book, which Hazlehurst called a “beach book.” Michael Grossman, of Narragansett, formatted Hazlehurst’s book for publication through his e-publication company, www.ebookbakery.com .
Hazlehurst insists that characters in the book aren’t based on anyone she knows in real life.
“Everybody said, ‘OK, am I in it?’” Hazlehurst said of questions she received when the book was published. “No, no, I tried very hard not to put anybody I knew in it.”
Hazlehurst said that she received complaints that it was difficult to keep track of all of the characters in her book, so with the help of her son, Tidge Holmberg, she built a website based on the book’s cover.
The cover is a watercolor map of Azimuth Point, done by Holley Flagg, an international artist and Rhode Island summer resident.
Holmberg then used Flagg’s art to create www.azimuthpoint.com , an interactive website which allows users to click on locations and homes on the map to find out more about that particular place or the characters who live in each house.
“The response has been amazing,” Hazlehurst said about the “Azimuth Point” website. “People just love it.”
While Hazlehurst’s characters and Azimuth Point may be entirely fictional, she does reference real Rhode Island towns and landmarks throughout the book.
This is no surprise given that Hazlehurst, who currently lives in North Kingstown, was born and raised in Wakefield.
Her South County roots were also the basis for her pseudonym, Carroll Kenyon.
“I made up the name from my own name,” Hazlehurst said. “I added an extra ‘r’ and an extra ‘l’ to my first name and used my middle name as the last name.”
Hazlehurst’s middle name, Kenyon, is a family name. Her great-grandfather, O.P. Kenyon, founded Kenyon’s Department Store, whose building still remains on the corner of Main Street and Kenyon Avenue in downtown Wakefield.
Hazlehurst’s, or rather, Kenyon’s, “summer paperback,” as she calls it, is a true South County production. The book is the first in a triology.
Get a copy
“Azimuth Point” is available at Wakefield Books or online as a paperback or e-book through many retailers. Visit www.carrollkenyon.com  or www.azimuthpoint.com  to order the book or learn more about the southern Rhode Island “soap opera.”