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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Author Talk

     I had a chance to hear two different authors discuss their work this past week.  The first one a self-published author with her first book, E.J. Willis and the second one a well-known mainstream author with over 16 books to her credit, Anne Lamott.

     Last Monday night at the Hutchinson Public Library, E.J. Willis introduced a small but enthusiastic crowd to her first book, Battle For The Throne.  The story is set in medieval times and it the first of a series. It is geared towards the young adult audience, but Willis acknowledged that more adults are reading it than her target group.  It says a lot about a work of art when it appeals to a wider audience.  J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame didn't write the Harry Potter books for adults. 

     Willis prepared a powerpoint presentation which covered her journey through writing, revision, and self- publishing.  She shared some of the pitfalls she faced, as well as her success's.  She provided valuable information on how to obtain reviews for your book, how to go about finding illustrators for cover art, and information on self-publishing.  Primarily her message was, if you have a dream, follow it, you never know where it might lead and who you might meet along the way that God has placed there to help move you along.  She stayed on point with her discussion and even provided a variety of ways to contact her if anyone in the audience needed additional information. 

     Last Thursday night at The Stiefel Theatre in Salina I had the chance to hear Anne Lamott speak about her journey.  I'm a bit confused by it.  I spoke to some other folks that were at this event and they had the same reaction.  Lamott was all over the place.  I had hoped to hear about her writing and get some tips, pointers, inspiration.  She acknowledged at the beginning of her talk that she had planned to discuss writing and that was what she was there to do, but then she got lost.

     I'm not sure what happened.  She spoke about a lot of different topics and just kept getting lost.  It was interesting, but not worth the price of admission.  I don't know if she was having a bad night, or what was going on.  She said that she had just returned to the U.S. from a trip to Greece, so maybe she was tired and jet lagged.  I don't know.  The one thing that stood out for me was a quote by E.L. Doctorow, she mentioned several times: "Writing a novel is like driving a car at night.  You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."  Perhaps that was simply why I was there, to hear that quote.  It seems to be my only take away from the evening.  Lamott signed books at the end of the night, and I was first in line, and she signed my copy of Bird By Bird.

     Interesting week, filled with two different authors at opposite ends of the publishing scale.  If you are interested in a copy of Willis' book, she works in circulation at the Hutchinson Public Library and would be happy to sell you a copy of her book and personally autograph it for you.  It's also available on Amazon if you'd prefer to purchase it there.  Lamott's books are available at Hastings Books and Music, if you'd like to purchase them locally, and they are also available on Amazon.  The Hutchinson Public Library also has these books in their collection for checkout.

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