On Saturday, Sept. 15, the Putnam County Public Library will be teeming with authors for the Festival of the Book.
Philip Gulley, keynote speaker for the event, was recently featured in an August 11, 2007, article in The Wall Street Journal. A Quaker pastor, Gulley will talk about small-town life -- which most in Putnam County know a great deal about. He will also address the loss of an earlier era when many of life's problems could be sorted out by talking with friends on the front porch. "Philip Gulley has become the voice of small-town American life and an observer of humanity without match."
Porch Talk with Phil Gulley airs on Indiana's PBS affiliate WFYI television's flagship show "Across Indiana." Gulley will entertain with tales from his most recent book, "Porch Talk: Stories of Decency, Common Sense, and Other Endangered Species."
Deborah Asante is a storyteller from way back. She discovered, as the oldest of five children, that stories have power. When she told stories to her brothers and sisters they loved them and soon were asking for more. In exchange, Deborah would get them to do her chores for her! She is founder and director of the Asante Children's Theatre, a youth acting troupe dedicated to teaching and learning culture through the dramatic arts. Deborah's program will feature stories she has written and include improvisational stories and games to encourage children to use their imaginations to create their own stories.
One of three authors to grace the first-time writers panel talk, "Just How Did I Get Here?!," is Lisa Lutz. While writing and rewriting a mob comedy called "Plan B," made into a movie in 2000, Lisa vowed she would never write another screenplay. Lutz began working on "The Spellman Files" in January of 2004. In the fall of that year, she drove across the country and moved into a 200-year-old house in the town of Westernville, New York (pop. 300) where she shoveled snow and wrote the bulk of her first novel, which has been described as Nancy Drew meets The Royal Tenebaums. "The Spellman Files" is a sharply funny, suspenseful look at a family trying to restore peace. Her second book comes out in March 2008 and "The Spellman Files" has been optioned for a movie.
Also on the first-time author panel is Jeffrey McCall, professor of communication at DePauw University, with his first book, "Viewer Discretion Advised: Taking Control of Mass Media Influences."
McCall appeared on Champaign, Ill., CBS affiliate WCIA-TV's morning news program where he said, "The book is a call for people to be more active in their media consumption and to take charge, and to let media producers know what they think about the content." McCall's columns on contemporary media matters have been published in a number of newspapers. He is a widely quoted media observer and critic.
Lane Robins, the third author on the first author panel, was born into a family that encouraged interest in both the arts and sciences. How could she not become a science fiction and fantasy writer? She holds a B.A. in creative writing from Beloit College in Wisconsin and attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop. Robins is a spotlighted author from Random House where they have this to say about her first book "Maledicte," "from a dazzling new voice in fantasy comes a mesmerizing tale of treachery, passion, intrigue, betrayal, and an act of pure vengeance that threatens to bring down a kingdom." Robins is currently at work on the sequel.
Murder Most Mysterious, the mystery author panel, will feature four authors. Scarlett Dean, has been a true paranormal fan since childhood, and has always enjoyed creating her own dark worlds and characters. "I remember racing home everyday after school to catch the last fifteen minutes of my favorite soap opera, Dark Shadows". A full-time author, Dean has four books in the horror and mystery genres and has published her own quarterly magazine featuring the works of other authors. She likes to speak at schools to promote the gift of writing and to encourage reading. Her most recent book is "Invisible Shield," a paranormal mystery.
Kit Ehrman grew up near the Baltimore city line. After discovering the works of Dick Francis, Ehrman quit her government job and went to work in the horse industry. Twenty-five years later, she combined her love of horses and mysteries by penning the award-winning, equine-oriented mystery series featuring barn manager and amateur sleuth Steve Cline. Published by Poisoned Pen Press, the series has received outstanding reviews in The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus, The Denver Post, and the Chicago Tribune among others. Her most recent book in the Steve Cline mystery series, Triple Cross, won the 2007 Best Books of Indiana Fiction Award.
J.A. Konrath, a Chicago native, gets the city ambience just right in his mystery series featuring Chicago Police Lieutenant Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels. For readers who like a healthy dose of humor with their mysteries--Konrath is the perfect choice. Here is some insight into Konrath's most recent in the series, "Dirty Martini," just released this summer as reviewed by Library Journal. "Mix witty repartee with edge-of-your-chair suspense, over-the-top killing devices, and action that never takes a breather, and you have Konrath's latest white-knuckle thriller. Not to be missed."
Michael Koryta, at age 24, is being hailed as one of America's foremost young mystery writers. Koryta, a graduate of Bloomington North High School and Indiana University, began his career writing for the Bloomington Herald- Times. His first novel, "Tonight I Said Goodbye" (2004) won the prestigious St. Martin's Press/Private Eye Writers of America Prize for the best first P.I. novel and was an Edgar Award finalist for best first novel. "A Welcome Grave", his third book in the Lincoln Perry series, was released this summer and is a 2007 Quill Award nominee.
The appeal of graphic novels for teens continues to grow -- and Jay Hosler will speak to The Power of Comics, at the Festival. Hosler, an Assistant Professor of Biology at Juniata College in Huntington, PA, is a 1989 graduate of DePauw University. Currently he is the 2007 -- 08 Lee G. Hall Distinguished Visiting Professor of Biology at DePauw. While not teaching biology, Hosler is writing comics and graphic novels. He has two published graphic novels, "Clan Apis" and "The Sandwalk Adventures", which will be the subject of his interactive talk -- which includes drawing and sound effects.
Sponsors for the Festival of the Book include Amber Bowers Photography, the BannerGraphic, Bright Futures, Dr. James Elrod Fund, Fine Print Book Store, First National Bank, Friends of the Library, Furniture A-Ware House, Headley Hardware & Equipment Rental, Putnam County Farm Bureau, Victorian Inn & Day Spa, Walden Inn & Conference Center, and Wal-Mart Supercenter.
For more information about the Festival authors, events, and times visit the PCPL website, www.putnam.lib.in.us
(A second article will cover local authors, workshops, and other events for the Festival of the Book.)