Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Indiana Historical Society Holiday Author Fair: A Whole Lotta Awesome!

A while back I mentioned my intention to drop into the Indiana Historical Society's Holiday Author Fair, in which 80+ local authors were on hand to autograph copies of their works. Could an event be more tailor-made for me, who lives in the past and subsists on books? The event was Saturday and it lived up to all my expectations.

Immediately upon arrival I was asked whether I would like to join the society. As a matter of fact, I did want to. I want to support history in Indiana; but I also want to learn more about the historical society's press, which seems like a dream employer to me.

The next stroke of good luck was running into my longtime friend Gayle (yes, just like Oprah, I have a friend named Gayle), whom I hadn't seen in some time. We did our catching up as we weaved among the many authors, asking about their inspirations and their publishing experience.

It was an interesting mix of the self-published and those with the backing of major publishers. Our first mandatory stop, of course, was to meet Terry Border, author of the quirky Bent Objects. We'd already corresponded via Twitter, so he knew I was coming. We enjoyed hearing about his creative process later during his presentation. He's a former commercial photographer and baker who went from the mundane to doing what he really loves: Making funny scenes with everyday objects and taking photos of them. I predict big things for him.

We also visited with Larry Sweazy, the Noblesville author of The Rattlesnake Season with Penguin. He's got a four-book deal, so he's working on the next installment. (He then chided me for not keeping this blog updated lately. Duly noted.) Next to him was another fellow Macmillan/Pearson alum, Chris Katsaropoulos, who told me he is serializing his entire novel, Fragile, over Twitter to promote it. Wow.

We enjoyed chatting with Scott Sanders about his Arcadia-published book devoted to the history of Burger Chef. Cool! I also had a nice discussion with Andrew Stoner about his book, Notorious 92, chronicling the most heinous murders in each of Indiana's 92 counties.

It was also great to finally meet Julie Young in person after having some online interactions with her last year. She's the author of an Arcadia book Historic Irvington, and A Belief in Providence, about Mother Guerin, Indiana's only saint. Turns out, Julie is writing a video script for my company and invited me to be her Facebook friend.

Last but not least, I had a private audience with Philip Gulley, author of I Love You, Miss Huddleston (and quite a collection of other highly successful books with Harper). I'm sure he wondered at some of my questions, but I was sizing up his book's appropriateness as a gift. He convinced me. I bought it.

Looking back, I enjoyed that the event wasn't overrun with people. But now I hope they had enough book buyers to make it worth their while. I know I came away some $200 lighter in the pocket.

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