Some people think writing a book is as simple as telling a story through words and pictures. Liz Long is of the opinion that writing a book is significantly harder than it sounds.
“It’s not just about getting 80,000 words on paper. You have to create characters with depth, plots with interest, stories with themes and oomph,” Liz, an Associate Editor at Leisure Media 360, said. “I finished my first novel in 2012, after four years of cobbling it together. It’s always sort of a surreal accomplishment, especially seeing the paperback in your hands as a complete work.”
On Saturday, May 20, Liz was among several local authors who participated in READ LOCAL, a first-time event held at the Salem Museum. “We wanted to give avid readers a chance to discover great new books and talented writers in their own backyards,” Museum Director Fran Ferguson said. “The Salem Museum has a great facility, free admission and dedicated volunteers and supporters. It’s really important that we put these assets to work to actively and collaboratively strengthen the community in all sorts of ways.”
Mary Dalton has written several children’s books over the years and had them all on display throughout the event. “I write because I love children. I have a heavy heart for high at-risk children who do not have a good mentor in the home. It is my desire that through my books children can learn life lessons that will last a lifetime,” she said.
Tracee de Hahn says she felt a great deal of relief after she wrote her first book. “I wrote my first complete fiction manuscript when I was in college. Later, while practicing architecture, I was asked to write several non-fiction books for an educational series,” she said. “What made it real was going to bookstores and giving talks and having strangers ask questions about a book I’d written. This continues to be deeply rewarding.”
In six words, Tracee answered why it’s so important to support local authors. “Authors are a one-person business,” she said. Liz Long added: “It’s incredibly important for area residents to support local authors just as they would any small business or artist. It’s not just about driving the local economy, but showing support for people in your own community. It encourages writers, and you might be very surprised at how much talent is in your own backyard.”
Due to the overwhelming positive feedback, Fran says the plan is to host another READ LOCAL event next year. “I am tremendously grateful to the authors who spent the day with us, and to the sponsors who made it all possible: R. M. Johnson & Sons, the Salem Public Library, Book City Roanoke and the City of Salem for providing tech support,” she said. “Our authors contribute to the unique character of the region, and make Salem and the Roanoke Valley a truly delightful place to live.”