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Regional Authors Book Fair

AIDS survivor Stirling writes of
fight to become an author

Crestwood, Ky., author
to join others at daylong event

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(September 2012) – Suzan Stirling discovered a love for writing at an early age that has stayed with her into adulthood. She is a first time novelist, an AIDS survivor and advocate, and someone who meets challenges head on.
In 1996 after the birth of her second child, Stirling discovered that she had AIDS. Unbeknownst to her, she had contracted AIDS years earlier. Stirling was not content to let her life end or not follow her dreams of becoming a writer.
Her passion for writing never left, so she enrolled in a community college in the hopes of pursuing her goal. As it turns out, the English 101 class she took was taught by Pulitzer-nominated writer, Lee Pennington.

Regional Authors
Book Fair

• 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at Village Lights Bookstore, 110 E. Main St., Madison, Ind. Free.
• Authors to Sign and Read: Keith Brabender (A Deserted Place); Keith Gaddy Davis (The Pause: A Christmas Gift and Oxalis: A Story of Renewal); John Henry Hoffman (Lockport Blues); Dorothy Darnall Jones (Emilie Pariet Todd Helm – Abraham Lincoln’s Little Sister); John Pesta (Safely Buried: A Mystery); Bonnie J. Poore (Welcome Aboard… Meet the Captain!); Stephen W. Scott (Sergeant Major Dan Daly: The Most Outstanding Marine of All Time); Suzan Stirling (Mercy Bleu)
• Information: (812) 265-1800

She states on her website that from this class she learned “to hone the dream, learn the craft and cling to the belief that if I worked hard enough, anything was possible.” Stirling published her first piece, “The Lost Story,” during this profound learning experience.
Stirling, who lives in Crestwood, Ky., has released her first novel, “The Silence of Mercy Blue,” which she began writing in 2009. Even before she had the chance to complete the novel, it was chosen as a semi-finalist in the William Faulkner Novel-In-Progress Competition.
Stirling will be one of eight authors on hand for the second annual Regional Authors Book Fair at Village Lights Bookstore, 110 E. Main St., Madison, Ind. The fair will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, and feature local and regional authors from Kentucky and Indiana.
Nathan Montoya, co-owner of Village Lights Bookstore, said that Stirling’s presence will add a human interest to the lineup, as she is “someone who is living with AIDS and active in the AIDS awareness movement.”
All of the authors had contacted Montoya interested in taking part in this year’s Author’s Fair. “Some of them we had in inventory, some we have recently added,” said Montoya.
“We hope to feature the best quality authors possible.”
Last year “the authors had a great time,” he said. Although held during the Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art, an extremely busy weekend for the arts community, he had a lot of foot traffic through his store.
His goal in featuring authors such as Stirling is to provide a venue, give exposure and promote the many local authors in the area. Authors were chosen “on the basis of the relevance of their works to the community. We went for a balance between subject matter and type of book. We were going for a variety,” Montoya said.
The eight authors will perform a “round-robin” of books signings and individual readings on two floors of the bookstore. Each author will sign books on the main floor for two hours, and present one 40-minute reading and presentation in the second floor Atrium Room.
In addition to Stirling, other authors who will appear include Keith Brabender from Osgood, Ind. Brabender’s novel, “A Deserted Place,” spans the years 1965 to 1995. It is a “work of fiction derivative of his own life,” said Montoya.
Author Keith Gaddy Davis is from Turners Station, Ky. He is known for his inspirational books, said Montoya, and his natural storytelling style. Davis wrote “The Pause: A Christmas Gift” and “Oxalis: A Story of Renewal.”
John Henry Hoffman of Pendleton, Ky., is a syndicated columnist and radio talk show host. He has released his first in a series of Jace Sterling murder mysteries, “Lockport Blues.” “The novel jumps back and forth in time, which provides a nice texture to a mystery,” Montoya said.
Madison resident Dorothy Darnall Jones is a graduate of Purdue University. Her book is titled, “Emilie Pariet Todd Helm-Abraham Lincoln’s Little Sister.” Jones’ interest in her subject matter, Emilie Todd Helm, began when she served as a docent in Helm’s former home in Madison during the Candlelight Tour of Homes. Emilie Todd Helm was a half sister to Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of President Abraham Lincoln.
John Pesta of Vallonia, Ind., was a professional journalist whose novel, “Safely Buried: A Mystery,” is “very well written,” said Montoya. “He’s been writing all his life and it shows.” Incidentally, Pesta’s wife and son both have showings in the artists’ gallery at Village Lights Bookstore.
Author Bonnie J. Poore, who lives in Bethlehem, Ky., has written “Welcome Aboard…Meet the Captain!” She has a passion for the river and has written a memoir based upon her real life experiences living aboard a houseboat, Bonnie Belle, with her husband and three daughters. The couple built a business out of her husband’s dream of being a riverboat captain.
Madison resident Stephen W. Scott is an independent historian and works part-time for the Schroeder Saddletree Factory Museum. “His book is an historical account of a marine and has been out for quite some time,” Montoya said. It is titled, “Sergeant Major Dan Daly: The Most Outstanding Marine of All Time.” It is the story of a man who joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1899 and participated in several wars and countless invasions, saving American lives and twice earning the Medal of Honor.

• For more information contact Village Lights Bookstore at (812) 265-1800.

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