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Area authors talk about writing, share advice

By Laura Hayes


Posted 10/10/18

Six area authors talked about their latest work and writing process, read excerpts and gave advice to budding writers at the Local Author Event at St. Peter’s Church on Saturday.

The event …

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Area authors talk about writing, share advice


Six area authors talked about their latest work and writing process, read excerpts and gave advice to budding writers at the Local Author Event at St. Peter’s Church on Saturday.

The event was organized by Middletown Public Library.

This is the third year that the library has held the discussion, according to Middletown Public Library Director John Grayshaw. One of the library employees who runs the book clubs came up with the event, and Grayshaw said he thought it was a great idea.

The library, he said, should support local authors, who are trying to get their books out to the public, and help them network.

“Everyone writes something a little different,” Grayshaw said.

The featured authors will have their books available at the Middletown Public Library.

• Misty Simon lives in Mechanicsburg. Her new series, the “Tallie Graver Mysteries,” is set in a town based on Mechanicsburg, specifically at the funeral home and Eckels Ice Cream Fountain. Her relatives have lived in the area for years, and Simon said she fell in love with the town when she and her family would visit.

“Even though the town is made up, they still know people. Then they start looking for themselves and want to know if they’re the dead body,” Simon said.

• April O’Connell, based in Lewisberry, said she has been writing for her whole life, but she didn’t get the courage to put out her first book until she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her newest book “They Call Me Jane” is about an 11-year-old girl growing up in a jungle in the 1920s.

“This is really for women to have a voice. She’s ‘Jane’ because of all of the Jane Does out there who never get a chance to tell their stories,” O’Connell said.

• Middletown’s Margaret Houser wrote a book called “He is Her Friend,” an autobiography about her daughter and son-in-law who have learning disabilities and Houser’s struggles to help them live independently and hold full-time jobs.

To this day, Houser said, her daughter is still maturing.

“This book is very emotional to me because it just lets you know what individuals like this can do if you put the time and effort in,” Houser said.

• Leta Hawk lives in Dillsburg and writes paranormal mysteries. She recently came out with the fourth installment of her Kyrie Carter series called “An Uneasy Inheritance.” The book is set in Renovo, after a great-aunt leaves the protagonist her mansion. She said she’s planning to write one more book in the series.

“I always said I would never write a story with a family secret because it’s so overdone. You know what they say about never say never,” Hawk said.

• Although her mother is a writer, Natalie Damschroder, who’s based in Mechanicsburg, said she used to consider herself a reader, not a writer.

“That was her thing. So I didn’t want it to be my thing,” Damschroder said.

People told her that writing was her strength, and it wasn’t until she moved to central Pennsylvania that she began writing books.

Her newest superhero series includes “The Color of Courage” and “The Light of Redemption.”

• For the past two years, Nicole Zoltack, who lives in Hellertown, has been working on a 15-book series called “Once Upon a Darkened Night” that flips around fairy tales, making the villain the hero. So far, she’s written the first 10 books of the series, and since 2009, she’s penned around 30 novels.

Her advice? “Give yourself permission to write a crappy first draft,” Zoltack said.