For decades, Steve Richardson, a language arts teacher at Parkview, has been impressing upon his students that to get the most out of a book you need to know the author. I tend to agree with Steve and ever since my sons attended Parkview, I've always make a point of reading the "about the author" blurb in a book before I read it. For this reason I love how the Gwinnett County Public Library sponsors the Meet the Author Series for the community.
Through this program I met authors like Rick Bragg, who wrote "All Over But the Shoutin" and Sara Gruen, author of "Water for Elephants," who amazed me with the research she put in to her novels.
The library staff continues to create these opportunities for readers of all ages. In February, my granddaughter Brooke attended a Mardi Gras tea where she met Evelyn Coleman, one of the authors of the American Girl series. After a brief talk and bead- stringing activity, Brooke was able to spend a little time alone questioning the author and getting a personalized penned message on her souvenir copy of her latest book. I found this really special since Brooke's Grandma Penny had just given her an American Girl doll for Christmas along with a book to start her collection of this wonderful series.
Just a few weeks ago, Stuart Woods entertained fans with stories of what influenced his writing, and the series continues this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Norcross Cultural Center. Three best-selling authors will discuss their books and books in general in terms of past, present and future.
Claire Cook's past includes a most moving experience as she loves telling about the first of her ten novels that she penned at age 45 in her minivan. Five years later her second novel, "Must Love Dogs" was made into a film. Her most recent work, "Life's a Beach," will be featured and I can't wait to ask her what influenced her characters' discussion of mortal vs venial sin.
Cindy Woodsmall, who writes about the Amish, really captivated me with "When the Heart Cries," bringing back memories of living in Pennsylvania.
Wendy Wax, award-winning author of eight novels, will focus on "Magnolia Wednesdays" but I hope I can get her to spend some time on her latest work, "While We Were Watching Downton Abbey."
Yes, I said "I" because Denise Auger of GCPL graciously asked me to lead the discussion. There will be time at the end for questions from the audience, but if there's something you'd like to know up front, just zap me an email and I'll try to work it in.
The event is free and their books will be available for purchase. The featured books will be raffled off as door prizes. And if you win, the real treasure will be that you know the author.
For more information, visit www.gwinnettpl.org.
Susan Larson is a writer from Lilburn. Email her at email@example.com.