Author, author ... and more authors
About 60 authors from the Rogue Valley and other regions around Oregon — along with a few from Washington and Northern California — will represent their fiction, mystery, poetry, children's literature and nonfiction at the Southern Oregon Book and Author Fair to be held Saturday at Ashland Springs Hotel.
The annual fair has hosted a growing number of authors and writers since it began in 2003.
"We turned away more than 25 authors this year," says Trisha Barnes, the fair's volunteer director. "We're at our limit."
The event was founded by Phoenix author Jura MacLean Sherwood after her first book, "Wave Me Goodbye," was published in 2002.
"There was just no place between Portland and San Francisco for local authors to showcase their work," says MacLean Sherwood.
She and a handful of others put together a small show at the Heart of Medford Association's annual Art in the Alley, a precursor to Art in Bloom that was held at Medford's Middleford Alley.
The fair flourished over the years, with throngs of local literati crowding into the Ashland Community Center and Southern Oregon University's Stevenson Union, before it eventually settled at the second floor conservatory and ballroom of Ashland Springs Hotel.
"Every square inch of the ballroom will be stuffed with tables and authors," says Barnes. "Writers can rent space for $25. It's a great opportunity for them to network and get their work in front of publishers and readers."
Each year, an author is chosen to be a featured writer at the fair. This year, it was suggested that a blog writer be put in the spotlight.
Alisa Bowman of Pennsylvania, a former health and fitness editor for Runner's World magazine and author and co-author of several New York Times best-sellers, has had success with her marriage and relationship blog. She's made appearances on Fox News' "Ask Dr. Manny," the Discovery Health Channel and on NBC's "The 10! Show."
The range of regional authors at the show includes Kenneth R. Lewis of Rogue River, where he is chief of police. His crime fiction novel, "Little Blue Whales," was published last year. His second book, "The Sparrow's Blade," will be available at the fair.
Ashland author Molly Best Tinsley will be at the show. Her book "Satan's Chamber" was published in 2009. Her others include "Throwing Knives," "The Creative Process" and "My Life With Darwin." Tinsley has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts and Oregon Book Awards, among others.
Barnes is author of "The Klamath Treasure," a 2008 adventure story for teens based on the history of Happy Camp, Calif., and the lore of Northern California's gold-mining era. After dozens of rejection letters from editors who told Barnes her book was too regional, she founded River Canyon Press in Umpqua, near Roseburg, to publish her book.
"I've sold almost 3,000 copies of my book in two years," says Barnes.
Barnes' company is one of several small presses operating in the region. Others include Krill Press, Idylls Press, White Cloud Press and Riverwood Books.
"Our company doesn't have big book tours, but we've put together ways to help authors," says Barnes. "We visit book fairs and libraries and take advantage of social networking. There's a lot of good regional work out there."
Nonfiction writers at the fair will present folklore, memoirs, travel, historical, self-help and women's studies, among other genres.