Fall Book Sale

The fall book sale will be October 23-27.
Wednesday, Oct 23, is Friends Preview day from 4-7:30 p.m. at the Main Branch of the Orange County Public Library. Members only!

Sale is open to the public:

  • Thursday, Oct 24, 9:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct 25, 9:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct 26, 9:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct 27, Bag Day, 12-4 p.m.
We would love for you to volunteer to help set up, work the sales floor, or break down. If you can volunteer, please sign up here or send an email to focplnc@gmail.com.

Fall Book Drive: Donations Needed

When: Saturday, October 19, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Where: Meeting Room, Orange County Public Library, Hillsborough

We are soliciting donations for our Fall Book Sale. Please drop by the library to drop off your donated books anytime Saturday afternoon or during the Book Sale setup on the following Monday or Tuesday.

An Interview with J. S. Emuakpor

The Local Authors Book Fair is almost here! We’re so excited about our fabulous list of guests and hope all of you will come out to support our vibrant local writing community. We’re so fortunate to live in a place with so many talented locals!

To whet your appetite for the readings and book fair, we’ll be offering interviews with some of our guests across the next few days. Let’s meet J. S. Emuakpor. 

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FOCPL: What should readers know before they pick up one of your books?

My book is not for the easily scandalized. There is some mature content, and graphic battle scenes.

FOCPL: Why are you a writer? What drew you into a writing life?

Technically, I’ve always been a writer. Just not a published one. I distinctly remember drawing stories before I learned how to spell. Being a novelist, however, isn’t something I chose. I wrote “Queen of Zazzau” because I felt a compulsion to do so; Amina of Zazzau chose me. She wanted her story told and she wrote it through me.

FOCPL: Where do you write? Do you have a particular routine you follow?

I prefer to write in the evenings, after my family members have each retired to his/her own domains for the night. It is then that silence descends upon the house and the magic can manifest.

FOCPL: If you came with a warning label, what would it say?

Warning: Does not suffer fools lightly.

FOCPL: Do you have a favorite among your own works? Which is it and why?

Seeing as how I’ve only completed one novel, my favorite is Queen of Zazzau.  As for my characters, I like the God of War (Queen of Zazzau/Descent) best. I like that character because he is the most like me of all my characters. I’m a touch narcissistic.

FOCPL: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a child, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I also wanted to be a geneticist.  I ended up getting my bachelor’s degree in Zoology with a concentration in Genetics, then I went on to get my Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine.

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An Interview with Anna Jean Mayhew

The Local Authors Book Fair is almost here! We’re so excited about our fabulous list of guests and hope all of you will come out to support our vibrant local writing community. We’re so fortunate to live in a place with so many talented locals!

To whet your appetite for the readings and book fair, we’ll be offering interviews with some of our guests across the next few days. Let’s meet Anna Jean Mayhew. 

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FOCPL: What should readers know before they pick up one of your books?

That I am first and foremost a Southern (USA) woman, inexorably connected to place; my writing always reflects my life growing up in the North Carolina Piedmont, both at the foot of the Appalachians and at the coast. I am drawn to stories set in the Jim Crow era, and I enjoy the research required by historical fiction.

FOCPL: If you came with a warning label, what would it say? 

I used to tell people to be careful around me because they might wind up in one of my stories; however, over the years I’ve learned that such a warning isn’t necessary: if I do use people as models for my characters, they never recognize themselves in my work.

FOCPL: What part of writing brings you joy? What part do you struggle with?

Revision, hands down; I’ve often quoted Ray Bradbury, who I heard at an SF convention in 1985; when asked about his writing habit he said, “I throw up in the morning and I clean up in the afternoon.” The cleaning up part of writing is what I find most fun. The first draft is always my hardest, can take me years; then the revision comes so easily.

FOCPL: What do you dream about when it comes to your writing life?

Fame and fortune, doesn’t everyone? But while fame and fortune would be nice, I dream more about making a difference through my writing, of opening someone’s eyes when it comes to the social issues that are at the core of my novels.

FOCPL: Have you had any important mentors in your writing life? 

My first novel is dedicated: “for Jean-Michel and for Laurel.” Jean-Michel is my husband, and while he has been incredibly influential in terms of helping me make space in my life for my writing, my true mentor is Laurel Goldman. For 32 years she has led the group of writers with whom I meet every Thursday morning in Chapel Hill. She’s handed me Kleenex when I cry and has laughed with me in moments of joy; her brilliant and always well-meaning critique has given me the equivalent of an MFA in writing.

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An Interview With Samantha Bryant

The Local Authors Book Fair is almost here! We’re so excited about our fabulous list of guests and hope all of you will come out to support our vibrant local writing community. We’re so fortunate to live in a place with so many talented locals!

To whet your appetite for the readings and book fair, we’ll be offering interviews with some of our guests across the next few days. Let’s meet Samantha Bryant. 

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FOCPL: Why are you a writer? What drew you into a writing life? 

I am probably a writer because I was first a reader. Books were my first love, even before chocolate! My mother and I lived in the library when I was a child. Dr. Seuss was probably my gateway drug, with his love of whimsy and rhyme. Of course, there’s also Spiderman, whose comics I got secondhand at a used bookstore when my mom could spare a dime for that. 

More directly, my first grade teacher, Mrs. Aldsorf, might be to blame. She was the one who leaned down by my desk one day and whispered, “You know, you could write poems, too, if you want to.” I’ve written ever since: poetry first, now more novels and short stories. 

FOCPL: Where do you write? Do you have a particular routine you follow?

Over the years, I’ve learned to write anywhere. In fact, I’m writing this sitting on the couch at a beauty salon while my daughter is having her hair colored. I wrote one of my novels mostly on the mom couch at Krav Maga lessons. I’ve written standing in the kitchen, hiding in the bathroom, in a moving car (while someone else drives) and sometimes even at a desk like a normal person!  Thank goodness for blank books and laptop computers. Portability is key for me. 

Now that my eldest has gone off to college, I’m converting the smallest bedroom into an office, and it’s a joy to have an actual designated place to write! 

As for routine, I have two, depending on the time of year. 

menos-seriesI’m a full time middle school teacher and mom to two daughters and a rescue dog, so writing has been something I’ve had to fit into the edges of my life. During school recesses, I begin my day with a walk and some caffeine, then settle in for a couple of hours of writing time before anything else. 

During the school year, that’s not possible unless I want to take my walk at 4:30 in the morning in the dark. (spoiler: I don’t). So, my writing time is squashed into an hour or two after supper, if the rest of my life allows. I do write every single day, though, even if it’s only fifteen minutes and a couple of hundred words. My daily writing chain is now nearly six years long. 

FOCPL: If you came with a warning label, what would it say? 

Dangerous When Bored, which is also my planned name of my indie imprint. I’m working towards putting out my first independently published project this fall, a collection of short stories, weird tales set in a suburban neighborhood suspiciously similar to the one I live in. I plan to release Stories from Shadow Hill for Halloween. Seems apropos. 

FOCPL: What part of writing brings you joy? What part do you struggle with?

Writing itself brings me joy. I process the world through story, and I find it exhilarating to turn my weird little thoughts and questions into fiction. Beginning to write something new always feels like I’m leaving on an exciting trip. 

Finishing things was my struggle for many years. I’d start project after project and never finish anything. I didn’t really start trying to develop the personal discipline I’d need until my 42nd birthday. That year, I decided to take Douglas Adams to heart: since 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything, it was the year to make a real commitment to my writing. Two years later, my first book (Going Through the Change: A Menopausal Superhero Novel) was offered a contract. 

These days, my struggles aren’t so much with the writing itself, but with career management: balancing writing time with promotional work and handling the business of publishing. 

FOCPL: What do you dream about when it comes to your writing life?

I’m a simple girl. I’d like to see my work find a wide enough audience that I could give up all my other money-earning schemes and focus solely on my writing. Since I’m a teacher by trade, in North Carolina (a notoriously low-paying state), it’s not that wild a dream. It’s entirely possible, in fact, which is exciting and a bit frightening at the same time. 

If I’m being crazy, I dream of my life of words finding a level of success that funds my travel dreams and takes away my worries about funding college for my girls. The problem with that is that I’m on the introverted side. Can my books be famous without anyone actually knowing who I am? That would be perfect!

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An Interview with Thomas Fenske

The Local Authors Book Fair is almost here! We’re so excited about our fabulous list of guests and hope all of you will come out to support our vibrant local writing community. We’re so fortunate to live in a place with so many talented locals!

To whet your appetite for the readings and book fair, we’ll be offering interviews with some of our guests across the next few days. Let’s meet Thomas Fenske!

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FOCPL: What should readers know before they pick up one of your books?

I actually queried one of my fans about this … here is what they said: They are hard to put down once started. Expect the unexpected. You will be pulled along and become one with the characters.

LuckyStrike-WEBFOCPL: Where do you write? Do you have a particular routine you follow?

 I write best when the house is quiet, early in the morning. I sit in a big easy chair with my mouse on the arm of the chair. When I’m working on a new draft I generally get up earlier than I normally do: when I am in “novel mode” I find that I am driven to continue working.

FOCPL: If you came with a warning label, what would it say?

 CAUTION, NOVELIST: Anything you do or say could end up in one of his works.

FOCPL: What part of writing brings you joy? What part do you struggle with?

Completing a draft is quite satisfying.
Revision is harder and I wonder to myself sometimes, “Who wrote this crap?”
Being offered a contract is great.
Marketing is the pits and I find I must grapple with its realities constantly.

FOCPL: What famous authors (dead or alive) would you like to visit with? Why?

 My first choice might seem like an odd one.  Ernie Pyle. He was a non-fiction writer who tackled some of the most difficult writing imaginable, under horrendous conditions as a war correspondent. He hated what he had tasked himself to do, yet he told the stories that needed to be told and continued to return to the battlefields, where he ultimately gave his life. He was a marvelous wordsmith and he brought the nitty-gritty of World War II to everyday Americans in a way no one else could.  He is easily one of the best writers of the Twentieth Century. Another would be Tolkien, but I’d query him on his World War I exploits, not on his tales of Hobbits and Elves. 

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An Interview With Suzanne Adair

The Local Authors Book Fair is almost here! We’re so excited about our fabulous list of guests and hope all of you will come out to support our vibrant local writing community. We’re so fortunate to live in a place with so many talented locals!

To whet your appetite for the readings and book fair, we’ll be offering interviews with some of our guests across the next few days. Let’s meet Suzanne Adair!

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FOCPL: What should readers know before they pick up one of your books?

This won’t be the sanitized American Revolution pabulum you were fed in high school history class.

FOCPL: Why are you a writer?

I’m a writer because I enjoy tormenting imaginary people.

180214KillerDebtEbookCover700x1050FOCPL: What drew you into a writing life?

It was the power of nature unleashed in the hurricane I experienced when I was in second grade, plus (in the same month) a case of the mumps, which got me quarantined from school. I almost went out of my mind with boredom until I realized how well I could entertain myself by writing stories.

FOCPL: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An author (from second grade). To please family members, who believe art isn’t an legitimate career, I was a scientist for a while. I think they’ve given up on me.

FOCPL: Have you had any important mentors in your writing life?

Aside from the hurricane? Several teachers encouraged me when I was young. And one of the first things my editor said after he’d read my manuscripts fifteen years ago was, “You realize you write the Hero’s Journey, don’t you?” Hero’s Journey? (Cue deer-in-the-headlights stare.) I made the acquaintance of Joseph Campbell, Christopher Vogler, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Carl Jung, and others who have described archetypes and the stages of psychological journeys.

FOCPL: What famous authors (dead or alive) would you like to visit with? Why?

Robert Louis Stevenson and Daphne du Maurier. Both of them were experts at  plunging readers into high adventure.

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An Interview With Melissa Bourbon/Winnie Archer

The Local Authors Book Fair is almost here! We’re so excited about our fabulous list of guests and hope all of you will come out to support our vibrant local writing community. We’re so fortunate to live in a place with so many talented locals!

To whet your appetite for the readings and book fair, we’ll be offering interviews with some of our guests across the next few days. Let’s meet a woman of two writing personalities: Melissa Bourbon who also writes the bestselling Bread Shop mysteries as Winnie Archer.

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FOCPL: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I grew up wanting to be a chef. I dreamed of having a career centered around food and cooking. My dad encouraged me—and when I say encouraged, I mean he said, “Go to college for two years, then we’ll talk”—to go to college. I did, and two years in, I told him I was ready to go to culinary school. He kind of shrugged and said, “Well, you’re halfway through, you might as well finish.” By the time four years had passed, I’d declared English Literature as my major and decided on a career in teaching, which I’ve done on and off over the years.

FOCPL: Where do you write? Do you have a particular routine you follow?

My writing routine has evolved over the years. I started out writing whenever I had a spare moment—in the midst of teaching and raising five kids. I wrote my first book on a laptop at the diningroom table. Now that I’m fortunate enough to write fulltime, I usually do some sort of exercise in the morning, do whatever chores and errands need to be done, and write the rest of the day. If I’m on a deadline, I have to be in my office where I accomplish so much more, but often, on a normal writing day, I’m outside on the porch or on the couch with my dogs curled up next to me. It can be a little too quiet and isolating sometimes (those are the moments when I want to go back to the classroom!), but I love visiting the characters who have become a huge part of me on a daily basis.

FOCPL: What part of writing brings you joy? What part do you struggle with?

Writing the first draft of a book is always the most challenging part of the process to me. I struggle sometimes with plotting because my brain does not function in a highly organized or logical fashion. So much of what happens in my books is organic and comes to me during the actual process of writing. That can be incredibly fun and rewarding, but it is also very frustrating at times!

FOCPL: What do you dream about when it comes to your writing life?

My sixteenth and seventeenth books just released this August (What Lola Wants and Flour in the Attic). I love writing cozy mysteries, but I also have the strong desire to spread my writing wings and delve into a different type of book. Within the next few years, I will be continuing my current series, but at the same time I’ll be developing and working on a women’s fiction novel. I’m so excited about it!

FOCPL: Have you had any moments when you’ve wanted to give up?

Pursuing a writing career can be gut-wrenching. The rejections early on felt like personal judgements against me and my ability to tell a story that others actually wanted to read. Pushing through that period and knowing that I was playing the long game is the reason that I’m here today, seventeen books under my belt, and still going strong. I’ve learned so much over the years and have really honed my craft. It’s still challenging to write a book. Every. Single. Time. But emails and messages from readers saying they love my series or characters are so rewarding. To know that other people read my books and are basically living in my imagination is incredible!

FOCPL: What famous authors (dead or alive) would you like to visit with? Why?

As a writer, I’m an introvert, which means I spent most of my high school lunch periods holed up in a classroom reading. Those were great years. I made my way through nearly every Agatha Christie mystery! If I had to choose an author to spend some time with, it would be her.

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An Interview with Dee Stribling

The Local Authors Book Fair is almost here! We’re so excited about our fabulous list of guests and hope all of you will come out to support our vibrant local writing community. We’re so fortunate to live in a place with so many talented locals!

To whet your appetite for the readings and book fair, we’ll be offering interviews with some of our guests across the next few days.

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FOCPL: What should readers know before they pick up one of your books?

That I have an academic background in Geography (specifically, Medical Geography – for example, where to place healthcare services, or CDC and flu diffusion).  Geography is about spatial relationships; both physical and cultural geography inform my poetry about people and place. I also want readers to know I honor and cherish the friends, family, and places that inspire many of my poems. 

FOCPL: Why are you a writer? What drew you into a writing life? 

Writing and art have always been part of my life. I’m a writer because that’s who I am, there’s no choice about it. I remember begging my mother to enroll me in the “Famous Writer Courses” as a kid (I dreamed big even then 😉 I wrote a lot in high school and dedicated my first collection of poems to my high school English teacher – who encouraged me to “just write” and not worry about whether it was “good” or not. Writing and the writing life draw me because both bring joy and fulfillment. I’m very thankful to finally be able to be in the “writing life” full-time.

FOCPL: Where do you write? Do you have a particular routine you follow?

Anywhere. I always have a notebook with me – poems often start as illegible scribbles while I’m driving. Words come to me and I have to write them down. I also keep a notebook by my bed. My favorite place to write is at the dining room table – lots of light in that space, with a good view of bird feeders (which my cat also enjoys).

FOCPL: What part of writing brings you joy? What part do you struggle with?

The spontaneity of creativity brings me joy – looking at a blank page and seeing what words appear on it. The joy of playing with words and form, taking what I “see”, trying to get that on the page in a way that comes back to three dimensions for the reader. (And hoping they’ll interpret it as it fits their world.) Challenge comes in trying to write prose with characters and dialog.

FOCPL: Have you had any important mentors in your writing life? 

I have many people to thank and count all of them as mentors in a way. Georgann Eubanks (who got me started with Table Rock Writers), Judy Goldman – perfect gentle support when I decided to write again after years in the corporate world. Zelda Lockhart, John Bemis, Joseph Bathanti, Darnell Arnoult, Phillip Shabazz. There are poets I admire and count as inspirational mentors – Jaki Shelton Green and Joy Harjo, for example.

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An Interview with Alexis Thomas

The Local Authors Book Fair is almost here! We’re so excited about our fabulous list of guests and hope all of you will come out to support our vibrant local writing community. We’re so fortunate to live in a place with so many talented locals!

To whet your appetite for the readings and book fair, we’ll be offering interviews with some of our guests across the next few days. Let’s meet Alexis Thomas!

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FOCPL: What should readers know before they pick up one of your books? 

This book has multiple voices surrounding complex and deep emotions in regards to being adopted from Colombia and never knowing one’s own history, culture or biological family. Some of the writers in the book have found some biological family members, some have not.

FOCPL: If you came with a warning label, what would it say?  

I don’t change who I am for anyone or any situation. I am honest and occasionally blunt.  I am a stubborn and determined individual. I take what life has thrown at me in the past and use it as my testimony for others who may have either experienced similar situations or who are at this current time dealing with abuse or trauma.

FOCPL: What part of writing brings you joy? What part do you struggle with? 

Writing my thoughts and feelings down on paper/computer brings me joy, just for the fact that I am able to pull them out of my head.  It is kind of like self-therapy for me. On the other hand though, writing is also a struggle for me because it brings up pain and grief from past experiences/trauma that can be difficult for anyone to revisit.  I am proud of myself when I am able to write and put into words for others to read, knowing that my story is being read by so many others.

FOCPL: What do you dream about when it comes to your writing life? 

I have a two part dream when it comes to my writing life.  First, I dream that someday I will complete my very own memoir that I have been working on for the past 2 years.  That someday my personal life journey will be able to be shared amongst everyone and people would be able to take a peep into my world.  Secondly, I dream that maybe someday I can venture out past my own story and dive into some fiction writing (science or supernatural).

FOCPL: What famous authors (dead or alive) would you like to visit with? Why?  

I would love to meet Judy Blume. I LOVED her books when I was growing up.  One other author I would have loved to have met, Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne of Green Gables was my FAVORITE book series of all time!! I used to read those stories all the time. I felt such a connection with Anne that I felt as though she was writing about me!!  

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