Maryland writers at the 2012 Baltimore Book Festival [Pictures]
This weekend's Baltimore Book Festival is more than just a celebration of all things literary. It's also a chance for local authors to shine, in ways festivals in other cities might not afford.
Of course, Baltimore has produced its share of big-name authors, like Laura Lippman (who will be at the festival), Anne Tyler and Tom Clancy. But those represent only a small part of Charm City's literary community. In anticipation of their appearances at the festival, we asked 11 authors with Baltimore-area connections to talk about what they do, why they do it and how their hometown plays a role in their work.
-- Chris Kaltenbach
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Kate Dolan, Catonsville( Handout photo / September 25, 2012 )
• Describe your latest book Both my latest and upcoming releases are traditional Regency romance novellas. "Dinners with Mr. Danville" is in the anthology Cotillion Christmas Kisses and "Change of Address" is an upcoming release which will come out first on its own and then as part of the Cotillion Christmas Surprises anthology. I've also written historical fiction set in Maryland, contemporary Christian mysteries (also set in Maryland) and a children's book co-written with my daughter.
• Why write? What makes writing a book worthwhile? It took me the first 30+ years of my life to realize I'd always wanted to write fiction, and now, 15 years after that, I still haven't figured out why. I feel lost when I go too long without it. Sometimes, I feel a sense of satisfaction when I read back over something I've read. But just as often, I cringe when I read my own words. So why do I still feel compelled to write? When I figure it out, maybe it will be time to stop.
• How has growing up and/or living in the Baltimore area influenced your writing? When I first started writing seriously, I decided to set my book in Maryland because I thought it would be easier to research. That actually didn't turn out to be true -- it was difficult to find out about everyday life in Maryland in 1713. But it was extremely fulfilling to try to fill in the pieces of the puzzle and gave me a new connection with my adopted hometown (I'm originally from Chicago).
• Is the written word in trouble? Are authors an endangered breed? The written word is here to stay, but the book as we think of it may be endangered. People still like to read and still like to become engrossed in stories, but they don't always make time to sit down with a long book. I think eventually most people will be reading short articles and stories in segments, like TV shows or the old serially published novels, on their smartphones. Authors and publishers will need to adjust if they want to keep readers. Of course, since most of us write primarily for the joy of creation, authors will still be writing, even if it's only for an audience of one. So we're endangered in the sense that we might starve to death if trying to live on the sales of our work, but the profession won't vanish due to lack of interest.
• What's your next project? I've always got a number of projects in progress. I'm working on my third contemporary Christian mystery and this one involves the world of competitive jump rope, which actually takes up a lot of my time in real life these days. I'm also starting a nonfiction project with a local researcher to explore the history behind some local ghost stories.