15 authors for Rowan Reading Rendezvous March 12

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 14, 2016

By Deal Safrit

For the Salisbury Post

The third annual Rowan Reading Rendezvous, a literary and fundraising event put on by Friends of Rowan Public Library, will be Saturday, March 12, on the lower level of the new St. John’s Lutheran Church Faith Center.

This is a change in location from the normal venue of Rowan Public Library, necessary because the Rowan County Board of Elections needs to use Stanback Auditorium for voting in the North Carolina primary.

As of this writing, the event has 15 writers from the Carolinas and surrounding area who will attend the day-long event, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., though additional authors could be added.

The arrangement at the St. John’s Center will allow for a much larger speaking venue, along with a larger and more accommodating author table and book sales area. This year, with some authors grouped into panels, all authors will have the opportunity for speaking and stage time over the course of seven 40-minute sessions with 10-minute intermissions between.

The Reading Rendezvous has two main purposes. The first is to give the reading public of Rowan County, and their guests, the opportunity to visit with the authors in both group and one-on-one experiences. Like before, each author will have his or her own table where attendees can sit down and talk to them about their books and get books signed.

In that regard, the second purpose comes into focus, which is as a fundraiser for Friends of Rowan Public Library. All books by the authors present will be available for sale at the front of the room and attendees are encouraged to buy copies for themselves and as gifts and have them signed by the authors present. Attendees should remember that, due to the fundraising aspect, previously owned books may not be brought into the event.

So what authors will be at Rowan Reading Rendezvous 2016? Several articles in the Salisbury Post over the next weeks will take a look at them in the order they are scheduled to appear on stage.

Leading off in the 10 a.m. slot will be a pair of authors with local connections, Susan Boyer and Kristy Woodson Harvey. Susan is originally from Faith and still has family in the area. She is the author of the bestselling Liz Talbot mystery series, now totaling four titles, the most recent being “Lowcountry Bordello,” which came out in November 2015. Her debut novel, “Lowcountry Boil,” won the 2012 Agatha Award for Best First Novel and the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. Her third novel, “Lowcountry Boneyard,” was a spring 2015 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Okra Pick. Susan’s writing has also appeared in a number of literary journals, magazines and anthologies, including “The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook.”

Today, Susan lives in Greenville, SC, with her husband and a number of houseplants. The reader will find in Susan’s books the things the author loves best, which include beaches, Southern food and small towns populated with relatives and people who all know each other, whether they want to or not. Susan is home, and that is what Susan writes.

Teaming up with Boyer will be Salisbury native Harvey, the author of “Dear Carolina” and the forthcoming “Lies and Other Acts of Love,” both published under the Berkley imprint by Penguin/Random House. Anyone who has been in Salisbury for at least part of the past 20 years will remember Kristy for her articles in the Salisbury Post, which began when she was in high school and continued intermittently during her time at UNC.

Coincidentally, many of you know her also as the daughter of former city councilman and Mayor Paul Woodson. Kristy is now happily married and the mother of a 4-year-old. She enjoys many things beyond her Kinston home, including Beaufort and obviously, writing. She also maintains the blog Design Chic.

Both Kristy and Susan are considered up-and-coming young authors, Susan in the mystery/suspense field and Kristy in the Southern women’s fiction area, which leads us into the next panel, which will begin at 10:50, and will be called Rising Women of Southern Women’s Fiction. Harvey will stay on the stage and be joined by the authors Kim Wright, Erika Marks and Kim Boykin for a look at what it means to be rising stars of a genre. Coincidentally, all three of these authors live in the Charlotte area.

Kim Wright is the author of three novels with a fourth, “Last Ride to Graceland,” due out in late May. Her first novel was “Love in Mid Air” in 2011, followed by “The Unexpected Waltz” in 2014 and “The Canterbury Sisters” this past May. Kim Wright has been a journalist for 30 years, specializing in travel, food and wine, and is the author, under the name Kim Wright Wiley, of “Walt Disney World with Kids,” which she has continually updated for 22 years. She is also the author of “Your Path to Publishing: A Guide to Navigating the World of Publishing.” Her travel writing has garnered awards.

Marks is the author of four novels, with a fifth, “The Last Treasure,” due out in August. “Little Gale Gumbo,” her first book, was published in 2011, followed by “The Mermaid Collector,” “The Guest House” and “It Comes in Waves.” All Erika’s novels have been under the NAL imprint of Penguin/Random House. Originally from Maine, she met her husband while living and walking her dog in New Orleans, and the couple now lives in Charlotte with their two children. Erika’s varied career has included that of cake decorator, carpenter, illustrator and art director of a woodworking magazine; she is also mighty proud of her gumbo and her pralines.

Kim Boykin is the final member of this panel, now living in Charlotte but originally from South Carolina, where she grew up hearing stories and tales from her storyteller grandfather while sitting under an old magnolia tree on his farm.

Although she began writing some years ago, it was only after her children were out of the house that she sought publication of her first book, “The Wisdom of Hair.” Kim Boykin was 53 then, and she has been writing ever since. Kim now has two additional novels with publisher Penguin/Random House, “Palmetto Moon” and “A Peach of a Pair,” published in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

She is also the author a number of contemporary romance novels under the Tule label that are available in e-book editions only. Beyond her writing, Kim Boykin also serves on the board of the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop, and makes plenty of time to spend with her husband, her three dogs, and 126 rose bushes.