2023 Amelia Island Book Festival notes

Book Festivals are great places for readers to meet authors, and vice versa. Recently, I was delighted to participate in the annual Amelia Island Book Festival Authors’ Expo, where I met and spoke with dozens of readers and many other authors. Some, like me, live nearby, while others traveled long distances to attend. Some writer pals from Atlanta made the trip, and I was thrilled to see them.

The day began with a Writers’ Workshop given by Florida author Vic DiGenti. Later, NYT best-selling authors David Baldacci, Kate Quinn, Scott Turow, and Jeannette Walls signed copies of their books in the same venue where other participating authors did the same.

After their signings, I introduced myself to David Baldacci and Jeannette Walls. When I told Walls that her memoir The Glass Castle had inspired me to write a similar story, she was intrigued, encouraging and very supportive. As I chatted with Baldacci, I told him that I’m currently doing his Masterclass on writing mystery and suspense, which I’ve found quite helpful. He seemed gratified and was very personable and supportive also. I also shared that I’m almost finished with my next thriller.

Then, a few days ago, I finished it. My next step is to have it edited and then do any needed revisions. That could take several weeks, and then it will be ready for a publisher. The title has changed since I began writing it, and for now, it’s a secret. So, it’s named BOOK TITLE in the description below: 

Inspired by true events and told from multiple points of view, “BOOK TITLE” is based on Julia McDermott’s short story published in crime stories anthology DOWN TO THE RIVER (Down & Out Books, 2019).

In the mid 1990s, Tim and Dolly Barron are transferred from Atlanta, Georgia to Huntington, Kansas, a small town with a dark secret. Forced to uproot their kids from the only home they’ve ever known, the Barrons resolve to make the best of it and to focus on the positives: a lower cost of living, good schools, and (they believe) less crime.

But after a home invasion occurs a few miles from their doorstep, the secret is out: A serial killer who targets attractive women lives in the shadows and has been eluding the police for decades. In shock, Dolly adopts some new habits: Set the home security system. Check the phone line for a dial tone when you get home. Learn self-defense and how to fire a gun. And don’t trust anyone. 

Then, Dolly’s look-alike turns up dead, and the city paper publishes a note signed by the killer claiming credit. Her fears intensify as more victims, whose lives have brushed close to her own, are discovered. If Dolly is to avoid the same fate, she will have to search for the truth herself and seek out the killer before he hunts her down.

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