In the News

Invironments Magazine

Nov/Dec 2019 Issue

Daily Chronicle Newspaper

Dekalb IL Aug 2019

Local writers discuss their craft at library’s Author Fair

By ANDREW KING 

Aug. 12, 2019

DeKALB – The most enthusiastic folks to show up for the Author Fair at the DeKalb Public Library on Saturday may have been the authors.

 

“When they first got started today,

I was walking up the stairs, and it sounded like there were 100 people in the lobby. And I was like, ‘Oh good, really good turnout.’ And I go up there and it’s just all the authors talking to each other,” said the library’s public relations and events manager, Samantha Hathaway, who organized the event.

 

“And that’s great, too. The authors love it. Nothing but positive feedback from the authors. I think they like that it’s a fairly relaxed atmosphere.

The patrons, I’ve had nothing but positive feedback from them, as well.”

 

Beneath the library’s vaulted ceiling, the authors manned booths around the perimeter of the lobby.

 

Eight of the 14 authors were invited to give talks on a subject of their choosing in the Yusunas Meeting Room. The half-hour talks ran the duration of the event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 

Their talks covered different topics, from their own work to the craft of writing.

 

“Some of them are reading excerpts from their books. Some of them are speaking about what it’s like to be self-published. Some about their writing process,” Hathaway said. “Just about their journey and what their book is about. We’ve got a lot of nonfiction authors here who drew on personal experiences, so they’re just going to talk about that.”

 

Tom Pisapia is the author of “Pottersville: Where Is the Bailey Building and Loan?” The book is a semi-autobiographical account of his work in the savings and loan industry.

 

Pisapia gave a talk titled, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” and he appeared to enjoy the opportunity to speak with potential readers about the real-world topics that inspired his book.

 

Some authors, such as historical supernatural mystery author Bambi Harris, used their booth to showcase their many books.

 

“I just write every day,” said Harris, who said she would be sending her 35th book to the publisher this week. “So I write about four books a year.”

 

Other authors, such as CL Gibson, whose psychological thriller, “The Urge,” released in September, had only one book to show (although a sequel, “The Grudge,” is on the way).

 

“You look at some books where it’s Stephen King with the clown in the sewer. Is that really gonna happen?” said Gibson, whose “The Devil’s Rules” series is set in and around DeKalb and Sycamore.

 

“People have said to me, ‘Oh my God, I could be sitting next to this person!’ ”

 

Luckily, the library gave local authors plenty of space.

 

“You really can’t promote [your writing] right if you don’t have the things behind you,” Harris said, gesturing to a sign behind her booth, which gave details on some of her most popular books. “Because it’s hard enough to approach a stranger for the readers.”

Valley Free Press

Sandwich IL Aug 2010

Rough beginnings make happy endings

From Australia to Sandwich, Bambi Harris travels the world and 'finds herself'

By CHRIS La PELUSA - clapelusa@shawsuburban.com

SANDWICH — Growing up in a rural, impoverished town in Australia wasn’t easy, and when her father died, Bambi Harris found herself on her own at age 16. Not doing well in school and living in a town with no work, Harris was unemployed.

“I didn’t want to be unemployed,” Harris said. “But I was 16, and I didn’t have any experience.”

To get by, Harris turned to writing. 

Through a program designed to educate local children, Harris, only a teen herself, was hired by the government to write portions of a book geared for children about the town they lived in. And so began a path that would lead her to having two books published (with more on the way) and around the globe to Sandwich.

“It was kind of an accidental thing,” Harris, 32, said about how she happened into Sandwich. It was an accident that stems from the most unlikely of sources, the popular TV show “M*A*S*H.”

“I happened to watch a ‘M*A*S*H’ marathon, and I (thought), ‘Oh, I loved this show as a kid,’” Harris said. 

A self-described researcher of everything she enjoys watching, Harris hit the Internet, looking for show background and details and found her husband, another M*A*S*H fan, instead.

“We got to talking, and it just went from there,” Harris said.

Before settling in Sandwich, Harris and her husband (a Naperville native) moved to Naperville and to other surrounding areas and almost settled on a house in Plainfield. 

However, Harris said at the time, “I want a home, I don’t want a house. I want to live in a place where every house looks different, where they have history, where they have big trees. I want to pass cows. I want a little post office. That’s the kind of place I want to live.”

In her search for this quaint lifestyle that only small-town living brings, Harris discovered Lake Holiday, where she has lived for the past few years. It’s also where she fully realized her dream of becoming an author when she published her first book in December, “The Vanished Captain’s Ring” (iUniverse / December 2009).

This young adult fantasy is about a young Australian woman who, in search of her father’s grave, finds the ring of a World War I Navy captain who went missing in action. The discovery takes her on a path into a mysterious past and eventually into an even more mysterious other world.

In her forthcoming book, “Death and Other Inconveniences,” (iUniverse / February 2010) Harris writes the story of the brutally murdered 13-year-old Penny Lane and her “life” in the afterworld as a “melter,” someone charged with deciding the fates of murderers. 

Harris heavily incorporates history into all her books, going back first to World War I with “The Vanished Captain’s Ring” and to several time periods in “Death and Other Inconveniences.”

History is a passion for Harris that she not only writes but lives in her historical themed home in Sandwich.

“I’ve always had much older tastes,” said Harris. “History is something I’ve always been fascinated with since I was a child.”

Harris said her fascination with history is rooted in her imaginative curiosity about those that came before her.

“When I buy an antique, like a chair, I get fascinated when I sit on it, thinking who sat on this, what were they wearing, what was happening,” Harris said. “It’s all very interesting how the eras connect, (too).”

Harris said that “The Vanished Captain’s Ring” “rolled out of her.” But after completing it initially in 2004, Harris rolled up writing and couldn’t work out why, she said.

“I was ... questioning life,” she said, wondering, “if I’m given a talent to write, why can’t I do it. You sort of look elsewhere and wonder if maybe I’m not meant to be doing this.”

Trying to work out these whys and wheres, Harris said, she discovered a lot about herself and her life and “All of a sudden, it was like I filled a meter and I got all the answers I was looking for.”

Harris understood then that the reason why she took a hiatus from writing was that she had to “learn some life lessons” that would ultimately become crucial in her next book “Death and Other Inconveniences,” in which the protagonist questions her circumstance and why she’s now dead.

“I had to learn the lessons so she (my character) could learn the lessons so (young women could relate to the lessons, too,” Harris said.

Harris said that she doesn’t care about the financial success of the book and that her main hope is that simply encourages people (teens or adults) to read the book and “pass it on.”

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