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Paso authors to attend SLO festival

Posted: Thursday, Sep 6th, 2007

The eighth annual Central Coast Book and Author Festival will feature a quartet of Paso Robles authors and presenters Saturday, Sept. 8

The festival, which will be held in San Luis Obispo’s Mission Plaza, will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s a showcase for local authors and presenters, including four who call Paso Robles home.

Mary Moses is the author of nine books. Of those, four are fictional tales written under her pen name, Jane Denison. Moses has lived in SLO County for 53 years, the last 17 in Paso Robles.

She first began writing when working for the Sun newspaper in Morro Bay, serving as a reporter for six years alongside her husband, Neil Moses, the Sun’s publisher. She then moved on to work for the SLO County Office of Education, serving as the public information officer among other duties and writing a pair of newsletters, one of which was sent to 4,000 county teachers. That’s when Moses became interested in a more creative writing endeavor.

She teamed with Judi Martindale, a local financial planner, to write her first book, the non-fiction work “No More Baglady Fears.” Moses said the book, which is now in its second edition, is about retirement planning for women. She will be showcasing “No More Baglady Fears” at this year’s festival. She co-authored another book with Martindale, “52 Simple Ways to Manage Your Money.”

Though she’s retired from the SLO County Office of Education, Moses hasn’t slowed down.

“When I retired, I retired to writing,” she said. “You need to find something that keeps you active and interested.”

It was an interest in people’s stories that led Moses to two of her other non-fiction works, “Morro Bay Remembered, Vols. 1 and 2.” The books feature the stories of a generation of Morro Bay residents that is disappearing.

“I thought these people’s stories should be recorded in some way,” Moses said.

Historical tales are a big part of her fiction writing as well. As Jane Denison, Moses has written “The Family,” “The Mill,” “Ship of Secrets and “Stella’s Search,” all historical fiction novels.

“Historical Fiction requires a lot of research, but that’s interesting too,” she said. “It’s great because when you write a story, you already know what happens next.”

It’s that personal aspect that drew Moses to writing.

“I like talking about the human condition; people and the way they act,” she said.

Moses has been a presenter at all but one of the Central Coast book and author festivals and said what she likes best is connecting with visitors.

“I love seeing so many people,” she said. “I always see a lot of people I know and meet a lot of new people.”

Another Paso Robles author, Lori Paris, also likes appearing at the festival. She’s been two other times since moving to Paso Robles from Lake Tahoe four years ago.

“It’s a really well-run, well-organized festival,” Paris said. “It’s a great way to see what local authors are doing.”

Paris had her second novel, “Evil Exchange,” which she co-wrote with New York resident Joe Soll, published in March. Paris said the pair chose to self-publish to retain artistic control of what is a very personal story.

It was that personal pull that first drew Paris to fiction-writing.

“Writing in general has always been something I liked doing,” she said.

Paris said a major event in her life pushed her to want to get her story out. That event helped inform her first novel, “Follow Your Heart,” which was published in April of 2002.

After connecting with Soll and discovering their common bond — both are adopted — Paris said collaborating on a story was easy. “Evil Exchange” is a fictional mystery surrounding black market baby selling and adoptions, a subject both are familiar with. Soll was sold on the black market as a baby and drew on his personal experiences, which the pair fictionalized to create the world and characters of “Evil Exchange.”

The pair exchanged information and segments of the story over e-mail and spoke on the phone at least once a week. The finished product is a story that Paris is proud to have worked on.

“It worked really well,” she said. “Our styles allowed us to mesh together well. We’ve gotten some really nice reviews.”

It was such a success that Soll and Paris have already begun hashing out details for a second book featuring their title character, private investigator Boots Beaumont, which she hopes will be part of a larger series. For this next installment, Paris said she and Soll will be focusing on new themes and a new type of case to keep the series fresh. What she enjoys most about writing is crafting new and unique stories.

“I like the creativity involved,” she said.

Paris will be sharing a table with another local author, Thordis Seager, who authors cookbooks for people on restricted diets. To see more about Paris’ new book, visit www.evilexchange.com.

Another Paso Robles author with a deeply personal story, Lyn Hanush, won’t be able to attend the festival. But her husband, David, will be standing in for her with copies of her recently released book, “Putting A Face On America.”

“Putting A Face On America” is the story of three women’s “Great American Journey,” a 4,026.5 mile walk across America and the stories of the people they met. David said there’s something about the story that has resonated with those who’ve read it.

“It’s really a gripping story,” he said. “People that read it feel like they’re right along with her.”

Representing his wife at the festival is a chance to give her story even greater exposure while she’s on her nation-wide book tour.

“I’m looking forward to making people aware of her journey and the fact that America’s still a great place,” David said.

And that journey will continue. David said that in March his wife will begin another walk, this time starting in Florida and walking up the East Coast to the tip of Maine.

For more information about “Putting A Face On America,” visit www.greatamericanjourney.com and for more on Hanush’s journey, visit www.greatamericajourney.com.

Another Paso Robles author who’ll be appearing at the festival is Margaret Montgomery, who wrote the book “The Adventures of Anna Banana: Anna Banana Takes a Bath.” The children’s tale is inspired by Montgomery’s own daughter, Anne Montgomery Martin.

Funds raised at the festival will be used to benefit the Foundation for SLO County Public Libraries and will be used to purchase reward books for the 2008 county-wide Children’s Summer Reading Program.

For more information about the festival, visit www.ccbookfestival.org.

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