There were memoirs, romances, coloring books and even murder mysteries available. Authors sat at their booths surrounded by their many publications, eager to discuss writing processes and publishing preferences with anyone who happened to pass by.
On March 29th, the Marco Island Writers Inc. group held it’s fourth annual Authorfest at the Marco Island Center for the Arts. The authors, all of whom were local, filled the Center with collections of their works that were available for purchase.
It was a wine and cheese sort of social. Writers and community members alike perused the rows of books, chitchatting with local authors and getting a behind-the-scenes look at the world of self-publishing, a popularmeans of publication these days. It seems that with the continuous accessibility of information self-publishing has become a go-to means for many local writers. It allows authors full creative liberty and has become an outlet for those who just want to share their work.
Also present that day were the young winners of Authorfest’s first ever essay writing competition. Tommie Barfield Elementary School (TBE) fourth graders took part in the contest in which they had to write an essay regarding “Ben Franklin’s Life Lessons.” Celina Alber took home first place with her essay titled, “Learning a Lesson.” Annabelle Frazer came in second place and Ava Cartwright came in third. The competition was aimed atpromoting an interest in the fine arts as well as a means of engaging young minds.
Unlike the young TBE writers, for many of the authors at Authorfest writing has been a passion they were unable to fully pursue until later in life. It seems that many of the authors have always enjoyed writing, but between a career and kids and all that life stuff they never had the chance to pursue it seriously. Take Authorfest participant Suzi Weinert for instance. Suzi’s fist novel, “Garage Sale Stalker” was published when she was 76-years-old. Now her books have been turned into a made-for-TV Hallmark series called, “Garage Sale Mystery.”
Other authors included Marco Island Writer’s pastpresident Joanne Simon Tailele. Joanne was at Authorfest promoting her new book, “Rehoming Pigeon,” a fictional novel about the complexities of international adoption. After retiring from a 25-year career as a real estate agent Joanne, who’d always been a closeted writer, began self-publishing. Her experience is sort of the norm for many of the authors.
Local artist Donald Sunshine, whose watercolor paintings have become widely popular on the island was also present. He was there with his book, “Life’s Moments,” which details his interesting life experiences from the “Hawaiian Islands to the Appalachian Mountains.” He also had available a book of poetry titled, “Here ‘N There.”
If you missed Authorfest, you can learn more about the writers and their work at www.marcoislandwriters.com.