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'Meet the Author' gives readers, authors a chance to share love for books

'Meet the Author' gives readers, authors a chance to share love for books

Readers often have questions about a narrative or the author of a book they just spent a few weeks reading, but rarely do they get the opportunity to ask them.

Deborah Hammond and Hilda Norton are among the local authors that will welcome that opportunity from readers at “Meet the Author,” which is presented by What’s NXT and will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 30, at the PressRoom at The Herald-Mail. The event is co-sponsored by the Washington County Free Library and Flying Camel Literary Café and Piano Bar.

More than 35 authors have registered for the free event which will be highlighted by book signings, workshops and readings throughout the day.

“Meet the Author” will give readers and authors an opportunity to interact.

A popular inquiry that readers often have for authors is “What inspired them to write a book?”

Hilda Norton, left, and Deborah Hammond. (Submitted photos)

For Norton, a resident of Hagerstown and music instructor, it is an answer that she holds close to her heart.

Her book, “A Stroke of Love: Memories of Our Journey,” focuses on the struggles that her late husband, Rex, faced following a stroke he suffered. Norton’s book details the “five-year stroke journey” that Rex, a longtime musician, battled through before his passing in 2015.

“It gives me a moment to comfort someone who may be going through the challenges of caregiving or grieving from the loss of a spouse or a loved one,” Norton said.

She believes that the message throughout her book may also inspire others to approach adversities with love to make a difference in the lives of people faced with the day-to-day struggles of being a caregiver. A part of Norton’s mission has been to donate the net proceeds from the book to Hospice of Washington County’s Doey’s House.

Since her book launched in January 2018, Norton said more than 360 copies have been sold.

Though she has a personal goal of selling 500 books, her journey goes far beyond the numbers. While giving 15 book presentations and participating in several hospice events, Norton says she loves connecting with people and has welcomed all questions about her book.

Norton said that questions about her book have ranged from, “’How long did it take you to write your book? Is your book self-published? Did it help you get through the loss of your husband? Are you going to write another one?’”

“I have had some wonderful experiences of reconnecting with friends and former music students that I hadn’t seen for a long time,” Norton said. “I have made new friends and I have had the pleasure of meeting parents whose children had studied music under my husband. Their beautiful comments about my husband continues to bring me blessings and joy for which I am grateful.”

Norton added, “An event like ‘Meet the Author’ is a great opportunity for readers to make a personal connection with the author, even if it is just a smile, a handshake, or a short conversation. It broadens the reader’s interest in other subjects that perhaps they wouldn’t have considered reading. The event is a wonderful way to support our local authors and to keep alive the pleasure of reading a book in one’s hands.”

Norton also enjoys the chance to sign her books. “It puts a personal stamp on my work and my book becomes alive,” Norton said.

Hammond, the keynote speaker for “Meet the Author,” shares Norton’s sentiment about the event.

“I love the opportunity to interact with readers and with fellow lovers of the written word,” Hammond said.

Hammond of Falling Waters, W.Va., has published 19 novels since she retired in March 2014 from a 31-year career in local government. She has experienced events similar to “Meet the Author” over the past five years, where she has been a featured author at events such as the West Virginia Book Festival.

Like Norton, Hammond says that readers are anxious to find out her motivation behind writing certain books.

“People are fascinated with that aspect of the process,” Hammond said. “It is great to receive feedback from readers and to learn their favorite portions.”

List of authors expected to attend

  • Dale Grove
  • Ywatta Hosby
  • Samuel Ebeid
  • Hilda Norton
  • Cheryl Lavinne
  • Alex Tsiatsos
  • Mathew Howard
  • Deborah Hammond
  • Gage Shepherd
  • John Keeney
  • Miranda Mittleman
  • Beverly Hajek
  • Don Peterson
  • Sabnam Samuel
  • Stacy Einfalt
  • Eleanor Lakin
  • Melinda Valentine
  • Trish Williford
  • Mary Crum
  • Michael T Myers
  • Kira Decker
  • Ron Arnold (Chandler)
  • Dante Lupinetti
  • Mayor Khidhr
  • Valerie King
  • Jiri Cernik
  • Greg Overcash
  • Gerard Blake
  • Tina Mitchell
  • Richard Haynes
  • Steven O'Farrell
  • Carolyn Shelton/Colin Chappel
  • Casey Bednarczyk

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