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Local authors share their stories and ideas at Oak Lawn Library

  • Written by Kelly White

laura hawks photo 11-9

Photo by Kelly White

Paranormal fiction author Laura Hawks, of Worth, showcased her novels at Oak Lawn Public Library's Local Author Fair on Sunday afternoon.

Growing up, Laura Hawks was always interested in the paranormal -- anything from ghosts to Ouija boards would capture her attention.

Now, as an adult, Hawks has turned her interest into words by publishing eight books in print and having two e-books, geared primarily in the paranormal fiction genre.

“As an only child, I always had an active imagination,” said Hawks, a Worth resident. “I would often use my creativity to keep myself entertained.”

Hawks’ creativity eventually turned into a passion for writing. Prior to publishing her novels, she was involved with, then ran a Star Trek Interactive Writing Group. She is currently a member of the Oak Lawn Writer’s Group and attends bi-monthly meetings.

She was joined by 12 other local authors at the Oak Lawn Public Library, 9427 Raymond Ave., on Sunday afternoon to meet with fans and discuss their novels.

“This is really nice to be a part of because it is made up of all local area authors,” Hawks said.

"This is my first time taking part in an event such as this,” said Farrell McNulty, author of “A Cracked Egg.” “I'm very excited about it and happy to be a part of it. Here's to all the other authors, and to a fun, successful afternoon."

McNulty, the youngest of four children, was raised on the South Side of Chicago, where he still resides.

The list of authors in attendance also included Evelyn Cullet, Ralph Horner, Cleo Lampos, Michael Martin, Paul McAllister, Lesleigh Nahay, Gaile Sprissler, Sue Meyers, Helen Osterman and Shari Scarpaci.

The authors represented genres of mystery, biography, historical and women’s fiction, paranormal fiction, fantasy fiction and health.

The event was the second of its kind, with the first fair held in 2015. The event organized by Melissa Apple, programming librarian, and the Oak Lawn Writer’s Group.

“The Writer’s Group wanted an opportunity to let the Oak Lawn and surrounding communities learn about the local authors in their area, and promote the Writer’s Group to aspiring writers,” Apple said. “The group has a large group of dedicated members who are extremely enthusiastic about writing and sharing their knowledge with others. This event is unique because there will be so many talented writers available to provide a one-stop visit for our library community.”

During the event, each author had their own table for patrons to stop by and chat, as well as purchase signed copies of their books. The authors participated in panel presentations for aspiring writers.

“As an author, participating in local author fairs is wonderful, as you get to actually meet the people who will later read your book,” said Lesleigh Nahay, author of “Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life.” “That's a pretty magical thing that doesn't happen when your book is bought from a store or online. For both readers and writers, a library is almost a second home, so it's a perfect venue for this convergence. It's a great set-up for aspiring writers as well, to meet people in the time-point they're hoping to get to themselves, to network and get advice and guidance, and possibly join their local writers' group.”

Nahay, who travels from Dyer, Ind. to attend the bi-monthly meetings of the Oak Lawn Writer’s Club, wasn’t the only author pleased with the turnout of the fair, which gathered more than 50 patrons.

“A library that values the local authors is an institution that believes in literacy on many levels,” said Cleo Lampos, author of “A Mother’s Song,” “Teaching Diamonds in the Tough: Mining the Potential in Every Child,” “Second Chances,” ”Miss Bee and the Do Bees” and “Cultivating Wildflowers.”

Lampos’ compassion for children who experience poverty, broken homes or foster care is based on her own experiences as a child. Her father died when she was 3, and her step-family moved often. Born in Colorado but raised in Iowa and Wisconsin, Lampos attended nine schools before beginning high school.

Library staff said patrons had the opportunity to connect and relate with authors like Lampos in a casual environment.

“Those interested in writing or becoming published enjoyed the opportunity to sit down and talk to so many authors who have been in their position and can answer their questions,” Apple said. “Book lovers also enjoyed browsing unique books for sale and finding a book they might not know even existed. It was a great chance to start holiday shopping for the book enthusiast.