A War of Her Own Author at East Texas Book Fest

Author Sylvia Dickey Smith will lead a break-out session on “Plotting the Mystery Novel” at 11:30 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 25, at the East Texas Book Fest, on the campus of the University of Texas at Tyler.

(Tyler, for us non-Texans, is midway between Dallas and Shreveport, Louisiana.)

Besides penning A War of Her Own, her new historical novel of the World War II homefront in the East Texas town of Orange, Smith also authors the popular Sidra Smart mystery series, featuring a strong-willed female P.I. who works in the border country and bayous of East Texas and Louisiana.

Some other prominent Texas-based authors include John Pipkin, who will talk about his award-winning debut novel Woodsburner. Set in Concord, Mass., in the spring of 1844, Woodsburner tells the story of a forest fire set by Henry David Thoreau, a year before Thoreau decides to live alone at Walden Pond. A former professor of writing and literature, Pipkin lives in Austin, where he recently served as Executive Director of the Writers’ League of Texas.

Another Austin-area author, James L. Haley, will give a talk on his latest biography, Wolf: The Lives of Jack London, a look at one of America’s most popular 20th-century authors. An independent historian, Haley’s 2002 biography Sam Houston won the Spur Award of the Western Writers of America and many other literary prizes. Haley will talk about the art of biography and Jack London’s literary life.

For fans of young-adult books, Andrea White will talk about a favorite topic of mine: “Where Do Ideas Come From?” Her first book was Surviving Antarctica, a 2005  novel for teenagers. The book is listed on the reading lists of many states, including the Bluebonnet list of the Texas Library Association. White’s second book, Window Boy, set in the late 1960s, features a boy with cerebral palsy. Her latest novel, Radient Girl, is set in Chernobyl in 1986.

Sounds like a great event for all interested in Texas literature, history . . . and the wonderful world of books and authors!

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