News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Local authors shine at Festival of Books

Authors from the local community got their moment in the spotlight in the inaugural Sisters Festival of Books this past weekend. Local authors kicked off the weekend with a reception at FivePine Lodge on Friday evening.

Twelve local authors brought themselves — and their diverse books —to the kickoff event.

Sisters-based author Julia Huni, author of the “Space Janitor” series, spoke about how her book series started originally as a set of science fiction short stories.

“My friend who read it told me I had to write the story and so they became a series,” Huni said. “My books are heavy on the fun and light on the science.”

The festival was Huni’s first author event, and she enjoyed being able to rub shoulders with other authors.

“Writing is a very solitary profession, so it’s nice to get out and socialize with fellow writers,” she said.

Jill Stanford, author of the “Cowgirl Cookbook” series, was presenting with her seventh book.

“I write books about cowgirls and everything that goes along with them,” she said.

She has written poetry books, books on the history of rodeo, and cookbooks (which became her most popular).

“My cookbooks include the three ingredients every cowgirl has in her pantry: salt, pepper and ketchup, so they are recipes for just about anyone,” she said.

The reason Sanford got into writing these stories is she always loved horses and cowgirls, and had heard about a group of women in the early 20th century who were competing in rodeos — and winning them. After doing research, she realized nobody was writing about these women, so she decided to start writing about cowgirls and rodeo and things in between. Sanford was honored to be a part of this event and thinks “it is a jewel in the crown of Sisters.”

Catherine Cowles, author of the “Sutter Lake” series, (Sutter Lake is a fictional town based on various areas in Central Oregon, not any relation to Suttle Lake). Cowles writes small-town romance novels. “My books feature heart, a little bit of steam and a lot of mystery,” she said.

Cowles was excited about the festival coming to Sisters.

“It’s great to have a festival like this and be surrounded by fellow book nerds,” she said.

Cowles exhibited an aura of radiance and excitement when talking about her books, just as the covers portray that same level of radiance and intriguing romantic images set in mountainous landscapes.

Author Mark Corbet, who lives between Bend and Sisters, attended the event with his book, “Between the Dragon and his Wrath,” a collection of 31 short stories about memorable moments during his time as a smoke-jumper across the country.

“I was a smoke-jumper from Virginia all the way to Alaska and across the West, and had a number of experiences, including falling into a dead tree and having it almost land on me,” said Corbet.

The book title comes from a Shakespeare quote, where Corbet draws a lot of his contextual inspiration. He begins every chapter with a quote from Shakespeare.

“The great thing about the book is you can jump around story to story and read it in parts,” he said.

Corbet was very impressed with the event’s execution and thinks it is generous of the community to take part in something like the festival.

“I am very impressed with the event and think it is great to see in this community,” he said.

Well-known local artist Paul Alan Bennett was another featured author with his book, “Night Skies.” Night Skies is a hardbound book that features 44 of his paintings, all with astrological- and Greek-based historical stories accompanying them. His book is a feature on the importance of the night skies and all that exists above us.

“I started studying astronomy and history because of how known it is that around the world, night skies and stars are disappearing because of light pollution, I think it’s important we do what we can to maintain our night skies,” said Bennett.

All the local authors presented at the front for four minutes about their books and how they came to writing them. Other authors included: Craig Rullman, Sue Fountain, Jim Cornelius, Diane Goble, Valerie Anderson, Jim Barnette and Joshua Savage.

Loretta Goldy and Cathy Croghan Alzner both traveled to Sisters from the Portland area for the event.

“When I heard about the event I convinced my friend to come along with me to go see all the local authors. My family had owned a place in Sisters for 60 years, so I have a special connection with the place and wanted to return back,” said Goldy.

Croghan-Alzner had heard about the event on OPB and wanted to see one of the featured authors in particular — Molly Gloss.

“It is a really cool idea and it’s really nice to hear from authors I know, but then also learn about new authors,” said Croghan-Alzner.

Goldy has been a longtime fan of Sisters’ independent bookstore, Paulina Springs Books, and knew she had to come.

“It is one thing to read a book and enjoy it, but another to actually get to meet and talk to the author that wrote it,” she said.

Lane Jacobson, event director and owner of Paulina Springs Books, was happy on Friday night.

“It’s awesome to see how special books are to people and bring the community together,” he said.

“I think this event is important to have and celebrate books in a community like Sisters, where life is generally really great, I think an event like this is a reminder of that,” he said.

Proceeds from the weekend’s event go to establishing a scholarship for Sisters High School students through Sisters GRO (Graduate Resource Organization).


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