By Anne Pyburn Craig
Since the publication of her two novels, Until Death Parts and Life Goes On, Monroe County author and teacher Kimberly Bartley has traveled the region to a variety of author events. And when she saw the opportunity to help create an “author event” right here at Old Mulkey, she jumped at the chance.
“I knew that this had been done at Old Mulkey a couple of times in the past, so I hollered at (Park Director) Sheila Rush to see if anything like that was in the works,” she says.
It hadn’t been. But when Bartley expressed interest, Rush took the ball and ran with it. And this Saturday, ten writers (as of June 11) will gather under the pavilion for Writers in the Park, a day of writing talk, book signing and networking that will be great fun for readers and fellow writers alike.
“We’ve got people from all over the state and one from Indiana, and I’d be surprised if we don’t have one from Tennessee before it’s over,” says Bartley. “There are several genres represented. It’ll be great for book lovers — come, meet authors, get signed copies and meet fellow readers.”
Like science fiction? Come meet Troy Mitchell Scott, a Campbellsville writer who published his first book, A Storm on Mars, in January. He describes it as a character-driven “trip around the universe” targeted to a young adult audience, the adventures of a small-town Kentucky girl named Phoenix Murphy. Reviewers on Amazon use words like “epic adventure” and “hard to put down.” Mary Ellen Quire of Crestwood started writing as a kid and started publishing in 2005; from her prolific imagination have come vampires, animal adventures and “a female assassin struggling to find herself.”
Rickie Ashby’s At the End of the Road is a collection of essays on a theme many a Monroe Countian can relate to: the contrast between the rural culture of the 1950s and our fast-paced, technology-driven world. A reviewer described the Rockfield native’s work as “eerily compelling – and just a plain-old good read. Ashby is a master storyteller who knows his subject matter intimately.”
Pat Paxton of southern Indiana, a West Virginia native, will be there with Camelot’s Misplaced Son, a thriller about “an ordinary guy who finds out his real parents are John F and Jacqueline Kennedy,” In his bio, Pat writes that he’s “learned to draw upon his experiences in overcoming such hardships as being mildly pigeon-toed and having a freckle on his earlobe that’s often mistaken for a piercing. He hopes to serve as an inspiration to the similarly-afflicted.”
Michael Johnathon’s name will be familiar to many as a singer/songwriter and founder, producer and host of the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour , broadcast live from the Lyric Theatre in Lexington to over a million listeners and 51 million TV viewers worldwide. As an author, Johnathon’s works include the play Walden: The Ballad of Thoreau and the script for the motion picture project, “Caney Creek: The Legend of Alice Lloyd.”
William Whittom of Bowling Green is the author of Wizards, Fairies,and Leprechauns: Another Legacy of Merlin, A Man Called Booker, and other works of suspense, romance, family drama and magic. “Full of unexpected twists and turns,” says a five-star Amazon review of Booker.
Then there’s Noel Barton, with whom Bartley has done booksignings and appearances in the past. Barton, from Bowling Green, is the author of Watch for the Whirlwinds, the saga of an abused young girl who’s dumped on Grandma’s porch and discovers a new life of challenge, adventure and truth. Barton’s work, like Bartley’s, is informed by her deep Christian faith and features “encounters with guardian angels, a perverted chicken molester, a stinging worm and Meryl’s unlikely rescuer, in addition to the mysterious death of Nate McDougal.”
Also part of the group will be Linda Hockenberry of Albany (no information could be found by press time) and representatives of the Allen County Historical Society featuring the work of Scottsville Civil War historian Glen Connor.
Bartley herself will be offering a special “sneak peek” preview of her work in progress, Picking Up the Pieces, in which a mother and daughter on the road to a new life take an odd turn off Rt. 90 and find themselves at a friendly little place called the Tompkinsville Inn; Bartley fans (your reporter is one) will find themselves eager for more.
“I’ve learned so much and met so many fascinating people since my first book was published,” she says. “What excites me the most is the hopefuls, the ones who might have a story in them that they need to get written. It starts with just acknowledging that your story exists and shining a light.”
The event, which will take place from 9:30 to 4:30 on Saturday, June 23, will be a bonanza for anyone who loves to read and, Bartley hopes, an inspiration for those who may harbor their own writing dreams. Come, table-hop and meet interesting creatives of all sorts; chances are, you’ll find something just perfect for long summer afternoons on a shady porch…and come away owning a signed first edition to pass along to the grandkids.