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Author panel offers writing advice

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By Katrina Margolis
Hometown Weekly Reporter

Publishing is an incredibly difficult market to get into. Even for those in the know, the industry is cutthroat. Often, the possibility of getting something published seems far beyond reach. The Westwood Public Library hosted a Middle Grade Author Panel consisting of four published authors, providing a fantastic opportunity to learn about the literary world, the writing process, and to ask each of the authors questions. On the panel were Victoria J. Cole, Monica Tesler, Elly Swartz, and Bridget Hodder. The panel was asked questions first by a moderator, who brought up such topics as the actual writing process, where the inspiration comes from, and their main characters’ motivations, among others.

Cole, author of “Fenway and Hattie,” a series featuring an energetic Jack Russell terrier (named Fenway) detailed how this series came to be. “I was in the process of moving and our dog was so scared. And I thought how sad it was that he thought we would just up and move and leave him there,” she explained. “Fenway isn’t my dog. My dog isn’t a Jack Russell, but that’s where this story originally came from. And the great thing is that even though it’s told through Fenway, it really plays off of Hattie’s fears and insecurities as well.” Cole’s novel was the only one without a human protagonist, however the novel is just as human as any of the others.

Tesler, author of the Bounders series, explained that her inspiration came from her son. “My son was just getting into reading when I began to think about writing something to be published,” she said. “While I knew that the publishing road was long and hard, I thought I would write something that would have at least one reader! My son was the first reader of my book, and still is for anything new I write.” Her books are science fiction, and are inspired in large part by series such as “Percy Jackson.” Tesler is a lawyer for a living, though she does a lot of research into scientific theories and discoveries, such as the idea of a space elevator, to integrate into her work.

The panel had a great rapport with each other and the audience, and offered very useful and insightful feedback to the audience. The event was a rare and exciting view into the writing and publishing world.

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