Northern Tier hosting annual Authors Night
The four local writers who will participate in this year’s Authors Night at Northern Tier Regional Library represent a diverse array of styles and genres, from memoirs to historical suspense romance to a novel about addiction and celebrity culture written in the style of a memoir.
At the annual event, held this year on Oct. 18, each author will spend some time either reading from his or her work or discussing some aspect of the book or the writing process, then afterward attendees will get a chance to mingle and ask questions while enjoying light refreshments.
Ben Gwin is a native of New Jersey who moved to Pittsburgh for college and now calls it home. His novel, “Clean Time: The True Story of Ronald Reagan Middleton,” came from first his undergrad thesis from the University of Pittsburgh then his graduate thesis from Chatham University.
It tells the story of Ronald Reagan Middleton, an addict who finds fame on The Recovery Channel’s reality TV show called “Clean Time,” written as a memoir.
“Basically I wanted to write satire about celebrity memoirs and addiction memoirs and thought the way I’d do that would be to write it as an actual memoir and have it be annotated by an academic to highlight the way the public views drug addicts and addiction and reality TV,” Gwin said.
The novel, his first, was just released in May.
Another first time novelist on the evening’s schedule is Audrey Abbott Iacone, whose book, “The Lady’s Desire, An Abbey Mead Novel,” was released as an ebook in July and will be available as a paperback on Nov. 6. The former longtime Carnegie Library librarian began writing the book eight years ago, and said that at its heart, it is a love story.
“Because it was an historical novel, it required a great deal of research to capture the flavor and essence of the time period and place, which is Regency England and India,” she said.
The book is the first in a planned trilogy, and Iacone said she’s currently revising the second book, called “The Lady’s Prayer.”
One more first-time author is Therese Rocco, who wrote her memoir about her nearly 50-year career in law enforcement in Pittsburgh, particularly her work investigating cases of missing children.
“Therese Rocco: Pittsburgh’s First Female Assistant Police Chief” was released in 2017.
Sharon Liotus, with whom Rocco collaborated on the book and who is currently producing a documentary about Rocco, said that Rocco broke the glass ceiling in a man’s world and her trailblazing opened doors for others.
“She hopes that people will read the book and recognize her hard work ethic, her dedication to service and her primary mission of finding missing children through her excellent investigative skills,” Liotus said. “And how, as a woman, she was able to set a standard for the women who were being hired on the force to measure themselves against and how to deal with men on the force.”
Finally, Lori Jakiela, a professor of creative writing at University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg, will discuss her third and most recent memoir on her experience as an adoptee searching for her birth mother, entitled, “Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe.”
“It’s an adoption search book, it’s a book about grief and it’s a book about family and how people form families,” she said. “Like most writers, I think I write about things that I’m confused about or to try to discover something and at times in my life where things are really complicated. My mother had passed away, I became a mother myself, my daughter was born with a birth defect that I had and like many adoptees I had no medical history, so I started my search at that time.”
All four authors will have copies of their books available for sale and to sign.
Karen Price is a Tribune-Review contributor.