Readers get to interact with local writers at Author’s Day
WOONSOCKET — The Woonsocket Harris Public Library is often a place where bookworms come to flip through the pages of their favorite works. But rarely do those loyal readers have the chance to meet the men and women behind their best-loved pieces.
For five hours on Saturday, the Association of Rhode Island Authors sought to change that, allowing avid readers and followers to meet 24 Rhode Island authors at the Rhode Island Author’s Day.
Guests perused the latest works from Ocean State writers, asked questions of those whose words jump off the pages, and bought signed copies for themselves or as a gift for a loved one.
Author Julien Ayotte, who grew up in Woonsocket and now lives in Cumberland, said Saturday’s expo was a “great, great thing for them to do. It’s long overdue. I’ve done this at so many libraries and for Woonsocket not to have any, they were missing out on Rhode Island’s authors.”
“They love this,” he continued.
“I think if it continues this way, they’ll tneed a bigger room!” The Association of Rhode Island Au-thors, or ARIA, boasts a membership of around 300 Rhode Island-based authors, whose works range from mystery thrillers to children’s fantasy. “The result is good, quality products,” Ayotte said. A mystery thriller author, Ayotte said Saturday’s event provided him with a chance to have a face-to-face interaction with some of his most loyal readers. He referenced one woman who’d already finished two of his books and was thrilled to see that he’d published two more. He also recalled an instance where he was stopped at a restaurant by fans, who said, “You’re writing a sequel, right? We can’t wait to read the next one!” “That to me is the most satisfying,” Ayotte said. Educated at Mount Saint Charles Academy, Ayotte said his novels always begin in Rhode Island – whether in Woonsocket, Lincoln, or North Smithfield – but his characters are quickly transported all over the world after the first few chapters. He said readers have told him, “You’ve taken me to places I’ve never been. Now I feel like I’ve been.” “What a compliment,” he said. Fellow Woonsocket novelist Jeannette Winters was chatting with fans of her romance novels. Since publishing her first book in 2015, Winters has published 25 romantic stories, from tales of intrigue to more “hot and spicy” narratives. Interacting with readers on Saturday, Winters said, is “probably the most valuable personal connection.” “You want to give the customer what they like. Everyone has a story to tell, and that’s what I do: listen to what the readers have to say,” Winters said. Winters’ sister and brother are both writers and she said her mother and grandfather are prolific storytellers. She said that trait was passed down to her, saying the most important aspect of being a novelist is the ability to tell a story. As for having the author expo in her hometown, Winters said “people don’t even realize how much talent there is in the city.” She referenced the Stadium Theatre and other performance venues, saying “writing is just another form of art.”