A love of the paranormal has become normal for many avid readers. Topics like the supernatural, paranormal romance and fantasy fiction continue to grow in popularity throughout libraries and the world of fiction in general.
The Pioneer Library System will bring together voices from the genres for an Author Panel and Writing Workshop during its Summer Reading Program in June and July.
Authors Sonia Gensler (The Revenant), Tessa Gratton (Blood Magic), Tara Hudson (Hereafter), Sharon Sala (Next of Kin) and Steven E. Wedel (The Werewolf Saga) will make up the panel, with different members of the group appearing at the programs in the 10 PLS hometown libraries. Check at your local library for who will appear at each program.
Much like the genre itself, the panel discussion is targeted to teens but figures to draw many adults as well that have become fans of the books and even the authors themselves.
“Teens are going through a lot of adult emotions for the first time, so it can be exciting but also they’re not quite sure how to deal with them,” Gensler said.
“I think I read adult books sort of with a young adult gaze. Young Adult literature has a lot of angsty characters but less of just pages and pages of introspection.”
Wedel works as an English teacher at Western Heights High School after previously working in public relations and as a newspaper reporter. He takes a lot of inspiration from what he sees in class.
“Being around young adults, you get to know what they’re like, you know what they’re going through,” he said. “Life for teenagers is so much different from when I graduated from Enid High School in 1984.”
Another element of the programs will be the discussion about the writing process, getting published and getting your words out there. The path to becoming published authors is never a straight one, and this panel is no exception. Some have taken the career on fulltime, while many write on the side of other professions.
Take the case of Hudson: “I believed all the horrors about English majors and their careers in the food-service industry.” That led her into law school and a current career as an attorney, even when much of her passion comes from her writing.
Gensler has seen both sides. After six years as an English teacher at Norman North High School, she has the opportunity now to write full-time. It paid off big this spring when “The Revenant” won the Oklahoma Book Award for Young Adult Fiction.
“I just couldn’t seem to make any progress with my writing while working full time, with all the grading papers and working with students,” she said. “I like to do school visits and library programs, because it satisfies the teaching urge in me. I miss that, spending time with the kids, but now spending time with adults interested in writing does the same thing for me.”
All the authors continue to be busy with appearances and more writing. Gratton’s recent project is the novel The Blood Keeper, which will debut Aug. 28, shortly after the conclusion of the Summer Reading Program. It’s a standalone companion to Blood Magic, which she released in the middle of 2011.
Salais the panel’s most accomplished author. Since 1989 she has published more than 80 books, with Don’t Cry for Me, due for an October release, being her third book to hit the shelves just this year.
She has been well-acclaimed, including being honored by the Romance Writers of America with its Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement award in 2011.
The authors also have learned the common trait present for many who have been published – patience.
“People don’t realize how much waiting is involved, and how much is out of your control,” she said. “You submit to your agent and wait, your agent submits it and you wait, someone is reading it, so you’re waiting some more.”
Sonia Gensler – published her first novel The Revenant in 2011, and the book was named Oklahoma Book Award winner for Young Adult Fiction in April 2012. She is a former English teacher who specializes in the paranormal and writing for young adults.
Tessa Gratton – the Lawrence, Kan., native published “Blood Magic,” which looks into the world of dark magic and uncovers unexpected secrets.
Tara Hudson – published her debut novel “Hereafter” in 2010. She works as an attorney when she’s not writing about the paranormal.
Sharon Sala – the most accomplished member of the panel in terms of having books in print, with more than 80 published works, beginning with Sara’s Angel in 1989. She also has published under the pen name Dinah McCall and already has released A Field of Poppies andNext of Kin in 2012.
Steven E. Wedel – has published nine books, most recently Amara’sPrayer last year. Specializes in horror and werewolf stories that began primarily for adults but is branching more into the young adult genre.
Schedule for panel appearances
2 p.m. June 16, Shawnee Public Library – Sharon Sala
2 p.m. June 25, Moore Public Library – Sonia Gensler, Tessa Gratton, Tara Hudson and Steven E. Wedel
2 p.m. June 26, Purcell Public Library – Sonia Gensler, Tessa Gratton and Tara Hudson
2 p.m. June 28, Noble Public Library – Tessa Gratton and Tara Hudson
2 p.m. July 9, Southwest Oklahoma City Public Library – Tara Hudson, Sharon Sala and Steven E. Wedel
2 p.m. July 10, Norman Public Library – Tara Hudson, Sharon Sala and Steven E. Wedel
2 p.m. July 13, Newcastle Public Library – Steven E. Wedel
2 p.m. July 17, Tecumseh Public Library – Steven E. Wedel
2 p.m. July 18, McLoud Public Library – Tara Hudson and Steven E. Wedel
2 p.m. July 19, Blanchard Public Library – Steven E. Wedel