Book fair highlights work of local authors

HANCOCK COUNTY — James Whitcomb Riley isn’t the only author to look to the fields and streets of Hancock County for inspiration.

The Local Author Book Fair, conducted Sunday at the Hancock County Public Library, called attention to nine local writers whose works are rooted in an array of genres, from futuristic sci-fi novels to historical nonfiction highlighting local lore. The Hancock County Historical Society organized the event, which is in its third year, in collaboration with the library.

It’s often tough for new authors to gain public exposure, said Bridgette Jones, president of the Hancock County Historical Society, but the fair is designed to help connect residents with the work of area authors.

“It’s important to celebrate what we have locally,” Jones said. “When you’re a new author, it takes a lot to get word out about your work.”

Sarah Schmitt of Greenfield, who last October published her first novel, “It’s a Wonderful Death,” a young adult fantasy, said she looks for any opportunity to promote the book. One of the best ways to market, she said, is in person.

“If people get a chance to meet an author, it might make them look at a book that they wouldn’t have paid attention to otherwise,” she said. “Once you establish that personal connection, someone might want to tell their friends and make others aware of your work.”

Patty Thomas of Greenfield, who brought her five granddaughters to the book fair, said she went to event to see what kind of work local authors are producing. Part of her hope, she said, was to expose her granddaughters to the authors of the books.

“By meeting some authors, you get to know a little about who’s writing the book and where they’re coming from,” Thomas said. “It gives you a little more insight than you can get from reading the book.”

George Kramer, a McCordsville author working on the sixth installment of “Arcadis: Prophecy,” a series of science fiction novels set in an fantasy world, said he’s learned a lot from other writers since publishing his first book in 2014.

Establishing connections with other authors at book signings and promotional events has helped him develop as a writer, Kramer said.

“You start meeting people and giving out your business cards, and it gives you a chance to share about your own background,” he said. “You can learn a lot from each other and expand your horizons, even if it’s in a different genre.”

At a glance

Local authors at the event:

Donna Cronk, author of “Sweetland of Liberty Bed and Breakfast”

Patricia Goodspeed, author of “Murder on Persimmon Lane”

Tom Graham, author of “Steal it Sam”

Ira Hughes, author of “The Christmas Bell”

George Kramer, author of “The Arcadis Prophecy Series”

Kathy Lindsey, author of “I Don’t Want to be a Christmas Tree”

Sarah Schmitt, author of “It’s a Wonderful Death”

Joe Skvarenina, author of “Pictorial History of Hancock County,” “Hancock County Now and Then” and “Postcard History of Hancock County”

Kurt Vetter, author of “Confederate Winter”

Author photo
Daniel Morgan is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at (317) 477-3228 or