Authors promote diverse literature at Indie Author Fair

9-year-old amazes attendees with published book

Pramika Kadari, Copy Editor

More than a  dozen authors gathered at the Cozby Library and Community Commons’ Indie Author Fair on Saturday to promote their books, writers with a variety of backgrounds and occupations.


But one writer stood out from all the others: 9-year-old Washe Shumba. When he was just 6, Washe wrote and published his picture book Will You Stop Loving Me?, which revolves around a child who wonders whether his parents will cease to love him when he misbehaves. The story was inspired by Washe’s own life.


“When I asked my mom the exact question that’s the title of the book, I [got inspired to write it],” Washe said. “I feel pretty cool [about writing a book so young].”


Because both of his parents are authors, Washe grew up immersed in a world of books, attending his mother’s literary events since he was just 10 months old. His parents have also read to him frequently since he was young, which sparked his love for literature.


“He learned from his mom and me, writing books,” said Gabriel Shumba, Washe’s father. “That’s his motivation.”


Now, Washe speaks about his publishing experience at events, hoping to spread the joy of writing to others.


“People are really amazed [when they hear about Washe’s book],” Mrs. Washe aid. “Some of them are really inspired to write. I’m a teacher, and with children especially, whenever they hear [about his book], they all start writing. They come to school and say, ‘I wrote a book yesterday!’”


Others at the fair included authors of fiction novels, biographies, self-help books and more. Each writer sat behind a stand holding copies of their book, and most also provided business cards and other trinkets.


Author Patricia Gallo-Stenman, who has been interested in writing since age 12 and worked as a journalist for decades, promoted her book Diary of a Beatlemaniac, a memoir of her life 50 years ago.


“Events like this will help with the book sales,” Gallo-Stenman said. “It’s also a great way to network and meet people, my fellow writers in the area.”


Saturday was writer and former teacher Alexa Aston’s third author fair. Although she has loved literature her entire life and completed her first manuscript in college, she did not begin publishing until her retirement due to the time-consuming nature of her teaching career.


“I thought I would teach by day and write by night, and that didn’t work out because teachers are too busy,” Aston said. “But because I retired from teaching, my time is my own now. I read, I write, I travel … I do what I want to do.”


Because her only regular contact with readers is through social media, Aston’s favorite thing about attending fairs is the connection she forms with her supporters.


“So many times, readers don’t understand that authors are just like them,” Aston said. “I was a reader before I was a writer. I like the personal face-to-face contact with readers at events like this.”


Attendees left the Indie Author Fair feeling inspired from interacting with a multitude of published authors, just as those who speak with Washe are inspired by him.


“If you have a passion to write, just continue with it because it’s something that’s always going to stay with you,” Gallo-Stenman said.


Follow Pramika on Twitter @Pramika_kadari


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