Celebrated Authors Reveal Their Secrets

Uncounted are the times when someone with an interesting story might have heard, “Why don’t you write a book?”

Jo-Ann Mapson

Jo-Ann Mapson

For most it’s easier said than done, but on Monday, Oct. 21, six storytellers will share their secrets during a Laguna Playhouse panel discussion at 5:30 p.m. titled “Memorable Conversations with Six Celebrated Authors.” Tickets are $55 a person.

Organized by Ilona Martin and a support group, Playhouse Women, the program will be moderated by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett. She will coax the authors into giving the audience insiders’ views on turning an inspiration into a manuscript and published book. “Sometimes all it takes is a thought or a memorable line,” she said.

While last year, the Playhouse Women put a spotlight on Newport Beach’s Dean Koontz, they aimed for a wider variety of voices, though all happen to be women.

Panelist Gayle Brandeis is a poet, fiction writer and essayist. Among her works are “Fruitsflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write” and novels “The Books of Dead Birds” and “Self-Storage.”

Mary Castillo

Mary Castillo

Mary Castillo writes romances and mysteries including novels “Switchcraft” and “Lost in the Night,” and other related genre works.

Alison Singh Gee’s travel memoir “Where the Peacocks Sing” was named a National Geographic Travel Book of the Month and her writing credits include articles in InStyle and Vanity Fair, the Los Angeles Times and the International Herald Tribune.

Jo-Ann Mapson has written 12 novels, “The Wilder Sisters” and “Blue Rodeo” among them.

Tatjana Soli is a novelist and short story writer who created “The Lotus Eaters” which made the New York Times’ bestseller list.

Barbara Barrett

Barbara Barrett

DeMarcos-Barrett authored “Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Igniting the Writer Within,” hosts the KUCI radio show “Writers on Writing” and conducts literary salons at Scape gallery in Corona Del Mar.

She said that she prepared for her role by researching as much background as time would allow. “With a panel that big, I have to look for common themes such as the writing process, how they got started or figured out a story. There really is no end of what we could talk about,” she said.

The presentation is a fundraiser and a way to reach out into the community, said Martin. “It does not necessarily need to relate to the stage but to educate as well as entertain,” she said.

Ten percent of all book sales will go to the Playhouse Women, said Laguna Beach Books’ proprietor Jane Hanauer, who also helped select panelists. Two authors participated previously at store events. Hanauer figures a theater audience will appreciate hearing the stories of a wide variety of authors, she said.

 Alison Singh Gee

Alison Singh Gee

Proceeds are earmarked for a long overdue remodeling of the ladies lounge, Martin said. “Once we have the money raised there will be no more long lines,” she quipped.




Gayle Brandsels

Gayle Brandsels



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  1. […] Celebrated Authors Disclose Their Keys For the majority of it'' s much easier stated than done, however on Monday, Oct. 21, six storytellers will share their techniques during a Laguna Playhouse panel discussion at 5:30 p.m. titled “Unforgettable Discussions with 6 Celebrated Authors.” Tickets are $ 55 an individual … Read more on Laguna Beach Independent Paper […]

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