In the middle of a Minnesota winter — and in the middle of a pandemic — seemed like the perfect time to kick off a virtual get-together of writers and authors.
The success of last year’s inaugural event – which drew 190 people from as far away as New Hampshire, Illinois, California and Maryland – raised hopes among organizers for Saturday’s event.
“We consider this a ‘warm-up’,” said Rachael Hanel of the Deep Valley Book Festival Committee. “We do that by giving people programming that’s useful, that they’re interested in, and reminding them, ‘Hey, if you’re enjoying that access to writers and access to that kind of programming, we’ve got a full festival (c is a) in-person, big event.”
The keynote speaker for this second virtual event is Cindy Wilson, author of “The Beautiful Snow”. She will talk about “How the Hard Winter of 1880-1881 Became Laura Ingalls Wilder’s ‘The Long Winter'”.
This virtual event targets both writers and readers, Hanel said, and is in some ways meant to show the importance of the relationship between the two.
“We’re just trying to get a full offer for this festival,” she said.
This includes a mix of topics such as writing about historical fiction, when writers use real facts from a period but present them through characters who may not have existed or may not have not had the experiences described.
This panel discussion at 1:30 p.m. will be moderated by Becky Brooks and will include authors Phyllis Cole-Dai, Terri Karsten, Amy Lauters and Lydia Emma Niebuhr.
Other presentations are “A Book’s Journey to Publication” at 9 am; “Working Together: Connecting Writers and Readers” at 10:30 a.m.; Wilson’s keynote at noon; and “Angry Housewives and Wedding Misadventures, We’ve Got Your Back on How to Write with Humor and Creativity” at 3 p.m.
The day will end at 4:30 p.m. with an announcement of the featured author coming to the October 1 Deep Valley Book Festival.
While attendance is free, Hanel said organizers ask people to register for sessions they want to attend to ensure Zoom meeting information is communicated.
People can become a Friend of the Festival for a donation of $25 or more; book giveaways will take place throughout the day, with a DVBF Friendship Bag filled with books autographed by Cabin Fever authors handed out during the 4:30 p.m. session.
For the event, an author is anyone who has a book to sell, whether published through an agent or self-published. The event focuses on Minnesota authors or people who have written about Minnesota.
“It’s a very open event. Some larger festivals might be a little more demanding about the types of books they allow,” she said. Many of those who self-publish are very prolific and build up a strong following.
“Many seem to have tremendous success going this route.”