Arts & Entertainment

Local Authors Intrigue Crowd at West Orange Public Library

Credits: Cynthia Cumming
Credits: Cynthia Cumming
Credits: Cynthia Cumming
Credits: Cynthia Cumming
Credits: Cynthia Cumming
Credits: Cynthia Cumming
Credits: Cynthia Cumming

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Seven local authors shared readings from their works and insights into their writing process and subsequent publication last Thursday, as an appreciative crowd listened in the West Orange Public Library Meeting Room.

These authors of several genres including teen mystery, children’s, adult fiction/mystery, biography, and instruction, represented a cross-section of local talent that provided the audience with a fascinating glimpse of the world of book publishing today.

The authors shared that publishing is morphing into more of a “hybrid” of publishing houses that streamline self-published books as well as publishing titles the traditional way. Because more books are being read online or on Kindles and iPads, book chapters are now significantly shorter to make them easier to put down and pick up. To see what publishers were considered ‘legitimate’ the authors recommended aspiring authors check out “Preditors and”

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Jennifer Walkup, a West Orange resident that has just released the latest in her series of teen mysteries entitled, Second Verse, read an exciting excerpt from her book describing the spooky setting of a 100-year-old mystery that a group of teens falls into.  Walkup noted that she reads all the teen mystery and romance books she can to stay current on various trends and interests in her genre.

This sentiment was echoed by Dr. Linda Rawlins, a physician, author and resident of West Caldwell, who writes the Rocky Meadow Mystery Series. As a physician, her books are what she describes as ‘clean,’ meaning there is little or no explicit sexual details, but they contain a plethora of medical and forensic aspects. Her newest book is Sacred Gold, and is co-written by her daughter. Their niche is described as “Cozy books” –books you can get cozy with.

Rawlins also noted that she expected to see huge growth in the religious/Christian fiction genre – books with generic Christian and other spiritual themes.

Paul Meinhardt of North Arlington, described his biographical book, The Afghan Queen, as a “real labor of love.” The book recounts the experiences of his deceased wife Lela as she collected Afghan tribal art under the stormy skies of war in Afghanistan during the 1970’s. His wife lived through one life-threatening experience after the other during her five years abroad, only to come home and pass away from cancer.

Kofi Ayim of West Orange authored the book, Jack Cudjo: Revolutionary War Soldier and First Black Businessman. He detailed the difficulties of attempting to collect documented information on slaves because they were considered ‘property’ and said it took him eight years to write his book, as a result.

West Orange resident CC (Cecelia) Minton is a self-published author who just wrote her first children’s book, Daddy's Greek Potato Pie, which is based on her own husband’s healthy recipe. Minton is involved as an entrepreneur with her ‘Crave the Lifestyle’ website and is passionate about health and wellness. Her book reflects that passion, and she plans to publish again in the future. Her illustrator, E'Lana Lemon, is a recent West Orange High School graduate that is now an artist and photographer.

Natasha Scott of Springfield, who is barely older than the high school students she has published the College Admissions Bible for, shared her story of how difficult it was for her to find a compact, easy-to-read handbook on the college admissions process from SAT to applications and more. She is also a jewelry designer on and works full-time helping children and teens of color. She stressed the importance of the college essay and getting to know one's high school Guidance Counselor.

Sharon Rose, also a West Orange resident, recently published Becoming a Set Apart Young Lady and a Set Apart Young Man, which focuses on life issues like time management, finances, sexuality, and manners from a Christian perspective. She described her passion for teens and seeing that they become successful adults.

Several of the authors' books are currently available at the West Orange Public Library and are available for sale online. The library hopes to have all of them available in the near future.

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