Naperville Library celebrates Local Author Day

More than 20 area authors will discuss the world of publishing next month at Naperville Public Library's second annual Local Author Day.

The celebration will run from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at the 95th St. Library, 3015 Cedar Glade Drive.

It will feature a diverse mix of well-known and first-time authors who will discuss the publishing world, meet and greet attendees and have signed copies of creative materials available for purchase.

"If you like books or support local creativity, Local Author Day is perfect for you," said Karen Toonen, collection development librarian and Local Author Day co-chairwoman. "Both bibliophiles and aspiring authors will be able to connect one-on-one with Chicagoland talent."

Mary Kubica, one of Local Author Day's panelists, found success with her critically acclaimed debut novel, "The Good Girl," which has been translated into more than 30 languages and sold more than 2 million copies worldwide.

But before Kubica was a New York Times bestselling author, she was an unpublished writer frustrated with the prospects of ever getting published. After reaching out to nearly 100 agents with her first novel, only one offered her representation.

"My advice to writers is to not give up, to keep searching until you find someone as passionate about your work as you are," Kubica said. "Know that if what you've written isn't catching someone's eye now, that doesn't mean it won't in a few years. Be persistent."

Author Essence McDowell, who co-wrote, "Lifting as They Climbed: Mapping a History of Black Women on Chicago's South Side," took a different approach. Along with writing partner Mariame Kaba, the duo decided to self-publish.

"It gave us complete autonomy with the content, design, information and financial capacity over the project," she said. "I designed the entire book from cover to cover - Mariame had been doing research on black women's histories for decades - and together we joined forces to write the book and map out the tour. Self-publishing allowed us to do this without any limiting constrictions."

Also speaking on the panel is romance writer Melonie Johnson, who moonlights as an audiobook narrator. Being a double-major in English and theater, Johnson combined the two and found a career in narration by accident.

"During conferences and workshops, authors often bring samples of their writing to read out loud in critique sessions," she said. "Many authors are introverts and prefer not to read out loud in a crowd … I am not one of them."

For Ilya Kabirov, adult services librarian and co-chairman, Local Author Day is about crossing an item off his bucket list.

"Publishing a book is one of my life goals," he said. "Local Author Day offers a wonderful opportunity to learn from more experienced authors about the way to achieve that goal."

A panel discussion from 1 to 2:30 p.m. will explore the many paths of publishing and discuss ways aspiring authors can reach audiences using different forms of creative media. Authors on the panel include Kubica, Johnson and McDowell along with Stacey Ballis, Sonali Dev and Shaha Drehs.

Other local authors scheduled to attend are J. Leigh Bailey, Donald J. Bingle, Pat Camalliere, Mayank Chhaya, Michelle Cox, Kristina Cowan, John Everson, Michelle Falkoff, Kevin Frantz, Keziah Frost, Kate Gingold Libby Fischer Hellman, Lou Holly, Nic Joseph, Becky Klein-Collins, Barbara Lipkin, J. Michael Major, Beshanda Owusu, J.T. Patten, Renée Rosen and Damian Serbu

For more information about Local Author Day, visit

Shaha Drehs
Sonali Dev
Melonie Johnson
Mary Kubica
Stacey Ballis
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