Ohio authors highlight Mount Gilead Writers Retreat

By Scot Long - For The Sentinel




Cardington native and young adult author Mindy McGinnis will speak at noon on Friday, Oct. 25, at Mount Gilead High School as part of the Second Annual Mount Gilead Autumn Writers Retreat.

The event is free.

Perhaps McGinnis is best known for her recent novel, “The Female of the Species,” along with her Edgar Award-winning novel, “A Madness So Discreet.” Writing across multiple genres of literature from post-apocalyptic, historical, and thriller typologies to contemporary, mystery, and fantasy realms, McGinnis has achieved recognition as a nationally-known young adult fiction writer.

After graduation from Cardington-Lincoln High School, Mindy earned her bachelor’s in English literature and religion, magna cum laude from Otterbein University. While refining her craft as a YA fiction writer, she worked 14 years as a librarian at her former high school and still lives near Cardington.

In addition to sharing ideas of what inspired her to become an author, the main focus of Mindy’s topic will be a discussion of “How to get started writing—Write Now!”

The other keynote speaker is fantasy/fiction author Matt Betts, a self-described pop culture junkie who enjoys writing historical thrillers such as, “Odd Men Out,” a steampunk-horror adventure that earned accolades as a starred review on Booklist. He also wrote “The Shadow beneath the Waves,” an adventure-horror story staging a giant robot versus a gargantuan sea monster.

As a successful author who lives and works in Columbus, Matt grew up devouring comics, watching his share of cartoons, listening to popular music, regularly viewing old monster movies, and reading everything he could find. He is currently completing an Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. novel entitled “Carson of Venus: The Edge of all Worlds,” which continues the adventures of one of Burroughs’ original characters.

During his presentation, Betts will draw from many productive years as an Ohio fantasy author to share his secrets of success on the topic of “What a writer does.”

Last year’s guest authors included Les Roberts, a mystery writer from the greater Cleveland area who is known for his successful Milan Jacovich detective series of books, along with Amish farmer and author David Kline who spoke about his love of nature and appreciation of the beauty of the written word.

Mount Gilead Area Writers Guild is hosting the event along with Mount Gilead Public Library and the Rose Heart Inn. The Second Annual Mount Gilead Autumn Writers Retreat will also include various seminars, workshops, and a panel discussion aimed at interested writers of all ages.

Following the main speaking event at the high school, the Writers Retreat will reconvene at the Mount Gilead Public Library Annex at 2:30 p.m. with both McGinnis and Betts participating in a panel discussion on “Character-driven versus Plot-driven Storylines.”

On Saturday, Oct. 26, the Autumn Writers Retreat will meet at 10 a.m. for coffee, tea, and donuts at the Rose Heart Inn on East High Street in Mount Gilead. The itinerary begins with a workshop on Creative Writing presented by guild member Chris Anderson. During the early afternoon author and guild member Nancy Collander will conduct a seminar on “How to Paint a Story with Words.”

Other topics during the day’s events include a workshop on “Writing from Visual Prompts.” All of the seminars and workshops are free and open to anyone interested in writing.

The Mount Gilead Area Writers Guild meets 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the Rose Heart Inn, located on East High Street in Mount Gilead. New members are welcome.



By Scot Long

For The Sentinel