Book power: Authors draw crowds to expo

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The Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA) held the 6th Annual Rhode Island Author Expo at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston.

“Last year, we counted 1,200 readers. Our final counts for this year are preliminary, but we easily exceeded that. The aisles were full all day. I would estimate 1,400. You know when people complain about parking at Rhodes, you have a big crowd, “said Steven R. Porter of Stillwater Books/Stillwater River Publications and President of the Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA).

“Over 135 authors participated yesterday, which is the most we’ve ever had. We had a great turnout, too, to meet both Mike Stanton and Lisa Gardner to hear them speak,” said Porter.

Mike Stanton, former Providence Journal reporter and author of Unbeaten: Rocky Marciano’s Fight for Perfection in a Crooked World and The Prince of Providence provided the keynote address, “Breathing Life Into History.”

Also speaking at the expo was Lisa Gardner, former Wakefield resident and New York Times best-selling author of several thrillers including Find Her and Look for Me. She received ARIA’s RI Author Legacy Award. Her presentation included how to develop character development based on her novels.

“I’m was very excited to be present our Legacy Award to Lisa Gardner this year. She’s having an incredible career, and it’s part of our mission to recognize those authors from our state who have achieved great things,” said Porter.

Books on display from participating authors will represent a wide variety of genres including romance, mystery, horror, history, biography and children. Hundreds of autographed books will be available for purchase and activities will also be available for children.

“We recognized that the kids who come with their parents needed a little distraction,” said Porter. “So, besides Santa, we’ve added a children’s activity area this year, so they can be an active part of the Expo also.”

The Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization of local, published writers of both fiction and non-fiction committed to raising awareness of the outstanding written works crafted by writers in Rhode Island. More information about the group can be found on its website www.RIAuthors.org.

“Our Expo chairman Mike Squatrito and his committee really out did themselves,” said Porter. “And believe it or not, planning for next year’s event is already underway. That will be held on December 7, 2019 at Rhodes.”

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