Meet Tavis Smiley & Cornel West 05/31/12


The Land Was Ours Book Signing with Dr. Andrew Kahrl

Dr. Andrew W. Kahrl, Assistant Professor of History at Marquette University, will facilitate an author’s discussion and book signing for his latest publication, The Land Was Ours: African American Beaches from Jim Crow to the Sunbelt South. This pathbreaking combination of social and environmental history reveals the variety of ways African Americans pursued freedom and mobility through the land under their feet, including prime American beachfront property in the Chesapeake, along the Carolina shore, and around the Gulf of Mexico.

Andrew W. Kahrl is an assistant professor of history at Marquette University.  He received his Ph.D. in history from Indiana University in 2008.  Andrew has received fellowships and support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and American Council of Learned Societies, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the North Caroliniana Society, the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Institute for Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina, and the John Hope Franklin Research Center at Duke University, and is the recipient of 2007 Louis Pelzer Memorial Award from the Organization of American Historians.  Articles based on his research have been published in the Journal of American History and the Journal of Social History.  He and his wife, Aileen, live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Meet and Greet Author Andrew W. Kahrl June 16. 4:00 p.m.  at the Auburn Avenue Research Library, 101 Auburn Ave, Atlanta, GA 30303.

**This discussion will also be streamed live at

Author Ruth P. Watson @ the AARL 06/28/12

The Auburn Avenue Research Library will host author Ruth P. Watson, who will discuss her latest publication, Blackberry Days of Summer.  An exciting historical whodunit, the novel, set in Jefferson County, Virginia, begins at the funeral of Robert Parker, a young black man who was mysteriously murdered. Trouble arrives when Carrie, Robert’s sister, reveals a disturbing secret that will haunt and change the lives of their family forever.

Ruth P. Watson grew up at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Lynchburg, Virginia. In her spare time, she has always enjoyed reading and writing, and listening to good stories.  After leaving Virginia for college, she relocated to Atlanta, and worked as a project manager for a major corporation. While there she found herself writing once again, publishing stories in the company newsletter.  Ruth is currently living in Atlanta, Georgia and has written for local publications such as Upscale magazine and the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.  You can find more info about Ruth P. Watson by visiting

Auburn Avenue Research Library

101 Auburn Avenue, NE

Atlanta, GA 30303


Spotlight Author: L.M. Davis



Author L.M. Davis sat down with The Write Life, to discuss her work, what motivates her to write, and her speculative fiction young adult series.


The Write Life: First, welcome to The Write Life!  We’re thrilled to have you.  I’ve read your first novel, Interlopers, and understand you are continuing the story.  For those who aren’t familiar, tell us a bit about the Shifters Series


L.M. Davis: The Shifters Series is about Nate and Larissa Pantera.  They are fraternal twin, teenaged shapeshifters, were-panthers to be more precise, but they are not like other paranormal teens.  Nate and Larissa have always known exactly what they are and they come from a family of shapeshifters.  The twins think that they pretty much have the whole “shapeshifter-among-humans” thing all figured out, but when strange things start to happen in Interlopers, they discover that everything that they thought they knew, about who and what they were, is only the beginning of the truth. 


TWL: Where did the inspiration for the series come from? 


L.M.: The story for the series came to me while I was driving from Chicago to Minneapolis, where I was working at a university.  I had decided to write a story that my cousin, who loves fantasy and sci-fi, would enjoy.  I also knew that I wanted to write a book that was reflective of a the experiences that I saw growing up (i.e. not about an orphan, who struggles alone against a harsh, cruel world; but about siblings who come from a loving and supportive extended family, in which family histories and stories are so important).  I wanted to write a book about the kind of families that I know.  So, those were the basic parameters, and as I was on that long stretch of road that goes through the foothills in Wisconsin, the story just came to me.  I wrote the first draft of Interlopers in about two months. 


TWL: Your novel is considered Speculative Fiction.  What made you choose that genre to focus on?


L.M.:  I am a speculative fiction fanatic.  Seriously.  I grew up reading Madeline L’Engle, Mildred Taylor, Susan Cooper, and L. J. Smith.  As a teen, I think that I read all of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Anne Rice and John Saul (these guys are considered horror, but all of them have a speculative foundation and quality to their works), and I discovered Laurell K. Hamilton my senior year of high school.  My first creative writing efforts, when I was in second or third grade were fantasy–I had one story that I wrote and rewrote for years about a vampire.  I have written in other genres, realistic fiction, non-fiction, even romance (yes, I admit it), but fantasy is the genre that feels most like home to me. 


TWL: Why did you choose young adults as your target audience? 


L.M.: First of all, it is such a pivotal moment in everyone’s life.  It’s when you make the decisions that will shape who you are for the rest of your life.  Some of those decisions are deliberate and others are less conscious, but they all play a role in making you into the person that you will become.   As a reader that moment is so important too.  It is the moment when you stop reading because your parents say that you have to and you start reading because you love it.  I want to write books that make people enjoy reading and keep them hooked.  I know that for me, my early love of reading, stoked a desire to keep reading throughout my life. 


TWL: Are there any particular challenges you face when writing a novel?


L.M.: I think that for me the hardest part is the description.  My writing tends towards the spare in terms of details–it has a Hemingway-esque quality in that regard.  I allude subtly, when I should be much more direct about certain details.  As my drafts go out to readers, the response is always “needs more detail”.  So that’s something that I am always working on, trying to add more detail and description with every subsequent draft.


TWL: What books are you reading now? 


L.M.:I am always working on several books.  Right now it’s Dhalgren by Samuel Delany, Escape from Beckyville by Nicole Sconiers, and Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones


TWL: What would you say to aspiring authors? 


L.M.: Learn your tools, which are words, punctuation, and grammar.  Learn them well.  The better you know these things, the more control that you have over what you write.  Writing is an art.  It’s not just about putting words on a page.  It is about using those words, that punctuation, that grammar, thoughtfully and deliberately, to produce a desired result.  You have to know the rules before you can break them in a meaningful way.  Also, read broadly.  Read the stuff you love, but also read something that you never thought that you would be interested in.  People who read a lot make for better writers, because when you read you are at the same time learning the art of storytelling–whatever kinds of stories you read. 


TWL: Any last words? 


L.M.: Thanks so much to The Write Life for hosting me on the blog.  I look forward to our video interview!


Interlopers and Posers, released April 30, 2012, are available on and at L.M.’s website