Concord authors hold ‘conversations’ about books and writing on Wednesday

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CONCORD, NH — A free event in Concord on Wednesday brings together four authors to discuss their books that range from historical fiction, set in Granite State communities, to real-life history in the capital.

The event, hosted by author Paul Brogan, also includes Margaret Porter, Virginia Macgregor (who writes as Nina Monroe) and Mark Okrant. Former NHPR “The Exchange” host Laura Knoy will host the conference.

Concord NH Patch asked Brogan a few questions about the event.

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Has an event like this ever been held at Concord? In the past, there was one author at an event, maybe even two. But not something like four, from one geographic area, on stage at once, if I remember correctly.

Gibson is, as I like to say, “a writer’s best friend”. I believe we’ve all done events at Gibson, but as far as I know, nothing like this has been done before. It’s kind of a variation of NHPR’s “Authors on a NH Stage” that they do at the Music Hall in Portsmouth. However, having someone like Laura Knoy moderate a discussion with four local authors is remarkable.

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What made you decide to do something like this? Was it difficult?

Margaret and I discussed doing some sort of outreach event. Too often people pass by the shelf labeled “Local Authors”. We wanted to create some excitement around the talent that is here in the greater Concord area.

When Margaret approached Laura, she was immediately on board. Both Margaret and Virginia were on my Concord TV show, so I knew them and read several of their books. Mark was a new name to me, but his detective stories, set in the area, caught my attention.

Once we committed to it, it was relatively easy and we made the decision, early on, to make it a free event. We really want people to discover our local voices.

Many people know your work. “Was That A Name I Dropped” is long out of print; “The Concord Theatre” was a walk down memory lane for many who grew up here or loved the movies. Many also know Margaret Porter, who was a former state representative and involved in the early 2000s with a blogging group here in the city. Can you tell us a bit more about Virginia (Nina) and Mark, for those who may not know them?

Margaret has a skill in writing historical fiction that makes the reader believe she was there and witnessed everything up close and personal.

Virginia’s (written as Nina Monroe) most recent title, “The Children’s Secret,” was one of the most captivating books I’ve read in recent years. Set in a fictional NH town, it grabs you from the first paragraph and never lets you go. It’s relatively new to our area and captures all the nuances of small town New Hampshire.

Mark’s crime novels are set in various New Hampshire locations, and his writing instantly makes you feel familiar and intrigued by how he uses these locations to great effect.

An event like this shows that literature isn’t really dead, no matter what one might think about the state of book sales, online readership, or other issues with the literature industry. ‘editing. It’s just changed a lot like the music business, etc.

I can’t agree with you more. For so many people, nothing beats the genuine pleasure of holding a book in your lap, turning the pages, and being taken away to another time or place.

To have this event too, at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage, is kind of special. Not only is it an impressive new performance space in the city, but it’s also where the old Concord Theater used to be.

It was the easiest part. When we first talked about it, I told Margaret that my dream was to do something at the Bank of NH Stage. Being in this setting always feels like coming home. This is the right place for it and I hope everyone who hasn’t visited the place will give it a try as the event is free. You need a ticket, but there is no charge associated with this evening.

Anything else readers should know about the event?

If you’ve only heard Laura on her legendary show, “The Exchange,” now’s your chance to see her in person. The evening will be funny, insightful and hopefully enlightening. For anyone who’s ever thought about sitting down and writing something, here’s your chance to find out how it’s done. There will be time for questions from the audience, and Gibson’s will be selling books by all four authors in the lobby after the event.

Conversations with Concord-area authors will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6 at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on South Main Street in Concord. This is a paid event but tickets are free. Visit the Capitol Center for the Arts website, linked here to reserve a ticket.

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