Library’s Spring Fling helps authors blossom

As a three-time veteran participant of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District’s Spring Fling Book Fair, author Dennis Griffin doesn’t expect to sell many books at Saturday’s fifth annual event. That’s not the reason he’ll be there.

“I don’t go with that intention,” said the author of 13 books, who started out writing mystery thrillers but moved into police history, true crime and tales of the mob. “Well, I did, I think, the first year. I look at it now as networking and exposure. I like to get out and meet people and talk about my books. There are nice people to chat with.”

And there will, no doubt, be a lot of chatting going on, with 100 authors on hand at the Clark County Library to discuss their work.

“What’s great is that we are concentrating on local and regional authors,” said Julie Okabayashi, a district scheduling specialist. “A lot of them are first-time authors or are self-published authors, and so don’t have the marketing support they would have from a major publisher.”

The fair benefits both authors and readers, she said, in the sharing of ideas — “finding out what the hot trends are, from just being out in the community. It’s a community-oriented and community-spirited event. That’s really what it’s all about.”

Okabayashi said previous fairs have involved writers’ workshops, but “we’re giving the writers a break this year.” Instead, there will be three sources of entertainment. One will be a celebrity author panel from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the panel made up of eight people who have either written books about themselves as entertainers or who have written about entertainers: Cathy Scott, Elaine McNamara, Beverly Washburn, Lawrence Montaigne, Denny Miller, Don Hill, Jeanne Brei and Jayne Amelia Larson.

Okabayashi said she expects the panel members’ exchanges to be free-flowing.

“It’s going to be a mixed bag,” she said. “They’re going to talk about their books; some of them have written fiction books and some have written memoirs. So why the decision to write a biography? What inspired them to write? What it’s like working with the rich and famous and being a rich and famous person yourself?”

Gregory Kompes, a local author and intuitive, will do a live psychic reading from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

The GadjiO Project — with Shana Tucker, a cellist with Cirque du Soleil’s “Ka,” and guitarist Sami Saula — will perform their gypsy-jazz music from 2 to 3 p.m.

Author signings, selling and interaction are scheduled for 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., with a different roster of writers at each.

Griffin said the interaction with the public tends to be a mixed bag as well.

“If you get people who’ve read the book, they will sometimes comment,” he said. “If they haven’t read the book or books, they will ask you how detailed it is, where you got your information, what was the research like and what was the experience like working with a former mobster.”

Aspiring authors, he said, can use the experience as an opportunity to learn more about the process of publishing.

“I look at it now as networking and exposure,” he said, “to get my name out and the name of my books out there.”

Contact reporter Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella@ or 702-383-0474.

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