Over the past few years, a community of writers has formed around critique groups and the West Chester Story Slam. So in January of 2011, I made a list of local fiction writers I’ve come to know and admire. These writers all share a passion for crafting short stories. Some of the writers I’ve worked with professionally over the years, others I’ve met through the local groups and Twitter. Each writer is someone seriously pursuing the craft, though we all have different genres and styles. After making the list I reached out and asked each writer if they would contribute a story for a collection called Chester County Fiction. I was thrilled when everyone said “yes!” (Read more below...)
Although Chester County Fiction is considered a short story collection, I believe the reader should approach this book as a sampler. Each writer has their own unique voice and style. Reading this book is similar to ordering the beer sampler at Victory Brewing Company or Iron Hill Brewery. There’s an assortment of stories for the reader to taste and see which stories most suits their palate.
The writers featured in Chester County Fiction are: Virginia Beards, Robb Cadigan, Wayne Anthony Conaway, Peter Cunniffe, Michael Dolan, Ronald D. Giles, Terry Heyman, Joan Hill, Nicole Valentine, Jacob Asher Michael, Eli Silberman, Christine Yurick and Jim Breslin.
Two professional editors, Sue Gregson and Christine Yurick, agreed to edit each story and draw out the author’s voice.
For the cover, graphic designer Larry Geiger offered to create one of his unique designs. As we sat at Iron Hill Brewery discussing the project one night, Larry deemed we needed a photographer and David James soon joined the collaborative effort.
Authors labored over their short stories and handed in drafts by the June 30th deadline. We edited and returned the stories to authors. Second and third drafts were passed back and forth. We are in the final stage of proofing. We are in the final sprint.
After our book launch, we will hold a few events in our awesome local independent bookstores and art galleries. We are doing small publishing runs of the book — I am calling it nano-publishing. After six months, we’ll count the money earned and the collaborative team will vote on what we should do with the profits. We may throw a party or donate the money to a local literacy campaign. If we’re really lucky, we’ll have enough to do both!
The book launch for Chester County Fiction will be held on October 2nd, from 2p.m. to 5p.m. at the iconic Baldwin’s Book Barn, located on Route 52 as you head south out of West Chester. Baldwin’s Book Barn is a Chester County landmark and possibly the best used book store in the country. We will have free beer and more. YOU are cordially invited!