Harry Bennett Branch Local Author Series: J. A. Dayton, Gerri Lewis, Laurel Peterson and Wendy Whitman

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Panel discussion with mystery authors J. A. Dayton, Gerri Lewis, Laurel Peterson and Wendy Whitman, who will share how they come up with and develop story ideas, their writing techniques and advice on getting published. The discussion will be moderated by author Amy Kierce.

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J. A. Dayton, a former newspaper columnist, has long experience as a policy analyst and advocate for public issues. She held several elected offices, which developed her love of writing and public speaking. Dayton is a member of Sisters In Crime and International Thriller Writers. When not on travel adventures abroad, she loses sleep reading spine-tingling, mind-bending, heart-racing thrillers. Set in Stone is her debut novel. She lives on a former cranberry farm in a small New England town.

Gerri Lewis is the author of the The Last Word, about an obituary writer who solves murders in her hometown of Ridgefield. During her career as an award-winning reporter, columnist and feature writer, Lewis became a go-to person in her community for obituaries. When she is not helping her protagonist solve mysteries, she writes magazine features and is the public information officer for the Ridgefield Office of Emergency Management. She lives with her husband in Ridgefield.

Laurel S. Peterson is a community college English professor whose poetry has been published in literary journals. She has two poetry chapbooks, That’s the Way the Music Sounds and Talking to the Mirror, as well as two full-length collections, Do You Expect Your Art to Answer? and Daughter of Sky. She has also written two mystery novels, Shadow Notes and The Fallen. She is a member the Norwalk Public Library board, and served as Norwalk’s Poet Laureate from April 2016 to April 2019.

For 20 years, Wendy Whitman, was an executive and producer for Court TV and HLN for the Nancy Grace show, covering major high-profile murder cases. Whitman received three Telly Awards and two GLAAD nominations during her tenure at Court TV. Since turning her attention to writing, Whitman has published two crime thriller novels: Premonition and the sequel, Retribution. She graduated from Boston University School of Law.

Amy Kierce started her writing career in New York working for magazines such as Parade, Victoria and Ladies' Home Journal, then worked as a copywriter for Blue Cross Blue Shield, JJill and other companies. Kierce is currently working on her debut novel.