Discover a new mystery at this virtual festival

Published 7:28 pm Thursday, February 10, 2022

With the cold and rainy spring season approaching, an annual festival has just what folks need to enjoy a day inside.

The annual Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival is returning from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on March 5. This festival has taken place since 2014, but this is the second year it’s gone virtual due to the pandemic.

This event will give folks a chance to expand their reading list and get to know the authors behind the stories. There are 41 authors that will be present in some way at the festival. Some will be on a live panel while others are in prerecorded sessions. All are available to those who attend.

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“We’re so thankful that our authors have been so flexible with the planning for this year’s festival, and participation has been great,” said Katie Kelley, tourism development specialist with Suffolk Tourism.

This event has something for both readers and writers to learn more about the mystery genre as published authors give advice in live moderated panel discussions.

“One of the best things about the Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival is for writers to connect with the readers who make all this possible, and I hope that the readers in turn enjoy getting a more personal look at the people behind those stories and books — a glimpse at our writing process maybe but also a hint at how our personalities might find their way onto the page,” said Art Taylor, a short story writer and one of the panelists.

Taylor specializes in mysteries from clue-driven tales to domestic suspense to noir. As a returning author to the festival, he looks forward to meeting new people and creating new connections. Even though this year is virtual, he finds it a great way to celebrate those connections and the community it creates.

Another returning author is Heather Weidner, joining Taylor and other authors in the short story writing panel. Weidner writes traditional and cozy mysteries, including the “Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries.”

“This is such a great opportunity to meet a wide variety of authors,” she said. “I also leave with a stack of books to add to my ‘to be read’ every time.”

Other panels will discuss topics like romance, creating a setting, building the right atmosphere, writing strong female characters, travel, history and more. There will also be prerecorded interviews of different authors, including Shawn Reilly Simmons, Nancy Naigle and Diane Fanning.

The event is free with registration required. Visit suffolkmysteryauthorsfestival.com to register or learn more. The Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival Facebook page will have book giveaways in the days leading up to the event.