Madison Park writers unite

Authors come together to promote works, share space during annual art walk

Madison Park writers unite

Madison Park writers unite

Madison Park is home to a number of published authors, and not one is like another.

What they do have in common is the business and promotion side of being a writer, and that has kept them connected over the last two years.

Stephanie Joyce Cole recently entertained her novelist neighbors inside her Madison Park home, a loose agenda item being the upcoming community art walk.

The author of two novels set in her home state of Alaska, Cole was intrigued by a call for artists posted on Nextdoor two years ago, ahead of the annual Madison Park Art Walk held in September.

Writers are artists, she said, so she asked organizers about participating.

After getting the go-ahead, she made her own post, looking to connect with more writers in the neighborhood.

Jennie Spohr writes historical fiction based in the Tudor period, the Madison Park author having studied the English Reformation in graduate school. Her pen name is J.L. Spohr, under which she’s published four books in a series. She said women authors often get labeled as romance writers, and that’s not her genre.

“They’re more like a love story, with a romance element around it,” Spohr said of her own work.

Attorney Katie Matison leads the London Insurance Client Team, and has handled a number of maritime cases involving undersea recoveries and who is legally entitled to the treasures once lost in the deep.

She used her experience in the matter when writing the suspense novel, “The Slip,” about family, treasure hunting, a corrupt salvage company and a squirrel named Raleigh.

“I don’t think you have to write the same thing to make a connection,” she said.

James Brock, who confesses he actually lives in Madison Valley, has written many novels in the gay romance genre, as well as hundreds of short stories, essays and other pieces.

“Does anyone else here procrastinate?” he asked. “I have no trouble getting started. A paragraph in though…”

Missing from their latest social was Leslie Stark, whose children’s book, “Bella of Madison Park,” was inspired by her dog’s adventures in Seattle.

Together, the authors arrived on the Madison Park Art Walk scene in September 2016. They worked together on posters, and then shared their books at the same venue.

“What the art walk people didn’t know was we were going whether they let us or not,” Brock said.

Last year they secured a prime spot at Key Bank.

Some have their own writers groups, Cole said, but the Madison Park authors don’t get together to workshop their upcoming novels. They’re focused on promotion — getting their works out to a larger audience.

“It’s very hard to get noticed,” Cole said, “even if you have a really good book.”

And it’s even harder in an Amazon world, they said.

“My publisher set me free because of Amazon,” Brock said, his last two books selling well, but gaining him little profits on Kindle Unlimited. Authors do not get paid for purchases, but by how many pages get read.

The Madison Park Art Walk has been a fun way to connect with neighbors and share their works on a local level, and is something they plan on doing again this year. They’ll have time yet to get everything ready by September.