The Pickerington Public Library this spring will try to go "beyond the book" with a series of author visits in April and May.

New York Times- and USA Today-bestselling author, Karen Harper, will kick off the series that will feature historical and mystery fiction writers from Ohio.

Harper's visit at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 21, will include a discussion of "The It Girls," her newest work of historical fiction, at the Pickerington main branch, 201 Opportunity Way.

She will be the first of eight authors from the Columbus area and throughout Ohio who are scheduled to take part in the five-part series to be held in April and May.

The events are free but officials ask for those planning to attend to register to ensure adequate seating is provided.

Registration can be completed online at pickeringtonlibrary.org; by calling the library at 614-837-4104 or 614-837-4383; or by visiting the library's main branch or Sycamore Plaza branch library, 7861 Refugee Road.

"Though we have had individual authors visit, like Beverly Lewis, and groups of authors during Teen Book Fest and the Comic Fest, this is our first time hosting a string of author events," said Donna Matturri, the library's adult services manager.

"One of the library's priorities is to go 'beyond the book,' and author visits are a natural fit. What better way to learn about the stories behind your favorite books, than from the authors themselves?"

In addition to Harper, the series will include:

* Thursday, April 26, 7 p.m. -- Local author Sieglinde Martin discusses her book "Small Feet on the Run", the true story of 18 children living in Germany and other areas of Europe during World War II, six of whom later emigrated to Columbus. It will be in the main library.

* Thursday, May 10, 7 p.m.: Two Columbus authors of crime fiction team up for an event at the main library -- Andrew Welsh-Huggins, author of the Andy Hayes mysteries ("The Third Brother"), and Kristen Lepionka, author of the Roxane Weary series ("What You Want to See").

* Saturday, May 19, 3 p.m. -- Get to know the "cozy" side of mysteries with Ohio authors Amanda Flower ("Lethal Licorice"), Alex Erickson ("Death By Eggnog"), and Heather Blake ("The Witch and the Dead"). It will be held in the main library.

* Thursday, May 24, 7 p.m. -- Robin Yocum, a former Columbus Dispatch crime and investigative reporter, talks about his latest novel, "A Perfect Shot", at Sycamore Plaza branch.

Books will be available for sale and signing at all events, courtesy of the Friends of the Pickerington Public Library.

"There will be discussions by the authors of their work, as well as book signings," Matturri said.

"With the multi-author visits scheduled for May 10 and May 19, expect conversations among authors.

"For several of the authors, our visit comes just after the release of their latest books, which is a great way for readers to get the inside scoop on new books before everyone else hears about them."

Matturri emphatically said research by library staff led to the selection of authors for the series, adding they sought authors of popular works and upcoming titles by area writers.

She said the authors' works are geared toward adult readers, authors, aspiring writers and book club members, or anyone who's a fan of the authors' books.

The schedule of visits is available at www.pickeringtonlibrary.org and on the library's social media networks.

"I am thrilled that there are so many talented people who live and work in Columbus and its surrounding communities, and really, all across the state, and that they'll all be here for readers to meet," Matturri said.

"Karen Harper is a bestselling author who lives right here in Columbus; Kristen Lepionka and Andrew Welsh-Huggins both write about fictional investigators in the city but draw on real locations around town; to Amanda Flower, who is not only a cozy mystery author but also a fellow librarian; to Robin Yocum, who was a writer for The Columbus Dispatch and now writes mysteries set throughout Ohio.

"This isn't just a treat for readers of fiction. It's a great experience for people who love to see their home state appear in the pages of a book," Maturri said

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