By CYNTHIA G. ROBERTSON
The glut of time that the pandemic afforded us gave many writers the hours they needed to finally write and publish their books. Writers took advantage of the long absence from people to pen everything from biographies to novels.
With the beginning of the fall semester for both school children and college students, September is a natural for being National Literacy Month. It is a good time to introduce the recent works of authors who live in our own communities and neighborhoods.
San Carlos resident and semi-retired professor, Sandra Bonura wrote a non-fiction book, “Empire Builder: John D. Spreckels and the Making of San Diego.” Published last year, the biography is deeply researched and includes newly discovered family documents and photos. The story paints a realistic portrait of cultural, economic, and political aspects of late nineteenth-and early twentieth-century California.
“I am a native San Diegan who loves this city and thrives on research. The sight of the name of our city’s ‘foster father,’ John D. Spreckels, in any historical document captures my attention. It’s a familiar name to most baby boomers who grew up here,” Bonura said.
More information about Bonura and her books are found at www.sandrabonura.com.
Curtis Ippilito, another San Carlos resident and a development writer at Salk Institute, has authored his first novel — a whodunit with touches of mystery and psychological angst. “Burying the Newspaper Man,” a story of a beat cop in Ocean Beach, takes the reader on twists and turns, eventually forcing the protagonist to make a difficult decision when his journey leads him to the killer.
“For this novel, I was intrigued by the question of how a person would resolve a trauma from their past if they found their abuser had already been brought to the most final form of justice,” Ippilito said.
To find out more about Ippilito and his book and other works, go to www.curtisippilito.com.
A resident of Santee, Simonetta Carr has written many books for children, the latest being “J.R.R. Tolkien for Kids: His Life and Writings, with 21 Activities.” The book is kid-friendly with interesting story of how the famous fantasy author created new worlds.
“I am not sure if children today are encouraged to learn about Tolkien,” Carr said. “Some might watch the movies, but reading the books is quite different. With this book, I am hoping to kindle a spark of love for Tolkien and his books in a new generation.”
In the book, children will learn that Tolkein was not only an author, but also a soldier, researcher, teacher, friend, husband and father. The personal experiences and subjects that inspired Tolkien’s stories are brought to life through hands-on activities, such as painting an enchanted forest or drawing a map for a story, or even how to make mushroom toast.
Find out more about Carr and her books at www.cbfyr.com.
A retired physician and a resident of Del Cerro, Daniel Collins penned a novella, “The Keneally Chronicles,” about a Supreme Court Justice, Anthony Keneally and his family. Keneally is the prototypical swing vote on the Court, but before his retirement in the middle of a controversial case, he disappears. After his retirement he is called back to the Court to help with a huge backlog of cases precipitated by Covid and the lockdowns. He has been called back because there was an attempted murder of another Justice.
“I would describe ‘The Keneally Chronicles’ as contemporary fiction. It combines the potential and real threats to Supreme Court Justices with the main focus of life in today’s world … COVID,” Collins said, adding that he learned how difficult it was to write and publish a book, but it was “well worth it.”
Collins’ book can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and DiscoverBooks.
As an author myself, my novel “Where You See Forever,” a story about a woman’s journey toward hope and redemption, had been published just six months before the lockdown on March 17, 2020. Though the book is available on my website at cynthiarobertson.com and Barnes and Noble online, during the lockdown I did not have opportunities to promote it at in-person author talks, which I enjoy doing. But the book has continued to sell, and I felt motivated to keep on writing.
From the beginning of the lockdown to two weeks after my second vaccination shot in May, I wrote a daily blog; it will be published later this year. I’ve also had the opportunity to participate in two anthology publications. My essay “Shelter for My Soul among the Trees” is published in the San Diego Library’s Decameron Project anthology. More recently, my essay “Finding Gold in the Fallout” will be published in Acorn Publishing’s “Six Feet Apart” anthology.’
During Literacy Month, adults and children alike will find that these books by local authors will open new worlds. They will discover anew or for the first time realize that reading is always an adventure.