When Jessica Ekstrom was a student at N.C. State University, she seemed to do it all. She scored internships with Disney, Make-A-Wish and the Today show. She led campus tours and taught fitness classes. She even made it on CNN while running the Krispy Kreme Challenge.
During her junior year, she started her own company, Headbands of Hope, which gives headbands to children with cancer. By the time she graduated in 2013, it was her full-time job.
Now Ekstrom has added the title of author to her resume. Just in time for high school graduation season, “The Freshman Fabulous: The Girls Guide to College” (Telemachus Press) is a humorous and helpful interactive guide for the future co-ed. It is filled with stories and advice ranging from what to wear on the first day of class to what to do when you fail a test. Readers are encouraged to map out their college career and goals along the way using Ekstrom’s lessons as a foundation.
In her debut novel, Lara Cleveland Torgesen seeks to shine a light on domestic violence, poverty and eugenics, which aimed to improve human populations through selective breeding and sterilization. “Unfit” (Possibilities Publishing) is the story of Chrissy Rollings, who is an inspiration for anyone who started life with little hope for the future, faced problems that felt insurmountable, or just felt “unfit.” Torgesen lives in Cary.
▪ In “Where the River Burned” (Cornell University Press), brothers David Stradling and Richard Stradling look at the economic and environmental challenges facing Cleveland, Ohio, following the infamous fire on the Cuyahoga River in 1969. The Stradlings, who grew up in Cincinnati, describe Cleveland’s nascent transition from a polluted industrial city to a viable service city. Richard Stradling is deputy metro editor of The News & Observer.
▪ Cary author Leonard Rattini recounts his experiences serving in the Navy during the Korean War in “Accidental Ambassador” (Left to Right Brain Thinking).
▪ In “The History of Infectious Diseases at Duke University in the Twentieth Century” (Lulu), John D. Hamilton gives an insider’s account of the more prevalent and serious diseases, the physicians and researchers studying them, and the programs supporting them at Duke University and the Durham VA Medical Center. Hamilton is professor emeritus of medicine at Duke.
▪ Raleigh-based romance author Deborah Fletcher Mello’s latest novel, “Playing With Fire” (Dafina), is set amidst the Raleigh jazz scene and rife with drama, romance and heart.
▪ “Sweet Success” (Foursome Press) by Doug Lapins of Pinehurst, N.C., has been awarded a silver medal by the 2015 Axiom Business Book Awards. The Axiom awards honor the year’s best business books, their authors and publishers. Lapins has also been invited to participate in the Blue Ridge Bookfest April 24-25.
▪ Chapel Hill author Betsey Anderson won a Dog Writers Association of America 2014 award for her children’s book, “Maggie Goes to Maine” (Maine Authors Publishing).
Registration is open for Write Now! 2015, the eighth annual Triangle Area Freelancers’ conference. Three tracks of programming will be offered: fiction, nonfiction and technical writing. The keynote presenter will be best-selling author David Morrell. The conference will be held May 2 at Wake Tech’s Northern Wake Campus.
For information and to register, visit tafnc.com/WriteNow.html.
Author-photographer Douglas Butler will be guest speaker at the annual Historical Tea Party Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Olivia Raney Local History Library, 4016 Carya Drive, Raleigh. His book, “North Carolina Civil War Monuments: An Illustrated History,” won a 2014 Willie Parker Peace History book award.
His presentation will detail the origin and evolution of Civil War commemorations across North Carolina, highlighting Wake County’s prominent monuments. The event is free and the public is invited.
Triangle-area authors: We want to hear about your new book. Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org. As space permits, we will mention self-published books by local authors that are for sale on commercial sites.