Books

Apex-area author caught writing bug after injury

“The Art of Departure” is the eighth book of poetry by Raleigh resident Maureen Sherbondy. The collection examines the art of leaving by death or divorce and events in between.
“The Art of Departure” is the eighth book of poetry by Raleigh resident Maureen Sherbondy. The collection examines the art of leaving by death or divorce and events in between. Aldrich Books

Author James Mullen was 62 when he happened upon the craft of writing. He was recovering from having a prosthetic ankle implanted when he learned of a fellow patient who was writing a blog.“I thought it was a good idea, so I started a blog, ‘Grumpy Gets Better,’ and found I liked writing,” he said.

A few years later, he retired from American Airlines and decided to try his hand at a novel. “It was a case of ambition trumping knowledge,” he said. “I committed all the mistakes of a first-timer – too much description, weak plotting and falling in love with my own words.”

He found inspiration for the setting of his second novel, “Boston Harbors Murder” (CreateSpace), from a travel article on Spectacle Island that he clipped from the News & Observer in 2007. “I like using real locations as backdrops,” he said. “I enjoyed my trips to Boston, talking with people, thinking about backgrounds and plotting scenes. “To me that’s one of the wonderful things about writing. Most folks think it’s a solitary exercise. You go into a room, close the door and put pen to paper. … But in order to get to that room and create a story, you have to engage people, observe, then imagine.”

“Boston Harbors Murder” is the second novel in a crime series featuring the 1990s investigations of Boston detectives Jimmy Ketchum and Brendan Cobb.

Mullen has lived in the Apex area since 1990. “Another three decades and I’ll be a local,” he quips.

New titles

▪ “The Portrait” (CreateSpace) by William E. Dunstan is a novel about the sudden and powerful romance between idealistic teenagers who fall in love in Elizabeth City in 1954 and struggle against bigotry, fear and murder. Dunstan is a visiting scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill.

▪ “Through the Woods” (Pumpernickel Art) is the second novel in John Choquette’s Burlwood Forest Trilogy. The fun series follows the adventures of 11-year-old Michael Pumpernickel.

“I’m really excited about the future of Burlwood Forest,” Choquette said. “I’ve had so much fun getting out into the community, talking at schools and visiting libraries and I want to do everything I can to inspire others and promote literacy.” Choquette is a lifelong Raleigh resident.

▪ “The Art of Departure” (Aldrich Books) is the eighth book of poetry by Raleigh resident Maureen Sherbondy. The collection examines the art of leaving by death or divorce and events in between. Sherbondy, a short story writer and poet, was the winner of the North Carolina Poetry Council’s 2013 Oscar Arnold Young Award.

Triangle-area authors: We want to hear about your new book. Send information to bookbeat@newsobserver.com. As space permits, we will mention self-published books by local authors that are for sale on commercial sites.

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