Aug30SunAugust 30, 2009
By Arun Sivasankaran South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Joyce Sweeney — novelist, poet and a mentor for many aspiring writers — has lived in Coral Springs for more than 20 years. Her books are widely read, but she is largely unrecognized in her hometown.
Coral Springs recently decided to honor published authors living in the city, a gesture many find encouraging.
"I don't think anything like this has ever happened before," said Sweeney, who recently finished The Guardian, her latest novel for young adults. "This is really very touching. Writers don't make a lot of money, they don't become famous. It is nice to know what you have contributed is valued."
The idea of recognizing writers grew from a meeting William Brower, author of The Chronicles of the Dragon's Bane, had with Mayor Scott Brook.
"I met the mayor in March to discuss a program to help motivate students in the community to read more," Brower said. "He wanted to know what I felt about a program to honor authors living in the city. I did research and found out that Coral Springs is the first city in the nation to do something like this."
Brower hopes the initiative will encourage more teens to be interested in reading and writing.
"This will hopefully inspire them," he said. "For a writer, a book is the ultimate labor of love. Writers pour their hearts into their works. It matters a lot to have the support of your hometown."
Every author hopes to get public exposure, said Andrea MacVicar, author of Tales of Zoftic, a book about the adventures of a black Labrador that is written fully in rhyme. "My book is for charity. The more people know about me and my book, the more they will be inspired to buy the book. I am glad the city thought of such a thing."
Publishers don't promote books as much as they used to, said Joe Moore, who has four published books to his credit.
"It's a changing industry. A writer has to do much more than just writing a book. Public exposure surely helps in promotion of a work," he said.
Sweeney, MacVicar, Brower, Moore, John Dennison, Jim Flood, Dan Zachofsky, Stephanie Krulik and Helen Marie Daly were among the writers recently recognized by the City Commission.
Arun Sivasankaran can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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