My latest book tour took me to Atlanta for the 17th annual Decatur Book Festival. Co-sponsored by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Emory University, it was held at First Baptist Church of Decatur. More than 2,000 people attended the weekend event, including numerous panels indoors, and tents out on the lawn featuring various publishers and book stores.
Book Tour Stop #1: True Crime Panel
On Saturday afternoon, I was on a true crime panel with some wonderful writers. The moderator was AJC investigative reporter Chris Joyner, author of The Three Death Sentences of Clarence Henderson, a compelling book I intend to read. Another panel member was Kathryn Miles, author of Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders, which I have read and praised in a previous blog titled “The Writer as Sleuth.”
Our session drew about 50 people to the church’s sanctuary. Each of us spoke about the challenges and rewards of the true crime genre.
Book Tour Stop #2: Speaking Session
Then, it was back to Alabama for me. While in Montgomery this trip, I had the honor of sitting next to Joe Levin, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center and a hero of mine, at Kol Nidre services at Beth Or Synagogue.
I was invited to speak about Drifting into Darkness at a lunchtime session at Troy University, whose main campus is about an hour outside Montgomery. Previously, I had donated my papers associated with the book to the Troy University archives, making them available to area researchers.
Professor Christopher Shaffer, Dean of Library Services, was kind enough to invite me back to speak, which I was pleased to do. At noon, we had a nice crowd of 37 attendees, mostly students, who listened attentively and asked a number of excellent questions about Drifting into Darkness and the larger issue of true crime writing, podcasts, and streaming.
After the session, I had lunch in the faculty dining room with Chris and history Professor Dan Puckett, whose specialty is Holocaust studies and Southern Jewish History.