Authors’ visit draws crowd to Market Square

13 years ago

ImageHoulton Pioneer Times Photo/Elna Seabrooks
HI THERE — Author Wendy Ulmer and her puppet Harry, interact with Addison Gravel, 3, during the recent event when 11 authors signed books in Market Square. Behind Addison is her sister Whitney, 7, and her mother Lisa Gravel.

By Elna Seabrooks
Staff Writer
    HOULTON — Eleven authors from as far away as New Mexico, Michigan and New York along with staff of three regional magazines visited Houlton recently to autograph books and meet fans in Market Square.
    About 100 residents and visitors dropped by the Aug. 21 afternoon event according to Lynn York, owner of York’s Bookstore and organizer of the event. He said his biggest selling author, retired game warden Randall Probert, has sold more than 4,000 historical novels at York’s alone and he has a good following.
    Probert said being there was “like old-home week.” Flashing a reflective smile of the good old days, Probert said several people asked if he remembered them and the time he almost caught them for night hunting or catching too many fish.
    Like other writers at the event, he autographed books and exchanged stories. Although Probert has moved to Bethel, he said he still loves northern Maine and “it would only take a gentle nudge to move back.” York said, as always, Probert has a real fan base and did well.
    Some area residents came with their children due to the appeal of Wendy Ulmer’s book — “A Isn’t for Fox: An Instant Alphabet.” Izzy, Ulmer’s iguana hand puppet, engaged children and parents as did Harry, another puppet she says is the star of her “Zero, Zilch, Nada Counting to None” book. Ulmer added that she signed several books and loves coming to Houlton once a year for Potato Feast Days which was going on that weekend.
ImageHoulton Pioneer Times Photo/Elna Seabrooks
HOMETOWN SUCCESS STORY — Jacob Chabot, now living in Queens, NY, signed his X-babies comics for Jane Harburger who purchased several copies to take home to Bangor for her grandchildren.

    Another hometown success story is artist and author Jacob Chabot whose popular X-babies and Skullboy characters for Marvel comics brought out family and fans.
    Jane Harburger purchased several copies of the X-babies comic books which the Linneus native signed for her. “I am going to take them home to Bangor for my grandchildren and some other children,” said Harburger. She commented that it was “terrific to see so many national authors in Houlton.”
    Jean Chabot, of Linneus, stopped by her son’s table and said she is “proud of all his accomplishments.” Jacob said his characters are like the X-Men but are stripped of their past histories. He lives in Queens, NY.
    Tim Caverly, was excited to reveal that Star Bright Children’s Theatre in Houlton is adapting his book, “An Allagash Haunting,” for a stage play to be mounted next year in Houlton. His book, he said, “is going great guns.”
    History and a look back in time was the theme for many of the authors. Sandra Newman, originally from Island Falls and now New Mexico, has been on a book tour throughout Maine and will eventually wend her way west to Palm Desert, Calif. for more signings. She said there are 104 photos and 25 different stories including her own that date back to the early settlers in the 1900s. At York’s, she found a willing audience for her “Life and Times on Pleasant Pond.”  
    Valerie M. Josephson chronicled her great grandfather’s Civil War exploits in “Who Would Not be a Soldier! The Boys of the 20th Maine.” Sitting with her was short-story writer Gordon Hammond from Westfield who said he enjoyed meeting people and hearing stories about the area as visitors remembered and talked to Josephson.
    York said pulling the event together took more than he thought it would, even with his experience in larger-scale productions. He said he checked the weather report starting at 3 a.m. and again at regular intervals even though he had a 15-foot by 20-foot tent set up for cover in case of rain. York reflected that he could have started earlier since the Farmers’ Market in the center mall draws a good crowd. As far as the writers go, the event was a success and York said he has to order more books by several of the writers.
    When asked about next time, he threw his head back and laughed. Anyone who knows York, knows he will have something else up his sleeve in the future.