NY Times best-selling author to host book signing in Chickasha

By Conrad Easterday
Washita Valley Weekly Editor

It all started with a dark and foreboding storage unit tucked away in a corner of Norman.
The unit was crowded with decades of books, what the publishing industry refers to as “author copies.” Publishers provide the extra tomes for book signings and the like — or whatever other purpose the author might devise. The multitude of novels, most about 400 pages long, too many for the author’s down-sized home, and the storage unit was an unnecessary expense. Something had to be done.
Author Sharon Sala and Chickasha bookstore owner Kaaren Brand encountered each other on Facebook and conspired together to put an end to the storage unit.
“I had all these boxes of author copies,” the award-winning writer explained. “I thought, ‘somebody needs to be reading these books rather than them just sitting there,’ so I offered them to new and used bookstores on Facebook. Kaaren immediately said she wanted them.”
An afternoon and two truckloads later, the contents of the Norman storage unit was evacuated to Chickasha, and a friendship was born that led to plans for a book signing at Brand’s store.
Brand owns the Bookstore on the Corner at 401 W. Chickasha Ave., where she has erected a “Sala Wall” in tribute to the New York Times best-selling author and in preparation for the March 16 book signing. Sala no longer travels as much as she did when her publisher was flying her to Italy and New York City to meet fans. That makes a book signing a rare opportunity for followers of the prolific author, who has had 144 books published in 33 years. She has written in seven genres but is most known for her romance/suspense novels.
“That means it’s a mystery with some romance in it,” she said.
Local residents can bring their copies of Sala’s books to the signing or they can purchase new copies off the wall for the event, which is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 16.
Sala’s latest book from her longtime publisher Sourcebooks is “Heart Beat,” a romance-suspense novel set in the fictional town of Jubilee, Ky., and part of a new series that should be attractive to fans of her most famous books, the Blessings, Ga., series.
The fourth book in the Jubilee series will be on shelves in July. The fifth installment will arrive next year. Each novel in the series features a protagonist from the Pope family, who with four other families founded the town in Kentucky’s Cumberland Mountains.
“The first book is about human trafficking,” Sala said. “Another is about attempted murder and they’re always about solving the mystery and following the romances with one of the Pope family members.”
Beginning as a trading post in the 1830s, Jubilee has been kept purposely small by her founding families. In modern times, the community has evolved into a town catering to tourists, like Silver Dollar City in the Branson, Mo., area.
Along with the new series, Sala will bring copies of her newest children’s book, the second of its kind aimed at children ages 2-8 years and intended as story that parents will read to their kids.

Readers who are unfamiliar with Sala’s work might want to start with one of the 14 books in the Blessings, Ga., series, the longest and most successful of her career.
“(The Blessings series) is the most popular thing I’ve ever written, and I know why,” she explained. “It’s the kind of place, once you’ve read about it, you want to live there. The stories from Blessings are feel-good, warm.”
Like Jubilee, Blessings is a fictional town, one Sala is unlikely to revisit despite the clamoring of fans. After more than a dozen books, she’s written all she can with plots ranging from a veteran at odds with the world, to a hero looking for her birth mother.
The subject matter always includes a mystery to solve and action.
“I like action-adventure,” Sala said. “Then I have to create characters that I really, really like. They can’t be like those characters that were published when I was just getting started — the girl sitting in the dark who hears a scary noise upstairs and decides she should investigate, the kind we used to call ‘too stupid to live.’ I don’t do helpless females at all.”
Sala enjoys interacting with her huge fanbase online. They often tell her how her stories have helped them through hard times. For that, she is grateful .
The Bookstore on the Corner has hosted signings in the past, Brand said, but never for an author with Sala’s name-recognition and literary credentials. She considers herself fortunate for responding to Sala’s offer on Facebook.
“The bookstore’s been here over 25 years,” Brand said. “I’ve had it for the last five, and we’re so excited to have Sharon coming here.”