Local authors impact the high plains

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For years, local writers have graced the high plains with their work, which gives insight to the Texas Panhandle and what it’s like to live in the area.

“Its unbelievable how many people come through doing research on the area,” Sharon Stevens, co-owner of the Buffalo Bookstore, said. “When somebody comes to Canyon and they want to know more about the area, they will come in to look for a book on whatever it is they are interested in.”

Stevens said that by purchasing books written by local authors, customers can find what they are looking for and spread the culture of the Texas Panhandle.

“Local authors in our area provide information through their stories on the area,” Stevens said. “It’s about spreading our culture as far as we can get it.”

One of those authors is Jodi Thomas, who has written countless novels that take place in small towns similar to those in Texas.

“I write a contemporary series called ‘Harmony’ that’s about a small town in Texas and you will see the flavor of Canyon in every book,” Thomas said. “I think writers incorporate what they know and the feeling in Canyon is so unique and I like to pass that along.”

Author and speaker Timothy Lewis believes that local authors in the community are important because they give people the stories of Texas that they want.

“Texas local authors are important because people are interested in Texas,” Lewis said. “Authors ultimately are important because they expose people to the Texas people are interested in. Texas is a big seller in the market. Texas in the title means money in the bank.”

Thomas has seen the benefit of writing novels about small Texas towns as she has hit the New York Times and USA Today’s best-seller list multiple times.

“I’ve had several books that have hit the New York Times Best Seller list,” Thomas said. “The last book I wrote hit the Print list top 15, and when you hit the top 15, your books get delivered not only to bookstores but small venues such as grocery stores and truck stops.”

By being on the best sellers list, Thomas was able to not only grab the attention of readers across America, but spread interest in small towns in Texas as well.

“I think a lot of people try your books when you are on the New York Times,” Thomas said. “So I get a lot of new readers who then become interested in small towns in Texas through reading.”

With many local authors, comes an organization that brings them all together.

“We have such a treasure since we are home to the to the Panhandle Professional Writers,” Stevens said. “It is the second oldest writers group in the United States. Every other month we have a meeting and it is to promote and support the local authors.”

Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, local authors allow visitors a look into the culture of Texas.

“I think a lot of people stop in the Buffalo Bookstore or other stores and find the books of local writers, because when people visit a place, they like to see the flavor of it,” Thomas said. “I’ve made a lot of fans who pick up a book from a book store that features me as local author and they take that book to Maine or Washington or wherever they are from.”