Pictured from left: Krys Batts, Cynthia Boone, Diane Burns, Dr. Kat Smith, Michele Wahlder, Dan Darrouzet. (Photo by Lauren Law)

Pictured from left: Krys Batts, Cynthia Boone, Diane Burns, Dr. Kat Smith, Michele Wahlder, Dan Darrouzet. (Photo by Lauren Law)

There are many authors among us here in Preston Hollow

What do a preschool teacher’s assistant, intimacy expert, retired corporate communications executive, and architectural engineer all have in common? They dared to take the concepts swimming in their heads, write them down, publish their work and thus became authors.

Krys Batts is the owner of a pet sitting service and a senior technical business analyst who has penned three novels, “Walls Fall Down,” “Not Flowers, but Love” and “What’s Done in the Dark.” She had become increasingly discontented with most of the female protagonists she found in books, so she set out to create the characters she yearned to encounter.

Daniel Darrouzet has wanted to write mysteries on and off for years, and he finally wrote a 300-page book of short stories titled, “Stories from the Tin Box: Untold Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” Darrouzet, an architectural engineer and adjunct professor in the Civil Engineering Department at UT Arlington, self-published his stories as an eBook. He’s an advocate of self-publishing because he says it’s a quick way to solicit feedback and it allows for corrections when needed.

Another mystery writer and online retail seller of law enforcement supplies, Mark Gessner, came up with his murder mystery idea over a period of months while geocaching with friends. His first and only book, “First to Find,” was self-published through lulu.com. Gessner says there used to be a stigma associated with self-publishing back in the ‘70s, but fast forward to the 21st century and “technology has made it possible for works that would be too much of a niche product but can now be seen in genuine print. Print on demand and eBook distribution means there’s little to no upfront cost.”

Preschool teaching assistant and author Cynthia Boone has been quite busy the past two years. In 2014 she self-published her first fiction novel, “Where Have You Been?” She writes romantic suspense stories, has published a total of five books and is working on her sixth one this summer. “A few readers have likened my writing style to authors Nicholas Sparks, Kristin Hannah and Sidney Sheldon,” Boone says. “Quite flattering but I would never compare myself to those masters. I am not trying to be the next anyone. I am my own unique flavor.”

Carla Kienast began writing short stories in grade school, then worked for her high school newspaper and made her living in corporate communications. One day she woke up inspired to write the storyline of her book, “Wake Up with Fleas,” an adult fiction/suspense novel — very different from the type of writing she was used to doing in her job. Kienast offers this advice to would-be writers: “Write because you love the story … if you don’t love the story, it will show in your writing and the book will suffer.”

Michele Wahlder is the author of “Alphatudes: The Alphabet of Gratitude,” an inspirational, non-fiction book that was conceived at a time when she wasn’t feeling grateful at all. Wahlder had been going through cancer treatment — she wasn’t sleeping and felt down. One night, the idea of gratitude filled her thoughts. She began using the structure of the alphabet, like she had done as a child. By thinking of things she was grateful for while going through the alphabet one letter at a time, she found a way to ease into sleep. UT Southwestern Medical Center gives a copy of her book to every newly diagnosed breast cancer patient and the book has been distributed to various hospitals, including Olivia Newton John’s cancer hospital in Sydney, Australia.

Dr. Kat Smith, author of nine books and an intimacy expert, also has used the ABCs in her latest 74-page book called, “ABCs of Intimacy.” Smith has served as president of local author groups such as The Writer’s Guild of Texas and The Writers Block. When she speaks, she encourages other authors to dump from their brain 20 things they wish to share in their book, and use those as the major points or chapters. Then, just write. “Allow writing to be a journey and to be fun, especially if you have a passion for it,” she says.

Diane Drake Burns, an administrative assistant and author, grew tired of wishing she was an author and just started writing. She began with screenplays and stories, but it was a non-fiction book, “Autism, Aspergers, ADD, ADHD: A Parent’s Roadmap to Understanding and Support,” that was published in 2005 by Future Horizons. She says, “Having a child with autism motivated me to write something for the parent who needs a gentle introduction to their child’s differences.” Ten years later, she self-published the novel, “Final Arrangements,” which is about a mother’s garden club growing some illegal plants in their silver closets.

All these books can be found on Amazon.com.


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