Freeman Library’s Local Author Spotlight

Twice a year, Freeman Branch Library is happy to host a local author spotlight in which we invite writers from the area to come in and promote their work, talk about their journey, and share their experiences. 

This gives them an opportunity to meet other authors and advertise their books, and it gives our patrons a chance to meet authors face-to-face and learn more about why they write and how they’ve been able to find success in an industry flooded with competition. 

 We recently had our Spring author spotlight, and these are the five wonderful authors that spoke at that event.

Ronald Williams

First up is Ronald Williams, who worked for NASA for over 30 years and retired in 2010. By the time of his retirement, he had written multiple short stories and had his first novel almost done but didn’t get around to finishing it until May 2023. Using Kindle direct publishing and hiring someone to make the cover, Ronald was able to self-publish his first novel, Trojan! 

His First Novel

Inspired by an incident in Revelations, Trojan is about a geologist that finds a meteorite in the New Mexico Desert that turns out to actually be an alien weapon. The book follows our protagonist who gets dragged into investigating the mystery around this discovery. He and an ensemble of other characters come together to help each other and the town. Enticed by this Sci-fi adventure? Check it out below! 

What's Next?

While he has no plans for a sequel, Ronald has started on his 2nd novel: a horror thriller about an assassin who retires but gets dragged back in for one final mission. His job? To kill 3 unassuming elderly women who all have a mysterious connection to the assassin’s past. 

If you’re wondering who inspired Ronald to write horror, he shared that Stephen King and Dean Koonts are some of his favorites, but he’s not a big fan of their longer novels. 


Eugenia Afanador

Eugenia Afanador is a licensed professional counselor in Texas who specializes in using therapy and mysticism to help people heal trauma and has been seeing patients for many years. 

Her Inspiration to Write

Her book, Marlene and Me, is an autobiography about her journey and her experiences of feeling past lives of her ancestors and connecting with them. Growing up Catholic in South America, she felt she couldn’t outwardly express these mystical memories, so she found an outlet through poetry. Using this outlet, Eugenia was able to find stability in writing and spiritualism. 

It was through these poems that she documented the memories she accessed through spiritualism. One of which was Marlene, a little girl who lived through terrible tragedies that Eugenia claims to have encountered.

As she got older, she wanted to use her unique experiences to help others. Though it was difficult, she immigrated to the United States and was able to attend professional schooling to become a counselor and trained in psychotherapy and hypnotherapy to help her patients.


Words of Wisdom

Some advice that Eugenia wanted to share is that one should approach life with humility in order to heal and she encourages people to discover their talents and to help children do the same. She also urged the importance of family in helping people succeed and expressed that found family can do just as well. The main importance is having community to fall back on and help you in times of need. You might even find that community at your local library! 

Terry Fischer

 A lifelong reader, Terry Fischer is originally from Nebraska and comes from a large family. Her father was a teacher, and while they moved all over the country, she still feels that Nebraska is her home.

Life & Repertoire

Terry writes short stories, mysteries, and recently a memoir. She started writing early in life as a way to connect with her relatives and close family. She, her siblings, and her parents would write short stories and share them as a way to bond. This would be the foundation for her journey to becoming a published writer.

When she was still an amateur, she went to a writer’s conference in which she submitted a short story to get critiqued by a panel comprised of an author, an editor, and a publisher. She got great feedback, and they encouraged her to write more, so she started writing more short stories over the next few years. 

After a while, Terry read a novel by an author she liked, but dissatisfied with it, she decided she could write a better book. It took her 8 years to finish that first novel during which time she attended conferences, took classes, and joined writer’s groups to better learn how to write. A popular piece of writing advice Terry had heard was that you need to write a million words before you really know the craft, and she felt that after writing so many short stories over the years, she figured she must have met that number.

Once she finished that first novel, Terry found a publisher to pick it up and has since continued that story with two sequels, the latest of which comes out this summer!

Her Novels 

Terry’s books are traditional mysteries (who-dun-its) that are character focused and puzzling. 

Her main series, the Rory Naysmith Mysteries, is about a hotshot detective from Omaha (an ode to Nebraska) who gets back into duty after suffering a heart attack. Deciding to work again in a small town as the only detective, our protagonist finds it difficult working in an unfamiliar town with a community that doesn’t respect him. Read her series if you want to see how this grouchy technophobe adjusts to life back in action.

Aside from her fiction, Terry has written a family travel memoir about travelling across Nebraska with her sisters and nieces visiting family and favorite places from their childhoods! She shared that while it took a lot of work, it was easier writing non-fiction since she didn’t have to make anything up.

Gone Before

Gone Astray

Teresa Trent

Teresa Trent is a historical mystery author who started writing in 2011 with cozy mysteries. Since then, she has written multiple series, started a podcast, and has been on panels in national conferences. 

Her first book, Pecan Bayou, was self-published and is now part of a 9-book series. She started another series, Piney Woods, after finding an agent and published 3 books with them. 

Most recently, she has started her historical mystery series published with Level Best Books. This series starts with the “Twist and Shout Murder”, followed by “If I Had a Hammer”, and then “Listen Do You Wanna Know a Secret” which just released in January of 2024. All the books in this series take place in the 1960s, and each title is a reference to a famous song from that year. 

Why the 60s? 

Well, Teresa looked at the market after deciding she wanted to write historical fiction and noticed a lot of books set in WWII. She decided to go with the 60s to distinguish herself and avoid the in-depth research of WWII that would necessitate writing a book in that era. With her cozy mysteries, she’d write the books before titling them, but with her recent books, she starts with the title and goes from there. 

The main character is Dot, a woman going through secretarial school, and she evolves as the books go on. The covers are done by the publishing company, and each has dots incorporated for the main character's namesake.  

The series, while not graphic, touches on women’s rights, civil rights, sexual harassment and social issues pertinent to the time that are just as important today. 

Her Inspiration 

Teresa loves Agatha Christie and the way her characters are always connected to something in her stories. In her latest book, she wanted every character to have a secret, from Dot’s mother to the mysterious musician that secretly records at the radio station Dot works at. Inspiration she took from real black musicians in the 60s. 

Her novels also have cameos of real-life historical figures like Lady Bird Johnson and Ray Charles, and her characters live through real events like the assassination of JFK. 

Where to Find More

Teresa has a podcast where she interviews other mystery writers called Books to the Ceiling in which she reads an excerpt from their books. Find it on her blog: 

She’s currently on contract to write three more books in this historical mystery series with the next book set to release in July and another series set to release in August. Until then, check out some books in the system we already have from Teresa!

The Twist and Shout Murder

Oh Holy Fright

James (Jim) Dennis

James Dennis, aka Jim, is a retired scientist who did research at a university for years and was published in many academic journals before starting to write fiction. He started a book that is as of yet unfinished, but he shared that he enjoys fiction writing after all those years of having to write everything meticulously correctly.

While he hasn’t finished that first book, James enjoys writing sci-fi and has successfully completed and self-published two other novels.

A Pair of Feel-Good Sci-Fi

His first book, The Need for a Little Dog, is about an embittered and unlikeable scientist whose whole genetic makeup changes after an interaction with a certain dog. Turning the werewolf trope on its head, this book is a little mix of paranormal, romance, and humor that wraps up into a lesson on life and who you want to be.

His second book, The Lost in Space Opera, is a humorous sci-fi adventure that came out in March 2024. Described as Galaxy Quest meets Lost in Space, this book revolves around a maintenance man that works on the moon, and through a mishap, he ends up lost in the middle of the galaxy and meets a plethora of aliens. His mistake has profound consequences as he gets involved in an interstellar war over the technology he mistakenly introduced into the galaxy.

Who Did Those Great Covers?

While he is self-published, James hired artists to do the covers from Reedsy and Upwork. Reedsy is a website that specializes in helping writers find publishers, editors, designers, and more while Upwork is a freelance website for a multitude of different services. Those are just two examples of the many different websites and services you can find to help you on your own writing journey.

While we don’t have all their books in our system, we hope to acquire their work soon. If you’re eagerly anticipating any of them, make sure to use our Author Alert, opens a new window system to be notified of when we have them in the catalog. If you think we need more books by a particular author, please use our Suggest a Book, opens a new window form to let us know!

If you're an author yourself and want to get added to our catalog, please fill out the Author Submission Form, opens a new window