Friday, August 2, 2013
Dr. Debi Toporoff has an unusual story about why she decided to become a writer.
“I was trying to tame a bobcat in my backyard,” said the Beech Island resident, “but I ended up taming a possum. We named him Roscoe, and then we started joking around and saying that maybe we ought to turn the experience into a children’s book.”
After thinking about it some more, Toporoff decided that writing about Roscoe’s imaginary experiences was a good idea, and she ended up producing a series of children’s books, including “Roscoe Goes To The Gym,” “Roscoe Meets Gramps The Catfish” and “Roscoe Meets Nurse Quacker.” She also has written books for teenagers and adults.
Toporoff had a large and colorful display of her books at the Local Author Gathering at the Nancy Carson Library on Edgefield Road on July 23.
“Roscoe is 3 or 4 years old now, and he still comes around,” Toporoff said. “He’s kind of cute. Did you know that after possums eat, they wash themselves like raccoons?” Among the other authors who participated in the Gathering were historian Wayne Anthony O’Bryant, Aiken Standard columnist Marti Healy and Dr. Maggie Thurmond Dorsey, who has written books about a boy whose father is a nurse.
The Gathering was designed “to give the public a chance to come and meet some of the local authors and find out about the different types of books they have written,” said Barbara Walker, who is the library manager for the Nancy Carson facility.
“We had been doing an event for authors every year, but last year we decided to take a little break. It was getting to be too big because we had almost 40 authors, and that was too many for this room (where the Gathering and previous events were held). This year, the theme of our adult summer reading program is ‘Groundbreaking Reads,’ so we decided to do an author gathering. We have a little bit of everything here – children’s books, adult fiction and history.”
Twenty-two authors were invited to Gathering, and the library provided each of them a table on which they could display their books and a gift basket filled with a book light, candy and other items.
“I love it,” Toporoff said.
Carol Harris of North Augusta came to the library with her nieces Cali Settles, 12, and Joyner Settles, 10, to check out some DVDs they wanted to watch. They also attended the Author Gathering.
“We walked around and we talked to the different authors,” Harris said. “I know Mr. Wayne O’Bryant personally; he is a member of my church. I like books and I wanted some information about how to publish a book.”
Also attending the Gathering was Gabrielle Merritt, 16. The Clearwater resident writes stories and poetry. She posts some of her work online on Wattpad (www.wattpad.com).
“I figured it would be good to meet other authors and poets and try to learn a few things,” she said. “I thought that if I got up close and personal with some of the authors here, some of their success might rub off on me.”