If you were shopping for a book Saturday at Maria’s Bookshop in Durango, the very person who helped you find it may have written it.
The American Booksellers Association’s first nationwide Indies First brought out local authors to suggest their favorite titles.
Durango native Scott Graham’s Extreme Kids won the National Outdoor Book Award, and he has written several nonfiction books. Recently, he began a series of archaeology-based modern mystery novels, the first called Canyon Sacrifice.
“To have the outdoors as our backdrop here makes that all the more easier for me to kind of feel the juice and go with it,” he said. “It’s so fun.”
Graham was joined by longtime resident and former Miller Middle School teacher Will Hobbs, author of more than 20 titles. His adventurous survival stories take young readers on wild trips through mountains and deserts, all of them based on actual events and places he has encountered.
He said Maria’s has been an epicenter of his career.
“For all of these books that have come out since 1988, Maria’s has been home,” he said.
Hobbs said about half are set in the Four Corners, but he carries an affinity for Alaska and the Canadian arctic, as seen in his new book, Never Say Die.
Like Graham, Hobbs looks to his surroundings for inspiration.
“Nonfiction fuels my fiction,” he said.
Chuck Greaves, a former trial lawyer from Los Angeles who moved to the Southwest to write, also finds a muse in his travels through the local landscape.
Following his bliss writing big city legal thrillers, while hiking with friends in the desert, he stumbled on to two human skulls that sparked obsessive research and eventually a book wrapped in the Southwest.
“Fast forward to 2010, and I had two completed novels and no agent or publisher, so I entered both in a writing contest,” he said.
His books Hush Money and Hard Twisted took first and second place in the Southwest Writers International Competition. Then came the agents and publishers.
Maria’s Community Relations Manager Roger Cottingham called the event a special opportunity.
“What a unique opportunity for a reader to come in, and say ‘What do you read? What do you like?’” he said. “Who gets that experience?”