What new idea are the Friends of the Millis Library brewing? Find out here.

MILLIS — Fundraising and pandemics aren’t exactly two things that make a natural partnership, so many local organizations have had to find new ways to bring people together virtually to support their missions.

The Friends of Millis Public Library have taken that responsibility seriously with their upcoming fundraiser they’re calling “A Novel Occasion.”

The group, led by President Sandra Scott, brings together 10 well-known authors – some of whose names have been named to the New York Times bestseller list – for a live virtual meet-and-greet to talk about their latest works and the writing process on Saturday, May 1 from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The cover of Jane Healey's book, one of the titles featured in the upcoming event

Participants will have the opportunity to hear the authors in groups and interact with them in small groups. Each person will be able to choose two of their favorite authors to meet virtually as part of the program.

“You’re in two intimate ‘rooms’ with the author. Each room will have a moderator. But it will be like an intimate tabletop experience so you can actually chat with the author,” Scott explained.

Writers include Alisha Rai (First Comes Like), Asha Lemmie (Fifty Words For Rain), Erica Ferencik (Into the Jungle), Nadia Hashimi (Sparks Like Stars), Jane Healey (The Secret Stealers), Jane L. Rosen (Eliza Starts A Rumor), Joshilyn Jackson (Mother May I), Kerri Maher (The Girl In White Gloves), BA Shapiro (The Collector’s Apprentice) and Sheila Williams (The Secret Women).

“Have you ever wanted to ask the author a question, or discuss the ending of the book, or ask why the author did this? Scott postulated. “Well, now is the time to do it.”

She’s almost giddy about having a close chat with one of her favorites, Alisha Rai, she said.

Jane L._Rosen is the author of

“Sometimes you get starstruck when you’re talking to an author,” laughed Scott, who is an accomplished author herself with several children’s titles under her belt.

Gathering the authors took a lot of work, but Scott said all the publishers and all the authors have been “so amazing!” One of the authors even called her recently to express how delighted she was to participate.

The event, which will ultimately support Friends’ efforts to support the Millis Public Library, was originally planned as an in-person rally last spring.

The cover of Jane L. Rosen's book, one of the titles featured in the upcoming event

“We were ready to start selling tickets on closing day,” she said.

It was a big disappointment at the time, but all the clouds have silver linings. Since the event has not been moved to an online live event, its author circle has grown from six to 10.

“Most are either New York Times bestsellers or established authors,” Scott said. “We have a variety of writers… historical fiction, romance and fiction.”

Entrants will each receive a goodie bag delivered to their doorstep that will include their favorite author’s featured book, along with other “fun surprises”. Prizes will also be distributed throughout the event.

Scott said the Friends are also working on setting up a virtual photo booth for attendees to take their photos with the authors.

Although the registration deadline is April 28th, the Friends are eager to register as soon as possible in order to have time to have the loot delivered to each participant, and also so that each participant has the chance to read the book by the author of their choice if they haven’t already.

Sheila Williams is the author of

“We’re going to start sending things out next week,” Scott said.

Sponsors of the event include Middlesex Savings Bank (lead sponsor) and contributing sponsors FlatIron Books, C. Ray’s Thought Pops, KMK Cleaners, Mia Sosa and Camille Pagan.

The cover of Sheila Williams' book, one of the titles featured in the upcoming event

Tickets are $50 and include access to hear top-selling authors, your top author’s choice book, two intimate author panels, and the chance to win prizes throughout. Go to www.anoveloccasion.com for more details and to register.

Barbara Shapiro is the author of
The cover of Barbara Shapiro's book, one of the titles featured in the upcoming event

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Irene B. Bowles