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Plots going on, in Manzanita

Published on May 15, 2018 1:33PM

Rene Denfield

Rene Denfield

Willy Vlautin

Willy Vlautin

Novelist Rene Denfeld knows how to keep readers turning the page, and she will share her secrets in a Manzanita writing workshop this Saturday, May 19.

In “Writing an Exciting Plot,” Denfield will show how to craft the kind of fast-moving, propulsive storyline that turns any novel into a page turner.

It’s an area Denfield knows well. Her latest novel “The Childfinder” won praise from the acclaimed Library Journal as “a glittering gem, part mystery, part fairy tale, all white knuckle, edge of your seat thriller.”

The novel tells the story of Naomi, a private investigator dubbed “the Child Finder,” as she searches Oregon’s Skookum National Forest for an eight-year-old girl who disappeared three years prior. Naomi’s methodical search takes her deep into the icy, mysterious forest in the Pacific Northwest, and into her own fragmented past.

Denfeld’s writing is inspired by her work with sex trafficking victims and innocents in prison. She served as chief investigator at a public defender’s office and has worked hundreds of cases. In addition to her advocacy work, she has been a foster adoptive parent for 20 years.

Denfield’s workshop will run from 1 to 3:30 pm at the Hoffman Center for the Arts in Manzanita. Registration, $50, is available online at http://hoffmanarts.org.

That evening, Denfeld will read from “The Childfinder” live on stage, joined by fellow award-winning author Willy Vlautin who will read from his latest novel, “Don’t Skip Out on Me.”

Vlautin’s fifth novel is an understated yet powerful exploration of identity and loneliness, told through a young man’s search for belonging. Horace Hopper, half-Paiute and half-Irish, abandoned by his parents, dreams of proving his worth as a championship boxer.

Born and raised in Reno, Nevada, Vlautin immersed himself in music from and early age and was inspired to start writing by a Paul Kelly song, based on Raymond Carver’s “Too Much Water So Close to Home.”

The readings will begin at 6:30 pm at the Hoffman Center for the Arts, 594 Laneda Avenue, and will be followed by a Q&A. Admission for the evening is $7.

For more information, go to hoffmanarts.org or email Kathie Hightower at kathiejhightower@gmail.com.

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