Authors Visit MSJ To Present New Books

By: Staff Writer Andrew Kan

On May 6, 2016, Authors Kara Thomas and Jeff Zentner presented their new books during fifth period in C-120. The library staff, working with Hicklebee’s Bookstore in San Jose, hosted this event, and several classes along with students with signed permission slips by their fifth period teacher attended.

Thomas’s book, called The Darkest Corners, is a murder mystery thriller aimed at young adults. The book revolves around two girls, Tessa and Callie, who must come to terms with their tragic past while dealing with the present. The plot is based off an idea from one of Thomas’s dreams and the West Memphis Three case.

Zentner’s book is called The Serpent King, and its characters and setting are based off his hometown, Nashville, Tennessee. Zentner wrote his book on his iPhone during bus commutes to and from his day job as a prosecutor. In it, high school friends Dill, fashion blogger Lydia, and comic geek Travis endeavor to make their own path for themselves while also trying to stay together. Its title is inspired by a rural Tennessee church practice in which people would attempt to pick up snakes unharmed as a show of faith. While The Darkest Corners is about holding on even when there are dark circumstances, The Serpent King is about coming of age. Both books will not be made into series.

The presentation began with a brief introduction of the authors. Afterwards, Thomas and Zentner described their background and inspirations for their books. Zentner talked about how he helped in a Tennessee rock band summer camp, decided he was too old to sell music, and wrote a book instead. Thomas described her writing-heavy childhood, and obsession with murder cases. After the authors finished talking about themselves and their books, there was a Q&A session, where students were free to ask any question they wanted. One person asked how the authors dealt with negative feedback, while another inquired how Zentner had received the tattoos on his arms.

After the Q&A session ended, students were able to go on stage to buy books, get their books autographed, and take pictures with the authors. Both books were hardcover, and priced at $18. Books, several of which are autographed, will also be available in the library for those who were unable to purchase a copy. The event finished before the end of fifth period, and students were able to easily make it to their sixth period class.

It is unknown if these authors will return to MSJ. Zentner said, “We were both kind of nervous. This [is a] big room, you never know how you are going to be received, and you guys were just really, really awesome. You made us feel super welcome. I’d come back here in a minute.” Thomas said, “You guys were a great, welcoming audience.”

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