“It’s bittersweet,” said Eduardo Santiago, founder of the Idyllwild Authors Series, now in its fifth season. “This is likely to be the last year.”
Santiago launched the series five years ago shortly after buying a cabin in Idyllwild. “It was my way of giving back,” said Santiago.
“The main reason it’s bittersweet to stop at five years is that the series is a hit. Since year two we have averaged 50-plus attendees. People have come from as far as San Diego and also from Anza, Temecula and Palm Springs.” But as Santiago’s teaching responsibilities have increased, he said he now has less time to administer the event.
Santiago said he initially created the series as a one-year project, designed for a specific purpose — to help preserve the town’s independent bookstore (B’s Mountain of Books, then INK Gathering.) With no outside funding and no desire to obtain profit for himself, Santiago brought mainstream Los Angeles authors to Idyllwild to discuss their books and careers. Santiago, himself a successful published author, served as host, interviewer and series facilitator. Featured authors’ books were carried in the bookstore and sold at the Sunday event. The series quickly became successful. One year morphed into two, and now five.
Santiago noted the series also has gained a reputation within the Los Angeles writers’ community. “It’s become a word-of-mouth favorite among [LA] authors because of Idyllwild’s natural beauty and friendly, intelligent audiences.”
Instead of eight or more authors featured over two or more months, this season is limited to five authors within a one-month period. The series runs from Sunday, May 31, through Sunday, June 28, on the deck of Cafe Aroma. Featured authors include Cherry Vanilla, Toni Ann Johnson, local author Ron Singerton, Deanne Stillman and returning Los Angeles author Tod Goldberg. The Town Crier will preview each author prior to their appearance.
“This is the first time we’ve had a rock-and-roll memoir,” said Santiago of series kickoff author Vanilla. “She was a rock-and-roll groupie, mainly with David Bowie, and then a very successful publicist. Her memoir, ‘Lick Me,’ was a rags-to-bed story, a very provocative read.”
Santiago said he’s now teaching more than he’s writing (at Mt. San Jacinto Junior College’s Menifee campus and coaching privately). “I’m loving my teaching more than I could ever tell you. I’ve lived my dream of becoming a published author and now I want to help others.”
For more on Santiago and the Authors Series, visit www.eduardosantiago.com and www.idyllwildauthors.com.