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Newbie, four-timer beef up Hillsboro writers' crowd

With the recent establishment of monthly readings and talks downtown, authors have been raising their profile in Hillsboro. Here are two hometown scribes whose books were published in the past year.

Anne Riley

Anne Riley doesn’t usually like self-help books. Either they’re too preachy or they grossly oversimplify complex problems.

So when Riley set out to write a book about her personal journey to happiness, she wanted to avoid self-help cliches.

The result — “Elusive Little Sucker: My Entirely Too Long and Totally Circuitous Search For Happiness” — is part self-help and part memoir. The lively narrative weaves together hard-earned life lessons with humorous and colorful personal anecdotes.

We follow Riley from her childhood in a large Catholic family outside the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Richmond, Wash., through her college years in the Midwest, to Oregon, where she starts a family.

The 142-page, self-published book has received positive reviews since it printed in February. It’s available in local bookstores and online.

Riley will sign copies at Jan’s Paperbacks in Aloha this weekend with two other local authors — poet Sheila Thiessen and author Cassandra Gunn. The signing will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. at the independent bookstore, 18095 S.W. Tualatin Valley Hwy.

“Elusive Little Sucker” is Riley’s first published book.

Robyn Parnell

Anyone who knows Hillsboro will recognize some of the names and places in Robyn Parnell’s latest book, “The Mighty Quinn.” Parnell fictionalized her hometown for the setting of the middle-grade novel published earlier this year, and sprinkled in familiar names like Noble Woods, Turner Creek and Gales Creek.

Though readers may recognize places, the story itself is fiction. It follows fifth-grader Quinn Andrews-Lee, an ordinary boy who does not have superpowers, is not a vampire, nor is he a werewolf.

The story — told through humorous narrative — touches on serious social issues such as bullying, self-esteem, and environmental responsibility. The book is also laced with line-drawing illustrations from wife-husband illustrating team Katie and Aaron DeYoe.

Parnell drew inspiration for the book from many places, including her own childhood memories, the lives of her children and their schoolmates, and a student from a fourth-grade creative-writing group that she mentored at a local elementary school.

This is the first book Parnell has written specifically for middle-grade readers. Her other published works include “My Closet Threw a Party,” a children’s picture book; “This Here and Now,” a collection of short fiction; and a short story included in the anthology, “Joy, Interrupted.”

Originally from the Bay Area, Parnell decided young that she wanted to live in Oregon after a family visit to the Northwest. She has lived in Hillsboro for more than 22 years.

“The Mighty Quinn” is available in paperback from Scarletta Press through local and online booksellers.




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