Local writers come together to write anthology, start publishing company
By Haylie Smart, Contributing Writer
In April 2017 six writers, who all shared a common interest in storytelling, met one Wednesday evening at Northeast Technology Center in Claremore.
A creative writing workshop, led by English teacher Mark Cook of Pryor, brought them together once a week to work through the process of crafting a short story.
“I knew from the first in-class assignment this class was special,” Cook said. “By week two, I was no longer the teacher.”
All the writers had their own reasons for wanting to partake in the workshop, but the most interesting reason belongs to retired minister John Ketcher of Pryor.
“I started researching my Cherokee heritage on my dad’s side,” Ketcher said. “I realized I wanted to write about my grandfather’s people … the hardships, the daily struggles and fear of being driven to extinction.”
Ketcher was fascinated by the stories of the Cherokees, but knew he didn’t know how to tell their story. It was through the encouragement and support of the group he was able to improve his writing to the point of being able to write short stories on any subject.
“Without their help, I’d still be researching and thinking about writing a book.”
After the last class meeting, Cook proposed the idea of continuing to meet to help each other grow as writers.
“I need the structure and accountability the group provides,” Julie Jones of Claremore said. “It makes me more productive and keeps me goal-oriented.”
When deciding on a new meeting schedule, they were already used to meeting on Wednesdays. Settling on the last one of each month, the group assumed the name Last Wednesday Writers.
“I’m not sure when it happened, but after a few months we decided to write a [fiction]anthology,” Cook said.
Deciding on two short stories a person, the group began the lengthy process of editing, formatting, designing a book cover and publishing through CreateSpace.
“Some of our stories in the anthology were born from the workshop,” Haylie Smart of Claremore said. “And others were already written, but waiting for an opportunity to be published. Both of my featured stories came from the workshop.”
All six writers come from diverse backgrounds and each have their own specific set of skills, granting their group a sundry of writing styles and talent.
“The varied perspectives in our group has enabled us to produce the best of our individual writings,” Aarika Copeland of Claremore said.
The specific talent of business belongs to published author and musician Paul Buckner of Claremore. When he came forward with the idea of starting a publishing company together, all members jumped on board and did their part.
“We had a vision,” Buckner said. “[We] outlined a course of action and worked together to make it happen. An incredible working relationship of infinite possibilities with members from all professions, and a ton of wisdom, told me that nothing would be impossible.”
Their company, Spacebar Publishing, LLC, recently published its first title: their anthology. Stories From Last Wednesday hit shelves, and Amazon, on May 1.
“Spacebar Publishing has many things in the works for this fall,” Cook said. “Including our second book of short stories.”
Last Wednesday Writers will hold a book signing for their anthology Saturday, August 18, at Boarding House Books in downtown Claremore from 1p – 3p. Stories From Last Wednesday can be found on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle edition.
“It’s hard enough to get two people to work together successfully,” Jones said. “For the six of us to have come together this way, and to work together so well, is a blessing.”