Local Writers Share Passion, Advice at FRCC Panel

First introduced was Trevor Hughes, a national correspondent at USA Today.  

Early adventures to the bookstore with dad were what inspired a love for knowledge within him, said Hughes. The stories of “The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Tom Swift” he said created in him an affinity for books and a desire to “know what’s new” and “share that information.” 

The second writer to be introduced was Tara Dairman, a local author of middle-grade novels and children’s books. 

Explaining her own journey, Dairman said she knew she “wanted to be a writer and studied creative writing in college,” but when it came time to write, struggled “getting past chapter 3.” But contemplating elements of the job herself was working in New York at the time is what led her to the idea which became her first published work, “All Four Stars.” 

Todd Mitchell, an author of middle-grade and young adult fiction and professor at Colorado State University, was last to be introduced.  

Mitchell explained that he’s an avid creator, and that part of his passion for writing comes not only from the girlfriend he wanted to impress while at university, but from a love of stories that he developed in elementary school read-alouds and a desire to understand the creative process.  

The event was primarily made up of questions asked by its 30–40 attendees, on anything from character development and world building to pre-writing and writer’s block.  

Advice from the panelists ranged from Hughes’ advice that “it’s all about characters” to Mitchell’s acknowledgement that “doubt is a constant companion in creating things.” 

Hughes, Dairman, and Mitchell made up only one iteration of the event’s panel, however.  

According to Hap Fry, an FRCC English instructor and organizer of the event, the school has hosted a similar panel the past two years, beginning in 2021.  

The motivation for such events comes from a desire to give students an outlet to apply their learning, said Kathleen Hefley, a member of FRCC’s Writing and Literature Faculty and an additional organizer of Thursday’s event.  

By bringing in experts, Hefley explained that she hopes students take away something that compliments the curriculums in their writing courses.  

This sense of the value of writing was shared across the event, being that, as articulated by Mitchell during a moment on the panel, “stories shape the ways we think and act — we understand ourselves and our world through stories.”  

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