Tucson authors head north to the Payson Book Festival

By Marie Fasano

Tucson authors H. Alan Day, Barbara Marriott and Cricket Rohman are on their way to the cool pine mountains of Payson to showcase their writings at the Payson Book Festival on Saturday, July 21.

The trio appears during the Arizona Professional Writers, Rim Country Chapter’s fourth festival, which showcases more than 80 Arizona authors from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino.

This family-friendly event encourages book lovers to enjoy presentations highlighting popular authors with entertainment, food and door prizes. Parents will appreciate all-day storytime for kids by First Things First, Read On, Story Monster and Cat in the Hat.

Day tells the story of “Chico, the horse who raised me,” in his book, Cowboy Up: Life Lessons from the Lazy B. After graduating from the University of Arizona, he went back to his roots and became the manager of the Lazy B, where he subsequently ranched for more than 40 years. Day and his sister, Sandra Day O’Connor, co-authored the New York Times bestselling memoir, Lazy B. In 1880, the Days’ grandfather homesteaded the property. They share stories of growing up as part of the third generation on the 200,000-acre Lazy B cattle ranch straddling the high deserts of southern Arizona and New Mexico.

“Growing up, I had a 200,000-acre ranch playground,” Day says.

During his career, Day received numerous awards for his dedicated stewardship of the land and later, in North Dakota, his ranch became the first government-sponsored sanctuary for unadoptable wild horses. He wrote about the sanctuary in his latest book, with Lynn Weise Sneyd, The Horse Lover, A Cowboy’s Quest to Save the Wild Mustangs.

O’Connor, in her foreword states, “This book tells the story of the Mustang Meadows project in a way that enables the reader to see and feel the excitement and to glimpse what was and what might have been for these splendid animals.”

When Marriott left New Jersey for Tucson, she decided to find out all she could about Arizona. Now, after 13 books, she has explored the history of the old Southwest. In Paint ‘N Spurs, she hears the voices of five men who, in 1965, changed the Western art scene and the way the Old West was perceived. This biography covers the founders of the Cowboy Artists of America.

In Our Own Words relates the story of the women whose husbands went to work far away, leaving them to fight Indians, take care of the home and farm, and sometimes bury their children.

“I took the interviews from the WPA Federal Writers project of 1935 and put them in the book. In the 141 interviews that I analyzed, not one of them hinted at complaining.”

Marriott earned her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in cultural anthropology and this gave her the needed resources to get to the core of her subject.

Marriott’s Legendary Locals of Marana, Oro Valley and Catalina explores the corridor running west to east along the northern boundary of Tucson that is brimming with legendary characters. Here, she discovers the Western spirit that shaped the state and the country and the actors Lee Marvin, Tom Mix and D.C. Warren, all of whom left their mark there.

The last local author, writing romantic suspense, Rohman lives part time in Tucson and the Colorado Rockies. In Hit the Road Jake, a Lindsey Lark series book, Rohman tells the story of Jake and Lindsey, a newly married couple traveling from Tucson to Estes Park, Colorado, in their RV. Jake solves embarrassing mysteries that schools wished to keep under wraps, and Lindsey, being the “cover” for their presence, would conduct workshops for teachers—until solving mysteries becomes personal.

Rohman relates in her blog, “Agatha Christie once said, ‘The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.’ I can relate to that, though my best plans and ideas come to me when walking, sweating on the treadmill at the gym.”

Rohman, a former teacher and assistant professor at the University of Arizona, College of Education, has not forgotten her love of teaching. She retains her teacher’s hat in the “Teachers Corner” on her website, where she has lesson plans for parents showing them how to engage their children in many activities.

more info

What: Payson Book Festival

When: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, July 21

Where: Mazatzal Hotel and Casino, Highway 87, Mile Marker 251, Payson

Cost: Free admission

Info: paysonbookfestival.org