Apache Junction Public Library is excited to be part of the Writer in Residence program, which offers encouragement, direction and feedback to local authors and provides opportunities for them to enhance their skills no matter where they find themselves on the path to publication. The Writer in Residence Program was made possible by the Arizona State Library, a division of the Secretary of State, with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

We’re happy to host a Writers in Residence Facebook group, where you can get encouragement and advice from our current Writer in Residence, as well as updates on upcoming programs and consultation times.

Current Writer in Residence

Gregory McNamee | Website
Writer, journalist, editor, photographer and publisher, Gregory McNamee, is Apache Junction Public Library’s newest Writer in Residence. McNamee is the author or title-page editor of forty books and more than 7,500 periodical publications, including articles, essays, reviews, interviews, editorials, poems, and short stories. His books include Tortillas, Tiswin, and T-Bones: A Food History of the Southwest and Gila: The Life and Death of an American River, both Southwest Books of the Year.

Beginning February 2, McNamee will be available for virtual consultations. Half-hour time slots are available Tuesdays from 9-11 AM and Wednesdays from 1-3 PM. Check back for more information about registration.

McNamee will also present 3 workshops:

The Sonoran Desert: Where We Live – February 17 at 2:30 PM | Virtual
The Sonoran Desert is a place of superlatives: it is the wettest and greenest of the world’s deserts, a place with an astonishing diversity of plant and animal life. It has also inspired one of the richest literatures of any desert place, a literature that incorporates songs and stories, folklore and histories, screenplays and poems, novels and natural history textbooks. In this talk, we’ll look at some of those books while discussing the notion of bioregionalism.

The Nature of Fact – March 17 at 2:30 PM
How do we know when a fact is in fact a fact, rather than a misinterpretation or outright fib? How do we know what sources to trust? How can we train ourselves to be more alert to misinformation? The world is awash with data, and there are plenty of people who are well paid to tell us things that aren’t true. In this talk, we’ll evaluate some widely circulated facts that aren’t facts at all, and we’ll look at how to become better consumers of the information that threatens to overwhelm us every day.

Writing Nonfiction – April 21 at 2:30 PM
There are only two kinds of writing, the old saw has it: good and bad. Beyond that, there is the great wall between nonfiction and fiction, a wall that writers regularly scale. Nonfiction has a few attributes that fiction doesn’t have, though—fiction writers, after all, get to make it up, while nonfiction writers have to base their stories in fact. In this talk, we’ll look at the three principal components of good nonfiction writing, as well as some craft tips on matters such as organization and time management.

To see Gregory’s past presentation, “Arizona in Literature,” from our Writers in Their Own Residences series click here.

Past Writers in Residence

Mark Athitakis | Website | Twitter

Freelance writer Mark Athitakis has covered books and the arts for a variety of publications, including The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Humanities Magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review and many more. A former board member of the National Book Critics Circle and judge for the Kirkus Prize, he has presented on writing at Arizona State University, Arizona Professional Writers, the Center for Fiction and elsewhere. He is the author of The New Midwest, a guide to contemporary fiction from the region, which won the Books by the Banks Award for best adult nonfiction title.

Click here for links to all of Mark Athitakis’s vlogs and handouts from previous programs.


Lisa Schnebly Heidinger | Website

Author and historian Lisa Schnebly Heidinger has been collecting and sharing Arizona stories since she began as a cub reporter for the Green Valley News in 1979. She’s moved up through the ranks through radio and news stations, newspapers and Arizona Highways, historical and university boards, and has become the author of ten books, with two in progress.

Lisa Schnebly Heidinger’s Favorite Arizona Writers’ Works

Writers In Their Own Residence
In September and October of 2020, we welcomed five local Arizona authors to discuss aspects of their careers, craft, and knowledge in virtual sessions.

Valerie Ipson | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Our Summer 2020 Writer in Residence is an author of children, teen and adult fiction. Inevitably Ipson’s YA books are set in high school, and while it’s not something she ever wants to relive, she finds it a pretty chill experience writing through the fictional eyes of her main characters. In addition to penning picture books and novels, Ipson was a contributing writer and genealogy columnist for a regional newspaper until retiring after 17 years to write fiction fulltime. Currently she is finishing production on two picture books.

Official Press Release Announcement
So You Want to Write a Book!


James L. Thane | Facebook | Twitter | Website

After graduating with a Ph.D., Jim became a history professor and wrote non-fiction and magazine and trade journal articles before returning to his first love – mystery writing. Thane cut his teeth on Erle Stanley Gardner, Ed Bain, and John McDonald and, in 2010, he published his first police procedural No Place to Die; set in Phoenix and featuring Sean Richardson. Accolades include “Engaging…hooks the audience…”, “A fast action thriller…” and “An excellent debut…” Jim then penned two additional Sean Richardson novels before switching his fictional locale from Phoenix to Montana’s Big Sky Country in his recently released novel Crossroads.