Writers in Residence Program

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.

Our Current Writer In Residence, Mark Athitakis

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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.

Athitakis is available for virtual one-on-one consultations on Tuesdays, 1-3 p.m. and Saturdays, 9-11 a.m., beginning Tuesday, May 4. Please make an appointment by finding an open day and time on our calendar, or call 480-474-8555.

Previous Programs

“Getting Started at Freelance Writing”
This program discussed the essentials of finding paying outlets for your writing, successfully pitching editors, finding support and managing a writing business. Click here for a handout with information, resources, and tips for freelance writers.

“Social Media for Writers and Readers”
Literary social media is always shifting, from bookstagram to #booktok. But regardless of the tool, it’s a consistent source of inspiration and community for writers and readers — if you use it right. We talked about some of the most prominent platforms and how to use them in ways that are both fun and productive. Click here for a handout with resources from this program.

“Reading Like a Critic,” July 8, 6:30 p.m.
Book critics do more than just praise and pan — they look for themes and ideas that make a book worth thinking about. The tools critics use can help expand your tastes, win your book club and simply know yourself better. This session discussed the art and craft of criticism and explored what makes for an effective review, whether you’re writing for The New York Times or your Goodreads page. Click here for a handout from this program.

Facebook Vlogs

Past Writers in Residence

Lisa Schnebly Heidinger


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.

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
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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.

James L. Thane
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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.