Stories of nude boat rides, witches with treasure and most anything else imaginable were told at the UCF Arena all day on April 16.

More than 60 authors attended the second annual UCF Book Festival, including New York Times Best Seller Maxine Paetro, Sen. Bob Graham and many local authors.

The event was put on for UCF students and the community. Julie Benson, graduate student in educational technology, said she was a fan of a few of the authors who were at the event.

Benson said she went to a few panels throughout the day to meet authors such as Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner’s Handbook. She said she liked the book because it showed that nonfiction can be as fascinating as fiction.

Benson said she was interested in discovering new authors.

“There are 20 dead authors on my shirt. I’m a book nerd and an addict,” Benson said.

Paetro is best known for the Women’s Murder Club series she co-writes with James Patterson, which she said she hopes the series lasts until the end of time. After writing numerous novels, she said she plans on writing a memoir only when her husband says it’s OK.

“I have a lot of stories, and they’re not all about books,” Paetro said.

The author wrote an article about one of these stories called Nude Cruise. At the end of what she calls her “skinny cow years,” Paetro boarded a cruise with more than 100 naked people. Right before the cruise, she gave Patterson a sample of her writing. This got her hired and she is currently working with Patterson on a young adult series called Filthy Rich.

Paetro has also written books on how to succeed in advertising, Bobby Darin’s (of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”fame) life and a few original fiction books.

Graham, a  former Florida governor, wrote America, The Owner’s Manual: Making Government Work for You to show citizens how to become more active in civil affairs. The senator said schools stopped training American citizens 40 years ago and he is hoping to reverse this decline with this book.

“Spectator politics is like music appreciation class. You learn about Beethoven’s works but not about how to play instruments. American citizens need to learn to be the orchestra,” Graham said.

Graham visited UCF for the first time in 1966 when it was still Florida Technological University and said he finds it exciting to see how the campus has matured. While he fully intends to get the point of his book across to U.S. citizens, he is also venturing into thriller writing with a book that will come out this summer.

Jana Waring, alumna of UCF and Rollins, is another local author who appeared at the book fair. She puts together anthologies and interviews and has interviewed people from all walks of life, including prisoners and homeless people.

“Everyone has a story to tell. It’s a matter of listening,” Waring said.

Fragmen-Tation, a novel published by Burrow Press, Waring’s company, contains the stories of 26 different people, as well as photographs taken through reader interpretation and a soundtrack.

Desmond Reid, a man who was born in Jamaica and emigrated to New York, founded DARE Books 29 years ago with the intention of getting books about African Americans to children who feel out of place when there are no such books in school libraries. Reid said his sons have felt out of place because of it.

“My children’s principal told me these books didn’t exist. I made it my mission to prove him wrong,” Reid said.

Terry Cronin, an independent film maker, writes a comic series called Students of the Unusual, which he gave out copies of at the fair.

Cronin said that story ideas sometimes hit him like a ton of bricks when something happens in real life that can be considered stranger than fiction. He encourages anyone who likes to tell stories to try get published.

“Seeing your work published is like having a baby,” Cronin said, “seeing something you made come into the world.”

Source: Central Florida Future, Book Fair brings fame to UCF, by Diana Galvin, contributing writer. Published: Sunday, April 17, 2011, updated: Sunday, April 17, 2011 17:04