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Open books | Local News

DEADWOOD — This year’s South Dakota Book Festival literary feast held Friday at the Martin Mason ballroom was a literary reveal, figuratively featuring three open books: although the life of an author is intrinsically an individual journey, in order to remain relevant, connecting with others is good for the soul and subsequently good for the reading public who ingest the written word.

“I love writing, but the candy part of this job is getting out and meeting other people and that’s what we love,” said author Tosca Lee.

“The cake is to meet folks,” said author Kimberly Stuart. “It’s super, super fun.”

“Shoulder to Shoulder: How We Work Together to Connect with Readers, Booksellers Communities,” featuring Lee, Stuart, and Nicole Baart, also known as “The Traveling Pens,” afforded those in attendance a rare glimpse at life between the lines.

“One of the things we love to do is to connect with people through books,” said Stuart. “We read and we write to feel like we’re not alone. So if you’re one of the nerds who’s felt embarrassed in science class because you’re reading beyond your years or you’re weeping in an airport about a middle grade novel, you’re among friends here. And we have found our friendship to be something that helps us to not feel like we’re alone.”

In addition to the solitary life of a writer, what connects these three women is their rural and remote residences.

“This Midwestern divide thing is another thing that unites us,” Stuart said. “We are all three Midwestern girls and we love the Midwest and sometimes we feel in our industry that that is maybe not the most popular place to be from. We often feel like we’re having to say over and over again, there’s a rich history of literary thought here and also, there

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