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Readers, writers come together at Town House Books' author dinners

ST. CHARLES – For the past several years, book lovers have had the chance to dine with their favorite authors through the popular “Dinner with the Author” series at Town House Books & Café in downtown St. Charles.

The next event will take place on Thursday, March 13, at Town House Books, 105 N. 2nd Ave., with author Brigid Pasulka. Although the 7 p.m. dinner is sold out, people are welcome to come to the reception at 6 p.m. in the Garden Room at Town House Books, where Pasulka will be signing copies of her book “The Sun and Other Stars.”

Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf recently spoke to Town House Books owner David Hunt about the “Dinner with the Author” series.

Eric Schelkopf: How long have you been doing your “Dinner with the Author” series?
David Hunt:
We’ve been doing them for about 15 years. We don’t do many of them a year. I think we’re close to maybe 20 or so events.

ES: So, how many events do you usually have a year?
It varies. Sometimes we’ll have several, sometimes we’ll have just one or two.

And that’s the unique thing about it. We like to wait for some kind of personal connection with the author, like a staff member having read a book and liked it.

We will either contact the author, or a lot of times publishers will contact us, because we kind of have a reputation of being a venue that authors really enjoy coming to. The meal is designed specifically for the book. It is kind of a loving tribute to the author and the work.

The reason we don’t do them all the time is because we don’t want them to get stale. We want them to be special for people, and we want them to be meaningful, fun events that we can keep doing.

ES: What was the idea in starting them in the first place?
We had an author come more than 15 years ago, and she did a signing for her book and we had a band playing outside and had some food. We wanted to make it more of a fun reception, rather than just a traditional book signing.

Doug Bella, who is my business partner and runs the café, is the chef for the dinners. He decides what the meal is going to be.

Edward Kelsey Moore wrote “The Supremes at Earl’s All You Can Eat.” When he visited, Doug served Big Earl’s Short Ribs for the main course.

Julia Glass was one of our National Book Award-winning authors who visited. The first time she came for her book “Three Junes,” Doug took a page from the book and actually recreated the meal that was talked about in the book itself.

She will be here April 17 with her new book, “And the Dark Sacred Night.” Set in the northeast, there likely will be New England fare.

ES: What will the menu be when author Brigid Pasulka is at your store?
Her book, “The Sun and Others Stars,” takes place in a little coastal town in Italy. There will be Italian food, of course, since it takes place in Italy, but I am not going to divulge the menu exactly yet.
But it is specifically inspired by events in the book.

ES: How many people does the café seat?
It seats around 40 people. We can generally seat 40 people for the dinner, which has become very popular with book clubs. Sometimes we sell out these dinners within a few hours.

It’s really an intimate way to get to know the author.

There’s three courses, and right after dessert, the author will read and talk about writing and then there will be a Q-and-A.

It’s kind of a dinner party with the author, in an intimate, warm setting.

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