From mysteries to suspense, romance and historical fiction, three authors with Bay Area ties will appear at 6:45 p.m. Thursday at Read Booksellers in Danville.

Rachael Herron, Sophie Littlefield and Gigi Pandian, good friends who are all in the same writing group, will read from their recently published novels. Herron works in Danville as a dispatcher for the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District. She told me her schedule leaves plenty of time for her passion.

"After I got my master's degree in writing and English, I wanted to get a job that didn't involve writing so I could save my off-time for creating fiction," she said.

Emergency dispatching can also spark premises for new novels.

"911 is kind of a window on the human condition. I'll hear a sad story at work, but we just hear the beginning (of the emergency). 'Pack Up the Moon' is my book of finishing a fictional caller's story. It's about the weight of secrets in a family, an adoptive child who goes and finds her mother."

Herron is in the process of finishing her eighth book, a psychological suspense novel like "Pack Up the Moon." She has written six books in the Cypress Hollow Series, all set in a fictional coastal farm town near Pescadero, and a memoir, "A Life in Stitches." She lives in Oakland with her partner, three dogs and two cats.


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Littlefield, who lived in Danville for 15 years before moving to Oakland in 2012, told me she's been writing for more than 20 years, but her first book was published just six years ago. Both of her kids are in college now, and she can devote herself full-time to her profession.

"I write basically all the time," she said. "I've had an arduous schedule, writing four books a year for the last couple of years, but for this year and next, it's just two books each."

"House of Glass," published Feb. 25, was inspired by a real-life home invasion and murder in Connecticut. It's Littlefield's second domestic thriller, set in a suburb of Minneapolis. Her historical fiction debut novel, "Garden of Stones," was published in March 2013. She's written numerous books in the mystery genre, including five in the "Bad Day" crime series featuring Stella Hardesty, an amateur detective who was abused by her husband and helps others in similar situations; and two Joe Bashir crime novels.

Littlefield has also written four novels set in a post-apocalyptic California, the "Aftertime" series, and three Young Adult novels. Her novels have won Anthony and RT Book Awards and been shortlisted for Edgar, Barry, Crimespree, Macavity and Goodreads Choice awards.

Gigi Pandian's first book, "Artifact," was published in August 2012 and recently hit the USA Today bestseller list. It's the leadoff in the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mystery series, with the sophomore novel, "Pirate Vishnu," published last month. Both novels are set in San Francisco, with the heroine traveling to England, Scotland and India. The third book in the series, due to be published in 2015, will be set in France.

Pandian's locked-room mystery short story, "The Hindi Houdini," was published last year and nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Short Story of 2013. For a limited time, it can be downloaded for free at her website, http://gigipandian.com/short-stories.

Read Booksellers is located at 3630 Blackhawk Plaza Circle in Danville.

Wheelchair Foundation Charity Ball: There may still be tickets available for "Mobility for America," the Wheelchair Foundation's 12th annual gala, from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday at the Blackhawk Museum, 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle. All proceeds from the event will go toward providing wheelchairs to those in need in the United States. The evening includes hors d'oeuvres, hosted wine tasting, dinner catered by Scott's Seafood, silent and live auctions, entertainment and dancing. Tickets are $150 per person. For further information, contact Jeff Behring at jeffbehring@wineforwheels.org or call him at 925-648-3829.

Contact Georgia Lambert at arounddanville@yahoo.com.