Historical novel focuses ?on Ohio-born siblings

“Yours in a Hurry” is how Addison Hartle sometimes signs his letters. Speed matters to Addison, as Akron author Ann Kathleen Otto reveals in Yours in a Hurry, a debut historical novel. Set from 1908 to 1912, it is based on members of her own family.

Addison, Anna and Thomas, who uses his middle name Purl, are the oldest of eight children of the Hartle family of Marseilles, Ohio. Their parents’ deaths left each with a tidy inheritance, but by the time the story begins, Purl already has lost his bequest in a swindle and has enlisted in the cavalry to see the world. Anna has decided to relocate to Los Angeles to work in the booming real estate market, and Addison, fascinated with machinery, determines to work in an auto plant or in the new field of aviation.

Each sibling’s objective is reached, though not without tragedy and hardship. Anna’s work in real estate is fulfilling, but the man she marries is not as he appears; fortunately, she has the support of relatives and friends. Purl is sent to the United States’ new Philippines territory, as well as Hawaii and Japan, and Addison continues to chase his dreams of flight.

Though her afterword acknowledges that much of the story is fictionalized, Otto incorporates many real-life figures, contriving acquaintances between Addison and aviation pioneers Glenn Curtiss and Blanche Scott; Harriet Quimby, the first licensed American female pilot, plays a major role.

Purl’s experiences provide insight into the changing concept of manifest destiny in the early century, as he takes part in surveying the new territory and acquires an interest in politics.

Yours in a Hurry (342 pages, softcover) costs $14.99 from the author’s website, ann-otto.com. Ann Otto earned a Ph.D. in organizational development from Kent State University.

Authors nominated for awards

Northeast Ohio is well represented in this year’s nominations for Ohioana Book Awards. In fiction, nominees include Akron natives Tom Batiuk and Chuck Ayers (Roses in December: A Story of Love and Alzheimer’s), Paula McLain of Cleveland Heights (Circling the Sun), and Mary Doria Russell of Lyndhurst (Epitaph: A Novel of the OK Corral); in nonfiction, Lorain native Michael Dirda (Browsing: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books) and Cleveland native Mary Norris (Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen) are nominated.

In the About Ohio or an Ohioan category, Hiram College alumnus William Heath (William Wells and the Struggle for the Old Northwest) is nominated, as is Karl Rove for The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters. Poet Ross Gay, a Youngstown native, is nominated for his collection Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, along with Youngstown State University professor William Greenway (Selected Poems).

In Juvenile Literature, Kent State University alumnus Dav Pilkey, illustrator of One Today, was nominated, and in Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature, Cleveland native Sharon Draper (Stella by Starlight) and Silver Lake author Shelley Pearsall (The Seventh Most Important Thing).

The winners will be announced in July and awards presented in September at the Ohio Statehouse.

Events

Loganberry Books (13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights) — Melissa Hintz reads from On Chagrin Boulevard: A Collection of Fluff, Fables, Fabrications, Flapdoodle, Free Verse, and Flash Fiction, 1 p.m. Sunday; from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, the annual “Author Alley” presents local authors (usually about 50) in the alley next to the shop.

Learned Owl Book Shop (204 N. Main St., Hudson) — Jerry Prout talks about social reformer and former Massillon Mayor Jacob Coxey at the open-to-all History Book Club, and signs Coxey’s Crusades for Jobs: Unemployment in the Gilded Age, 2 p.m. today.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Gates Mills branch, 1491 Chagrin River Road) — James J. Badal, author of Twilight of Innocence: The Disappearance of Beverly Potts, and Mark Wade Stone, producer of the documentary Dusk and Shadow: The Mystery of Beverly Potts, follow up on the strange 1951 case of the missing Cleveland girl, 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Hudson Library (96 Library St.) — Shelley Pearsall, the library’s new children’s Author in Residence, meets with patrons and signs her work, followed by a folk art project inspired by her newest book, The Seventh Most Important Thing, 10 a.m. Wednesday. Register at 330-653-6658.

Cuyahoga Falls Library (2015 Third St.) — Michael DeBenedictis discusses and signs his four books of poems and short stories, 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library (3512 Darrow Road, Stow) — As part of Patron Appreciation Day, Gloria Adams and Lana Koehler sign their picture book Ah-Choo!, 9 a.m. to noon Thursday.

Akron-Summit County Public Library (Nordonia branch, 9458 Olde Eight Road) — Journalist Neil Zurcher talks about his years as a travel reporter and signs The Best of One Tank Trips, 7 p.m. Thursday. Registration requested; call 330-467-8595.

— Barbara McIntyre

Special to the Beacon Journal

Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or lsherwin@thebeaconjournal.com. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.