Men in My Town

The Sparta Independent discusses “Men in My Town” in New Jersey Arts & Entertainment

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on August 4, 2010


This is an excerpt of an article published in The Sparta Independent on August 4th. For a look at the complete article featuring information on Sparta Books, [Indie}pendent Books plus authors Roy Pickering Jr., Michael Ferrari, Maura Stone,  Jo Lynne Valerie, Jennifer Topper and Estevan Vega, please visit The Sparta Independent

Indie authors gather at Sparta Books

The authors’ stories range from humor to tragedy, By Ray Smith.

SPARTA — Donna Fell knows that her bookstore, Sparta Books, cannot compete with the prices at big box chain stores. What her store can provide is the opportunity for visitors to interact with authors, staged reading promotions and a place for community members to meet.

One such event, a meet and greet with independent authors, took place on July 29.

“I myself as an independent book store owner feel I should be helping independent authors,” Fell said. “I want people to know there are some fabulous writers out there.”

This was the first time that Sparta Books hosted such an event.

Melissa DeKler is the owner of {Indie}Pendent Books and the meet-and-greet in Sparta was the first such event for her company.

DeKler focuses on independent authors and finding a way to garner some publicity for their work.

“These events are important because you get exposed to new up and coming authors,” DeKler said. “You can speak with the authors and even learn how to get your own book into the public.”

Keith Smith, author of “Men in My Town,” tells a powerful story about a 14-year-old boy who was abducted, beaten and raped in a small New England town. The 14-year-old boy is Smith.

He tells the true story of a serial pedophile who was murdered by the men that lived in Smith’s town while out on the streets awaiting trial.

“It’s not a graphic story,” Smith said. “It’s a story of my relationship with some of the men in my town between the time I was attacked and the day my attacker was beaten to death.”

35 years later, no one has been charged with the murder.

“I had to tell people what happened,” Smith said. “All of the experiences I went through made me who I am today.”

Smith doesn’t consider himself an author, but rather a “Wall Street guy who wrote a book.”

Before publishing the book, Smith wrote letters that he one day would give to his two daughters telling them about the incident. Smith is now a spokesperson for RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.

“By talking about what happened, I know I’ve helped other people who’ve been through similar experiences,” Smith said.

The event held by Sparta Books was the first meet-and-greet for independent authors at the store, but Sparta Books does hold other events.

“There are regular children story hours, other larger author events, kid party days with characters in costume, in the fall we’re going to have project days with stories and projects,” Fell said. “I really want to push the independent work and the importance of buying local.”

“I can’t compete with prices of big book stores,” Fell said. “But I focus on customer service, which includes hiring a staff that knows books. I want this community bookstore to be a community place where people can come in have meetings and seminars.”

And perhaps meet a few new and talented authors along the way.

The story of the abduction, beating and rape of a teenage boy from Lincoln, Rhode Island, followed by the unsolved brutal murder of his assailant in Providence, is now a moving novel written by the man who survived this vicious attack.

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Based on Actual Events.

Available now at in Paperback and Kindle.

Email the author at


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