NESSIE WHISPERER: "The monster in the loch is everyone's internal monster," says Asheville-based author Sara Gruen. "What you do with it is what defines you." Her new novel is set in World War II near Loch Ness and deals with monsters real and imaginary. Photo by Tasha Thomas

Local author Sara Gruen pens an all-consuming new novel

Author Sara Gruen gets lost in her books. “I wasn’t able to immerse myself completely with Water for Elephants,” she says of her 2006 best-seller that became a film starring Reese Witherspoon. “The type of circus I was writing about no longer existed.” For her new book, Gruen spent a total of five weeks in the British Isles, researching, absorbing the culture and immersing herself — literally.

SHORE THING: The Canoe revisits the Titanic disaster from two points of view: a widow on board the ocean liner and a teenage boy living near the Chesapeake Bay.

Michelle Baker publishes non-traditional novel The Canoe

Local author Michelle Baker writes poems that sometimes reach 15 or 20 pages in length. But when one hit the 40-page mark, “I thought, ‘This isn’t going to stop anytime soon,’” she says. That poem grew and morphed and eventually became The Canoe, a novel that weaves together two lives touched by the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Baker gives a reading and signing at Malaprop’s on Saturday, Nov. 15

The long hello: Local author Bryan Robinson pens his first novel-attachment0

The long hello: Local author Bryan Robinson pens his first novel

Psychotherapist Bryan E. Robinson is a veteran author, having written 35 self-help and scholarly books on stress and workaholism over the years. His most recent such work is “The Smart Guide to Managing Stress.” Only now, however, is he unveiling his first work of fiction, 12 years in the making. “Limestone Gumption” launches with great fanfare on Friday, March 7, at Malaprop’s Bookstore. Photo by Jon Michael Riley