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Putting Thoughts on Paper: Murder Mystery Author Georgia Cockerham

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Georgia Cockerham at the Oregon Coast. Courtesy of Georgia Cockerham

In diaries, blogs, or on napkins in a restaurant, many people use writing as therapy. For author Georgia Cockerham this is no exception, and she will be sharing her work at Bloomsbury Books in Ashland on Thursday, September 27.

“In 2003, I experienced the greatest tragedy of my life when my youngest son was killed in an accident,” Cockerham says. “It was three years before I could write again and when I did the pain gushed out in the form of poetry. Some of the poems I wrote during the next five years are in my book ‘Why? Why? Why?’”

“My mission for the reader of ‘Why? Why? Why?’ is twofold. First, to help the bereaved parent move out of the isolation that occurs due to the public’s basic inability to understand. Secondly, that the reader would find hope in the sequence of my poems, learning that a parent can eventually adapt to the new world in which he or she’s been thrown following the death of his/her child.”

Cockerham grew up admiring writers, especially her grandmother. Though she went to college for journalism, most of her early writing career was spent writing for herself.

She says, “I married and, due to an unexpected tribulation, spent most of the next twenty years supporting and raising two sons. During those years I found putting my thoughts down on paper to be a source of peace, but I never thought my writing, in itself, would be of interest to anyone else.”

Soon after releasing her book of poetry, she wrote and illustrated a book about coastal animals for her grandchildren. After that she was hired to write and illustrate a book about the construction of a light house in Crescent City.

What Cockerham is most serious about writing, however, are mystery novels. “Experiencing success with what I’d published, I approached my husband with the idea of my writing a murder mystery if he would review my work for accuracy with respect to the law enforcement references,” she explains. “He agreed, and our joint effort resulted in Murder On The Oregon Coast, the first book in my O’Toole/Starker murder mystery series.”

Her second book of the series, Murder on the Wind, was published in June of this year, continuing the stories of her detectives O’Toole and Starker.

“My intent has been to make the primary characters as realistic as possible not only with their law enforcement work but also their personal lives,” she says. “I created the Rick Starker character to provide both humorous friction, and balance between the two partners.” She chose her main character Patty O’Toole to represent an independent and tough woman. She hopes her murder mystery series keeps her readings guessing until the very end.

All of her books are self-published, with brings about many challenges. She says, “The biggest challenge has been finding a cover artist, editor, and formatting expert with talent and skill that meets my expectations.” Those challenges reap exciting opportunities for her, such as signing and selling her books at large public events every year. “I’m frequently invited to sign books and talk about my writing at places of business where my books are sold.” A few of these places are in Denver and Walla Walla, Wash. She also hosts a writing workshop for the bereaved, called “Healing Through the Written Word.”


Georgia Cockerham at Bloomsbury Books

7 – 8 pm, Thursday, September 27

290 E Main St, Ashland




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