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Six great writers to follow on Twitter

Author and screenwriter Neil Gaiman is absolutely fascinating on Twitter.
Author and screenwriter Neil Gaiman is absolutely fascinating on Twitter.
Photo by Darryl James

One of the many great things about Twitter for book lovers in the greater Spokane area is that the popular microblogging service allows people to follow some of their favorite authors and interact with them in a fun and stress-free way. Readers can use Twitter to ask published writers questions about their works, find out what sorts of things they have been doing, and maybe even follow links to free books from Amazon and other retailers.

Twitter provides a platform that makes it easy for Spokane-area writers such as Sharon Cramer, Sharma Shields, Jess Walter or Frank Zafiro to connect with their fans. Walter and Shields use Twitter to post nice mixtures of fun content and more serious updates about upcoming appearances and other things that would be of interest to their readers. Zafiro often uses his Twitter account to let people know about free or discounted ebooks he has available for the Amazon Kindle. He also shares links to interviews and new reviews of his books. Cramer frequently promotes giveaways that she uses to raise awareness of her novel "The Execution." Local writers who haven't joined Twitter yet or don't use their accounts much could learn a lot from their examples.

Twitter also provides a great way to learn more about writers from outside the Spokane community. Fantasy authors such as Neil Gaiman and Kevin Hearne regularly talk with their fans about a wide variety of subjects. Margaret Atwood, Jackie Collins, Cory Doctorow, science fiction writer John Scalzi and "The Orchid Thief" author Susan Orlean are just a few of the nationally known authors who regularly tweet. No matter what types of novels, short fiction or poetry somebody prefers, they can probably find writers who would appeal to them sharing their thoughts on Twitter.

This list is intended merely as a starting point for people who would like to engage more with their favorite writers. It features four local writers and two others who always post tweets worth reading. The quality of their content may convince people in the greater Spokane area who aren't using Twitter yet to finally take the plunge.

Sharon Cramer
Sharon Cramer Amazon.com

Sharon Cramer

Local author and illustrator Sharon Cramer has created works in several genres including children's books, a young adult science fiction series and her moving historical romance "The Execution." According to her Amazon page, "The Execution" is being adapted as a film. To learn more about the movie, take advantage of free giveaways or read tweets about various things that are important to her, check out @SharonJCramer.

Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman Daryl James/Getty Images

Neil Gaiman

Author/screenwriter/comic book legend Neil Gaiman recently took a break from Twitter. It must be exhausting constantly coming up with so much interesting content and presenting it in an amiable and thoroughly enjoyable way. Instead of concentrating mainly on his popular works such as "Sandman", "American Gods" or "Coraline", he covers a wide range of topics in his tweets at @neilhimself. His tweets are always worth reading. Additionally, Gaiman may be the nicest person on Twitter.

Kevin Hearne
Kevin Hearne Barnes and Noble.com

Kevin Hearne

Fantasy author Kevin Hearne is the lovable mad man behind the Iron Druid Chronicles, a series of urban fantasy novels about an immortal druid who usually goes by the alias Atticus O'Sullivan. Atticus really just wants to enjoy good meals, good conversation and hanging out with his dog Oberon (who possesses human-level intelligence and loves action movies).Unfortunately, a variety of monsters, witches and mythical gods have other ideas and they keep him busy. His Twitter feed reveals that he has much in common with Atticus and is also a good source for information about his upcoming appearances and other activities. He can be found at @KevinHearne.

Sharma Shields
Sharma Shields Amazon.com

Sharma Shields

Spokane writer Sharma Shields tweets about both her own work and her various literary interests. She also sometimes shares updates about her family or fun things she finds interesting. Her twitter feed may be found at @SharmaShields.

Jess Walter
Jess Walter Amazon.com

Jess Walter

Spokane author Jess Walter is noteworthy because he is an award winning author and his novel "Beautiful Ruins" has spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list. In addition to tweets about public appearances and other things of interest to his fans, he also tweets jokes, fun pictures and other stuff that keeps his feed highly entertaining. Book lovers will go there to find out more about his next speaking engagement and stay for the hobbit jokes. He may be found at @1JessWalter.

Frank Zafiro
Frank Zafiro frankzafiro.com, Eric Beetner

Frank Zafiro

Local crime fiction author Frank Zafiro uses his Twitter feed mostly to share the details of his current book promotions. However, he also shares links to reviews of his works, interviews and other fun things like a recent opportunity he got to guest host a streaming radio show about his idol Bruce Springsteen. People who follow @Frank_Zafiro will have many chances to download Amazon Kindle editions of his works either for free or at significantly reduced prices, which could help people get caught up on his popular River City police procedural series or the Ania Trilogy he co-wrote with Jim Wilsky.