ST. GEORGE — American Fork author Celesta Rimington will visit the Book Bungalow Saturday to promote her new novel, “Tips for Magicians,” as part of the Utah Humanities Book Festival.
Rimington, who was born in Houston, Texas, told St. George News she wrote the book during a seven-month stretch while she was living in St. George with her son, Maxwell. Her son, she said, was performing at Tuacahn Center for the Arts at the time.
“It was a fast process,” Rimington said. “The first draft took three months. Then the publisher gave me edits and requested that I revise the book in six weeks.”
The process was fast, but Rimington said she was steeped in hiking, falconry and the Southern Utah landscape, so she was up for the challenge. The combination of art and the desert was soothing and inspirational, she said.
“Tips for Magicians” is set the fictional town of Muse in Southern Utah. Rimington said the setting is a composite of Kayenta Art Village and Tuacahn Center for the Arts. In the book, Harrison, a boy grieving his mother’s untimely death, connects with new friends. The story takes a magical turn after they meet a stray dog among fields of lava rocks.
Rimington, who is also a musical theatre performer, graduated from BYU. She said she feels lucky to have performed in several plays for young audiences, many of which were based on books. Although she has been writing seriously for 12 years, she said that between the performances and the Q&A sessions that followed, Rimington said she gained a broader perspective on how young readers connect with books.
“When you hear them laugh, it’s so energizing,” she said. “And their questions hint at what excites them – and what interests them.”
Rimington’s stage experience may also have come to shape her writing process. She said she sees her stories playing out on stage, or as a movie, in her imagination while she writes.
“Tips for Magicians” was published by Crown Books, a division of Penguin/ Random House on Aug. 24. Rimington’s first book, “The Elephant’s Girl,” won the Reading the West book award and has been nominated for several state awards that will be voted upon by young readers.
The Utah Humanities Book Festival, now in its 24th year, endeavors to improve Utah communities through reading, literature and conversations with authors and each other.
According to the festival’s website, the 2021 festival will offer both virtual and in-person events and feature authors such as Terry Tempest Williams, Tara Westover, Safia Elhillo, Darren Parry, Ross Gay, Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Oriel Maria Su, April Jones Prince and Kate Moore.
Events started Thursday in Salt Lake City and continue through the end of October. For a calendar of events, click here.
Rimington’s appearance Saturday at the Book Bungalow will be at 10:30 a.m. The Book Bungalow is located at 94 W. Tabernacle St. in St. George.
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