She headed straight for the children's section in the public library, where her mother took her and her brother after swimming each week.
"Every book was better than the last," author Lori Roy said. She borrowed the limit every time she went and kept going to the juvenile-reading area until after she outgrew the furniture.
Roy learned on Jan. 16 that she is a finalist for best novel in the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Allan Poe Awards for her second book, Until She Comes Home. "It was a big day in the Roy house," she said.
Her first, Bent Road, received the Edgar for best first novel by an American author. On tour for that book, Roy said, she revisited the public library in Manhattan, Kansas, the source of all that childhood joy. "It looked the same," she said, "as if no time had passed."
Nonetheless, as she headed toward the old children's section where she spent all those hours, she found it is now a computer room.
Roy, who lives with her family in Tierra Verde, was the keynote speaker at the annual Friends of the Eckerd College Library dinner, held in the Orange Blossom Catering dining room in downtown St. Petersburg. She sounded rueful at discovering the change in her hometown public library.
A participant in this year's Writers in Paradise program at Eckerd, Roy talked about the mentorship she received there from co-founder and Eckerd alumnus Dennis Lehane. "Write the book you want to read," he advised.
Roy is at work on her third book. Before a post-dinner signing, she offered participants the opportunity to bid to have a name included in the new work.
Queen's Court grants
Pinellas' Queen's Court is accepting applications from Pinellas charities to receive grants for the 2015 Queen of Hearts event. The deadline is March 1. Call (727) 894-7543.
The 56th Queen of Hearts Ball on Feb. 22 benefits the Abilities Foundation, Academy Prep Center of St. Petersburg and Daystar Life Center.