Frankfort’s Amy Luscher Smith, a longtime Kentucky Book Fair board member, will bring a very personal book to the 38th annual book fair on Saturday, Nov. 16, in Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park near Lexington. She’s the author of “My Faith Sparkles: Memoir of a Cancer Survivor.”
“I always wanted to write a book and go to the book fair as an author,” she said. “I didn’t know this was how it was going to work out. But the book is doing well. We’ve probably sold 150 copies and we have another 150 we’ve donated. So there’s 300 copies out in the world, which I think will be helpful to people.”
Every time a copy of her book is purchased, Smith donates a copy of the book to an oncology office, treatment center or support group, to share with someone battling cancer.
Smith provides a revealing and humorous peek into becoming a breast cancer survivor. She says the book is for those who have faith, need faith or question faith in a God who will not leave us to face tragedy alone.
More than a cancer memoir, “My Faith Sparkles” is one woman’s story about her struggle to keep faith when God seemed conspicuously distant. “Her faith always sparkled, but there were days when she struggled to cling to the kind of hope that can’t be found in this world alone” is printed on the back cover of her 180-page book.
Through an intricately woven blend of blog posts, recollection of medical procedures, and reliance on her faith to provide guidance for the journey, she shares a two-year path of diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
On her Facebook page, she said her breast cancer diagnosis in 2016 is an integral part of who she’s become.
“Cancer survivors are encouraged to give legacy gifts as part of their transition from treatment to remission,” she said. “Legacy gifts can be the gift of time — mentoring the newly diagnosed or sitting with patients through treatments; money; or items to make treatment easier — a knit cap, a chemo support bag, an item of encouragement.
“My legacy gift is the story of my cancer journey and the faith that inspired me for the battle.”
She said her book “has given me a platform to talk to people, who have cancer and are in treatment, about hope and faith. But it also has given me a platform to talk to people who want to minister or help people who have cancer.”
Two men, who read her book, told her they would have never picked it up if they hadn’t known her because it looks like it’s a women’s book about breast cancer.
“They’re both ministers and said they had no idea the people they visit have these kinds of things going on, and that they would now do their job differently because they read my book,” Smith said. “That’s an entire audience I never thought I would have a platform to speak to.”
Frankfort’s Mary Lynn Collins, a member of the book fair committee, said “Amy’s story is one of courage, faith and hope, and she tells it with such honesty. It is a great book for anyone facing a huge challenge in life, like an illness, but I believe it has a broader audience as well — a story that can inspire any reader.”
Dr. Robert F. Browning, former pastor of Frankfort’s First Baptist Church, St. Clair Street at the Singing Bridge, said “Amy’s transparency, honesty, and faith are refreshing. If you are searching for light on a dark path, you must read this book.”
The 1990 Frankfort High School valedictorian, Luscher Smith completed her bachelor’s degree at Georgetown College in English and American studies; and her master’s in English, and her doctorate in education at the University of Louisville.
She’s deputy executive director of the Kentucky Housing Corporation in Frankfort.
She lives in her childhood hometown with her high school sweetheart husband, Scott, and their three children, Hannah, Ben and Sophie; and her ninja kitty, Mango Tangerine.
Two other Franklin County authors will have books at this year’s book fair.
• Virginia Smith, a bestselling author of almost 40 novels, will bring to the book fair “A Chocolate Shoppe Mystery: Just Desserts.” Bakery owner Jillian’s best friend is getting married. Preparations for the desserts-only reception are well underway until the news that the sheriff has been shot. Can Deputy “Gooder” Jones and Jillian find the madman?
A Frankfort resident and Kentucky native, Smith enjoys introducing readers to the charms of the Bluegrass state.
• Blair Thomas Hess and her friend Cameron M. Ludwick will sign their new book, “Presidents, Battles, and Must-See Civil War Destinations: Exploring a Kentucky Divided.” Hess is a born-and-bred Kentuckian who resides in Frankfort with her family. Ludwick is a bookworm, trivia nerd and former band geek. A Kentucky native, she now lives in Texas.
Hess and Ludwick travel across Kentucky exploring its wonders and sharing its best-kept secrets in “My Old Kentucky Road Trip” books. They have also authored “The State of Bourbon: Exploring the Spirit of Kentucky” and “Famous Kentucky Flavors” featuring recipes and heart-warming stories. The photography in all three books is by Elliott Hess.
The 38th book fair is the anchor event for the Kentucky Book Festival, a variety of events planned in Lexington throughout the week, starting on Sunday, Nov. 10, with the festival kickoff from 1 to 4 p.m. at ArtsPlace.
Frankfort’s Blair Thomas Hess and two other book fair authors, Brian F. Haara and Linda Ruffenach, will participate in Commerce Lexington Spotlight — a Kentucky Book Festival bourbon-inspired brunch at The Grand Reserve in downtown Lexington on Friday, Nov. 15, at 8 a.m. All three authors are experts when it comes to bourbon — from tasting it, to talking it, to writing about it. Tickets are available at commercelexington.com.
Ruffenach’s book is titled “How to be a Bourbon Badass.” Haara’s book is “Bourbon Justice: How Whiskey Law Shaped America.”
Other book festival events include:
• A noon Literary Luncheon Tuesday at Arts Place with authors Bobbie Ann Mason, Ed McClanahan, Gurney Norman, Mary Ann Taylor-Hall and Crystal Wilkinson.
• A free screening of the documentary, “Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry,” 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Kentucky Theatre.
• Cocktails & Conversation, 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at The Mane on Main. Author Jessica Chiccehhitto Hindman will talk about her memoir, “Sounds Like Titanic,” with KET’s Renee Shaw.
Also Thursday, Books & Brews Trivia will take place at West Sixth Brewing from 5 to 7 p.m.
Overall, 200 national and regional authors will be signing books and meeting patrons at Saturday’s book fair founded by the late State Journal Editor Carl West and held in Frankfort for the first 35 years. As always, the book fair will have many bestselling and award-winning authors. The 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. fair is free, including parking.
In 2017, the book fair moved to the Kentucky Horse Park after the state announced it was demolishing the Frankfort Convention Center. It was the capital city’s only gathering place large enough to host the book fair. This is the fourth year Kentucky Humanities has organized the event with the guidance of the book fair committee.
For more information on the book fair and festival go to kyhumanities.org.