Pamlico Writers Group to host first-responder workshop

Published 7:49 pm Monday, August 12, 2019


Washington Daily News


An upcoming workshop will give local writers the information they need to make their first responder characters more believable for readers.

The Pamlico Writers Group will be hosting a “We Need a Hero: Writing Firefighters and First Responders” workshop on Saturday from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Located at the Turnage Theatre, the workshop will be a Q&A style event with Blake Hollister, a seasoned Aurora firefighter, for authors to research how to write an authentic character serving as a first responder.

“We were discussing ideas for workshops, and I’m getting ready to do my next novel based on firefighters, and Blake was helping me with that,” PWG Chairperson Sherri Hollister said. “And (Tammera Cooper) had just done hers with the search and rescue dogs. So we were thinking this might be a good research opportunity for our authors.”

Blake Hollister is a firefighter with both Aurora and Blounts Creek Volunteer Fire Departments, a member of the search and rescue team for Pamlico County Special Operations and a member of the Emergency Response Team with Nutrien.

According to Sherri Hollister, this workshop is a great opportunity to not only learn about the basics of the first responder business, but also the specifics, including the senses they experience and the emotional toll the work can take.

“Terms aren’t that hard to look up, but my thing was the smells,” Sherri Hollister said. “What kinds of things do you look for at a fire or wreck? As a small town volunteer fireman, do you ever have problems with it being one of your neighbors or friends or something that you’re taking care of?”

The “We Need a Hero: Writing Firefighters and First-Responders” event is one of the numerous workshops that the PWG hosts throughout the year to improve local authors’ writing. Saturday’s workshop is open to both members and nonmembers, as well as anyone curious about the first responder lifestyle.

“I think, as writers, we want to get all the details right. And the more you learn, the better you can write,” Sherri Hollister said. “You can see it happening in your head, and it kind of immerses your reader into the story. And I think that’s what we all try to do is just make it more believable. Make it more interactive.”

The registration fee for PWG members is $15 and $20 for nonmembers. To register, visit