The CALM Celebrity Authors’ Luncheon

“What’s the next adventure?” That’s what Jane Heller is always asking herself.

In fact, it was that very question that brought the bestselling author of 13 novels to Montecito after growing up in New York and later living in Connecticut, Florida and Los Angeles. During a tour of the Montecito area with her husband, Heller recalls falling in love with the beauty and lifestyle of the area and with the services of Cottage Hospital, where she volunteers once a week.

Now, more than a year since her relocation, Heller finds herself involved with another local non-profit, CALM (Child Abuse Listening & Meditation), which on March 10 will host its 21st annual Celebrity Authors’ Luncheon. The event, to be held at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, will combine Heller with five other authors in a ceremony benefiting the local non-profit.

“It is a great way for people in the community to really come together and support a valuable cause,” Heller says of the luncheon. “At the same time, it allows them to celebrate the authors and their work.”

Master of Ceremonies for the event will be Jack Canfield, the creator of the “Chicken Soup” series. The discussions will take place in interview format, with former KEYT anchoress Debby Davison and Kate Schwab, regional marketing manager for Borders, posing questions to a panel of six authors: Heller; Mariel Hemingway (“Healthy Living from the Inside Out”); actor Peter Falk (“Just One More Thing”), Lynne Cox (“Grayson”); and James Rollins (“Black Order”).

Heller’s involvement with charities is a product of her involved writing process. As a way of researching before writing, she says she tries to place herself in her heroine’s shoes. So, if her central character is a preschool teacher, as was the case in “Namedropping,” she’ll volunteer in a preschool classroom.

In the case of her latest novel, “Some Nerve,” Heller approached the head of volunteering at a Los Angeles hospital interested in observing patients. “We don't allow access to our patients for 'material,’” Heller recalls the woman telling her. “But if you'd like to become a volunteer, we'd love to have you.”

Heller accepted a uniform and an ID and she manned the magazine cart at the hospital. Eventually, her time writing the book elapsed, but her volunteerism did not.

“I receive a large portion of e-mails and letters from hospital patients, telling me how much my book cheered them up and helped them escape what they were going through,” Heller says. “It has been the most rewarding, gratifying experience. Nothing can ever replace being there, having a patient say, ‘thank you for being with me.’”

Heller is currently working on a fourteenth book, and if the title is any indication, perhaps you can expect to see her helping out at Santa Barbara wineries.

“I think it will be called Camp Chardonnay,” she says. “That is all I can say.”

Event Info

The festivities will begin at 10 am with book signings and purchasing. Lunch will be served at 11:45 am, followed by the interviews at 12:45 pm. All ticket sales and a percentage of book sales will benefit CALM.

At 2:30 pm, other authors will be available for book signings following the Q&A discussion: Brook Ashley (“The Lonely Doll Makes New Friends”); Anne-Marie Castleberg (“Alice’s Garden”); Josh Conviser, (“Echelon”), Len Lamensdorf (“Gino, The Countess, & Chagall”); David Lawrence (“Boy Eats World: A Private Chef Cooks Simple Gourmet”); Beth Roberts (“Finding Your Mate Online: No Fear, No Embarrassment, Just Love”); Christine Schwab (“The Grown-Up Girl’s Guide To Style”); Karen Telleen-Lawton (“Canyon Voices: The Nature of Rattlesnake Canyon”); Flavia Weedn, who writes gift books; and Ken Williams (“China White”).

Tickets for the event are $100 and can be reserved with Carolyn Gillio at 682-3925. For more information visit www.calm4kids.org.