Search local phone books for Autumn Jordon, and you'll quickly discover that no such individual resides in Carbon County. This may come as a bit of a disappointment, since Jordon holds the distinction of being the area's latest published author.
Dianne Gerber, on the other hand, has been a resident of Lehighton for her entire life. And even her oldest friends in the literary world would be surprised to know that Jordon and Gerber are one and the same.
"I picked up my pseudonym when I first started writing," Gerber said. "Originally, I wasn't sure what direction my writing would take in the field, so I wanted to make sure my identity was somewhat hidden.
"My earliest writing contacts knew me as Autumn Jordon, so the name just stuck."
In June, Gerber published Evil's Witness, her second romance story published as Jordon. The book, distributed by The Wild Rose Press, was written by Gerber in just under a year, after a chance meeting with an editor in 2007.
"While I was down at a writing seminar in Atlanta, I was able to snag an appointment with a representative from Wild Rose," Gerber said. "I pitched my idea and got a positive reaction, so I started writing on my way home."
Gerber finalized the contract for Evil's Witness in January 2009, but her dealings with Wild Rose didn't end there. Obsessed by Wildfire, an e-book-only romance novella set in Texas, was released by the company earlier this year as part of its Yellow Rose series.
"I wrote that one on a bet," Gerber said. "The whole process was very exciting: I submitted my material at 8 a.m., got a call back from an editor at 10 a.m. and had a contract finalized by 5 p.m."
And while she has received positive feedback from Wildfire, Gerber has been pleasantly surprised by the response to Evil's Witness. She believes this is partially due to the book's inspiration: her surroundings.
"People come up to me all the time and say how wonderful it is to read about things they are familiar with," Gerber said. "They can all tell right away what I based my setting on."
Evil's Witness tells the story of Stephanie Boyd, an elementary school nurse who gets caught up in a violent plot involving the Russian Mafia, the FBI and the U.S. Treasury. Gerber claims that the story's plot was born out of two otherwise unrelated incidents she was privy to during her time as a secretary for East Penn Trucking.
"We once hauled materials for the Treasury and we once had a whole tractor trailer stolen from our lot," she said. "I got to thinking what would happen if the truck was stolen during our contract with the Treasury, particularly how local people would deal with such a situation."
In preparation for writing the novel, Gerber supplemented her extensive knowledge of the trucking industry with research conducted alongside various FBI agents.
"It's an exciting story, but I'm confident that a lot of its elements will be familiar to readers, especially those who are from our area," she said.
To celebrate the book's release, Gerber will be signing copies of Evil's Witness at the Lehighton Area Memorial Library on Aug. 21 starting at 10:30 a.m. At the event, the author will share her personal story, particularly how she found success in publishing her stories.
"I've wanted to be a writer my entire life," she said, "but I decided to put it aside for my family.
"Eventually, I hope to become a professional author, and turn my passion into a career."