Later this week, local author Janice McLeod will be hosting a book signing for her second collection of short stories “Beyond the Horizon.” The event will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12 at Marvin’s Place Art Gallery located at 103 West Main. In addition to signing copies of her work, the author will also be debuting a new story specifically written for the occasion.

McLeod said she began writing later in life after she retired from her career as an interior designer.

“I had been an interior designer for my working years, and I had never written anything more exciting than a business letter! I never knew that I had anything to say or how to say it,” McLeod said. She ultimately started writing after a friend suggested she try writing to stay busy while recuperating from a series of surgeries.

“I thought, ‘well, it will be something to do,’ so I just started getting up in the morning when the house was quiet and taking my mug of coffee to my big brown chair by the window and I would just write whatever came to my mind,” McLeod said. “Over time I was really quite surprised by what was coming out.”

McLeod said that all of her stories are very different. Though they take place in different eras, different parts of the country and deal with characters in a wide range of circumstances, they are all meant to be uplifting and inspirational.

“You might even say that it’s sort of a Christian fiction that I write because most of the people in my stories — through time and circumstance — come to realize that there has to be something bigger than themselves and their own problems,” McLeod said. “It’s in making that discovery that they rise about and find wholeness and a hope for a new life. I think that’s important. We all need a little hope out there.”

McLeod said whenever she does a public reading of her work it’s always important to her to give the audience something that is not already in print.

“Whenever I go out to do a public reading I never like to do anything that’s published because I want the reader to always be able to enjoy every story in the book brand new, not having heard it before,” McLeod said. 

McLeod will have copies of both of her books, “Beyond the Horizon” and “Bridges,” available for purchase at Thursday’s event. The books are also available in both paperback and ebook formats at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.