Authors draw fans to ... a casino?

A program at Connecticut's Mohegan Sun titled 'Winning Authors' brings bestselling authors to the casino, drawing crowds of hundreds.

Jessica Hill/AP
The Casino of the Wind is part of the Mohegan Sun location in Uncasville, Conn.

Many may go to a casino for gambling, partying with friends, or to see a musical act. 

But how many go to see their favorite author answer questions?

The Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., has welcomed a number of well-known authors to its casino floor through its Winning Authors program. Bold-face names like Nora Roberts, Lee Child, and Mary Higgins Clark have all participated in the series.

Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority CEO Mitchell Etess, who helped found the series, told the Boston Globe that welcoming authors is just one more way to attract visitors.

“We try to use [authors] as a way to drive people into the casino,” Etess, who used to co-own an independent bookstore, said. “People come to see famous people in whatever their trade.”

The series works best with authors who have their own following, according to writer Abbi Glines, who participated in the Winning Authors program in November. Glines, Jamie McGuire, and Colleen Hoover are all authors who write books in the new adult genre and said that the fact that their readers aren’t your average fan mean they’re more likely to be come to unusual venues as well.

“One of the things about this genre is that we have countless, countless readers who tell us that they’ve never read a book before, or they didn’t enjoy reading,” Glines told the Globe. “It’s not your literary reader – it’s people who enjoy the escape, the excitement, and the passion.”

For their event, Glines, McGuire, and Hoover attracted a crowd of about 200 fans who participated in the question-and-answer session and book signing afterward, which lasted for at least three hours.

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