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Journalist and author Kathleen McCleary, who inaugurated the popular Larkin Square Authors Series when she spoke to a group one year ago, will return to the Filling Station at Larkin Square from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Monday to talk about her novel “Leaving Haven.”

McCleary had an instant rapport with the crowd last year when she spoke inside the Filling Station restaurant on Seneca Street, according to Leslie Zemsky, director of fun at Larkin Square.

McCleary not only discussed her earlier novels, “A Simple Thing” and “House and Home,” but also talked about writing and her path to being published.

“Last year, she told the story of how she ended up getting her first book published, with a lot of humility and a sense of humor and wonder,” Zemsky said.

“Leaving Haven” tells the story of two longtime best friends who are each grappling with challenges to their apparently happy families. The book begins with one of the women, who struggled to have a baby, abandoning her newborn son, Haven, in the hospital shortly after giving birth.

“What readers like about her books is that she has an outstanding ability to capture real families, marriages and everyday living,” Zemsky said. “I emailed her after I finished and asked her how she captures a long-term marriage so well, and she replied it is because she is in one!”

Events in the Larkin Square Author Series, which Zemsky calls “a fun twist on the typical book talk,” usually include a question-and-answer session and a book signing. The series is presented by First Niagara and sponsored by Independent Health, Larkin Square and Talking Leaves Books, which will sell copies of McCleary’s books at the event. The talk is free and open to all; beer, wine and light refreshments will be sold by the Filling Station.

Zemsky said McCleary, who lives in Virginia, helped the Larkin Square series grow by praising her experience here and recommending that other authors participate in it.

“Kathy is thrilled to be returning to Buffalo,” Zemsky said. “We’re excited to welcome her back, both to show her how the series has grown and to again introduce to our guests a nationally renowned author in this informal setting.”

email: aneville@buffnews.com