Judine and I serve on the organizing committee, our primary use to trick, cajole or otherwise persuade authors to serve as guests when we give them room and board but pay them nothing. Not always too easy, but this year we were lucky to have 4 terrific authors. The sweet-natured and always charming Kevin O’Brien, author of some 15 thrillers that will curl your short hairs, was a huge hit with everyone. Kevin talked about his strange career, his truly terrifying books, and his life in Seattle. He went out of his way to talk to everyone who showed interest, and he won over people who until this weekend had never heard of him. Robert Dugoni, also from Seattle, a practicing attorney and author of legal thrillers, talked about the seminal moments in his writing career that have initiated choices and defined his success. He talked about his family and their importance in his life, and he was candid about the struggles he endured to reach his current success as a best-selling author. Another hit. Whitney Otto, best know for her critically-acclaimed book, How To Make An American Quilt – a book almost everyone on the planet has read by now – talked about her latest, 8 Girls Taking Pictures. Using a power point presention, she explained the genesis of her interest in the real-life women around which her fictional book is based, detailing the reasons for their importance and roads they took to become independent and self-empowered during their lives.
Everyone was captured by the depth of her feeling for her characters. Finally, our banquet speaker was Brian Doyle, who in my estimation remains one of the two or three most innovative and unpredictable speakers in the world of books. With Brian, you get passion and laughter in equal amounts. His book, Mink River, remains one of my favorites. He left everyone, at various times, either in stitches or near tears.
All four authors and a few spouses came to our house for dinner on Friday night where we talked shop and told lies. What authors do, you know. The weekend was fun and informative for everyone I spoke to, including the writers, so we will do it again next year.
If you can come, you should. Lots of surprises in store. We will announce out writers lineup sometime before the end of summer right here on my website.