Monday, January 19, 2015

Home Town Pride and the Perfect Cup of Coffee

See? It doesn't rain all the time.

So this post has no agenda. I'm not going to tell you about business plans or writing craft or some book you really ought to read. For just a few hundred words here, I'm going to squee! Because I live in a pretty cool place - and that's not just because a certain football team pulled a miracle out of their collective asses on a recent Sunday afternoon.

Don't even ask me how many times I listened to Macklemore's Can't Hold Us yesterday.

A couple months ago, my agent Margaret hit Seattle for a brief layover on her way to a conference. I picked her up at the airport and we drove into town to meet one of her other clients for lunch. Tracy writes mysteries based around a yoga studio - her newest, A Killer Retreat, just released - and as the three of us explored the city, both Tracy & I pointed out locations from our books.

That's right. It wasn't, "Oh Margaret, look over there. It's the Space Needle."

We were all, "Hey, right there is where so-and-so got killed," or "Up that block is where Ryan's parents' live."

(psst...Ryan's parents live only in my mind, and in the pages of a book...)

When you think of Seattle, what comes to mind? Rain? Coffee? Flannel shirts and hiking books? My Seattle has all that, along with really smart people who like to read books and watch movies. There's an ocean, a Sound, islands, two mountain ranges, and a whole bunch of lakes that regularly blow my mind with their beauty. There's a culture of politely independent thinking that some call the Seattle Freeze, but I tend to think of as doing my thing without getting in anyone else's way.

There's a mosque a couple blocks from my house, and there's a country band that rehearses in my basement. (The Fentons...They're awesome.) There's a surprising history of police corruption I learned about in my research for my novel Aqua Follies, and there's a stronger history and tradition of good jazz music that I hope to explore in an upcoming project. Our basketball team was stolen - I still can't watch an NBA game without getting pissed off - and our football team's gonna play for the Super Bowl again this year.

And yeah, you can get some pretty good coffee in this town.

Writing forces me to learn a city in ways I otherwise wouldn't, and on one level, the stories I set in Seattle are more like love letters. This is a cool place, and I want to share bits of it people otherwise wouldn't see.

Go Hawks!

If you've got a favorite city, or have set a book in your home town, tell us about it in the comments. Or if, you know, you just like coffee...

Cool photo of a not-so-attractive building.


  1. I wasn't sure your Hawks were gonna pull it off, but they did! I've been lucky, my husband has travelled a lot for work and I've gotten to tag along and have seen quite a few cites (including beautiful Seattle) here and in Europe. I love them all and can't think of one place that I haven't enjoyed.

    That being said, I'm a NYer and always will be. There is no other city like it on earth - that I've been to yet, LOL :)

  2. I haven't been to NYC since I was 18 years old, Debbie, but I'm pretty sure there's a certain Italian restaurant that's holding a reservation for us...

  3. LOL - yes the reservation will never expire, so take your time, but get here someday!

  4. Seattle sounds pretty cool. Recently I watched one of those House-hunter shows where somebody was looking to buy a houseboat in Seattle, and they made it look like a neat place to live.

    I think if I were to pick a favorite city, it would be Bergen, Norway.

  5. Have you spent a lot of time in Norway, Mike? I've never been anyplace close, though it would be pretty cool to visit...

  6. I enjoy seeing Seattle through your eyes. Glad to hear your upcoming projects will be set there. I visited Seattle almost 20 years ago (yikes!) and enjoyed it a lot.

  7. I've spent about a month and a half there spread out over three separate trips. Stuff is pretty expensive there, but it is a cool place to visit. Tons of natural beauty :)

  8. If you ever come back, Ellen, you know you've got a place to crash!

  9. Something else to add to the bucket list, Mike...