Ah, summer in the Pacific Northwest. What better time of the year to sit under the shade of a big tree and enjoy the literary works of those who have also been inspired by such surroundings? Seattle is no stranger to great writers and limiting them to a short list of just five is no simple task. However, here are five of the best who call the greater Seattle area their home:
Steve Martini began his professional career in the area of journalism as a reporter. Surprisingly, his specialty was not legal issues. Soon he was covering legal-related stories by day while attending law school at night. In 1984, Martini turned his attention to fiction writing in the form of a novel, “The Simeon Chamber.” Since then, Martini has written 14 other novels, many with a legal slant. Two of his works, “Undue Influence” and “The Judge,” were created into mini-series. Martini’s latest release, “Trader of Secrets,” came out in 2011.
One of the area’s most eccentric authors is Tom Robbins of LaConner. While he tends to write stories that are half comedy and half drama, his latest, “B is for Beer,” is considered to be a children’s book for grown-ups or a grown-up book for children. Yes, it is a book with little type and lots of illustrations of beer. His book, “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,” was created into a movie that starred Uma Thurman, Lorraine Bracco and Keanu Reeves. Robbins supplied the voiceover narration. Last October, Robins received the Literary Lifetime Achievement Award from the Library of Virginia.
J. A. Jance
J. A. Jance read Frank Baum’s “Wizard of Oz” series in second grade and knew that she was to become a writer herself. However, it wasn’t until 1985 that her first book, “Until Proven Guilty,” was written featuring Detective J.P. Beumont who works in Seattle. Since then, 21 more Beau books have been written. Jance has also written 14 books based on a female sheriff, Joanna Brady, set in southeastern Arizona, where Jance grew up. Jance’s most recent work, “Deadly Stakes,” was released only a few months ago and features character Ali Reynolds, a “pajamas-clad blogger” in her eighth story.
Local children’s book author Bonny Becker also knew at an early age that she wanted to be a writer, but not until after attending college…twice. Becker has a degree in psychology as well as creative writing. Add that to her background of a variety of “day” jobs, Becker has a treasure trove of stories in her head that often make their way to the printed page. Becker has written a number of simple award-winning picture books as well as middle-grade novels. Her latest book, “The Sniffles for Bear,” was released in 2011 and features charming illustrations by Kady MacDonald Denton.
James L. Rubart
James L. Rubart made a splash with his first book, “Rooms,” published in 2010. While this Christian-fiction writer has his share of critics, he has also been praised and compared to better-known Christian authors like Ted Dekker or Frank Peretti. Only three years into the publishing world, Rubart will be publishing his fifth book, “Memory’s Door,” this year. While his stories are fiction, Rubart’s books feature many real locations here in the Pacific Northwest that local readers will appreciate. Rubart describes himself as “a husband, dad, author and marketing guy…in that order.”
Jeffrey Totey is a freelance writer living in Seattle. He has a love for the arts and is a student of pop culture. He covers stories about the performing arts, theater, museums, cultural events, movies and more in the greater Seattle area. His work can be found at Examiner.com.