I was intrigued by Laurie Frankel’s second novel, “Good-bye For Now.” When Laurie’s protagonist Sam, a brilliant computer programmer, is fired from his job, he begins casting about for something to do. Seeing his girlfriend Meredith so bereaved by her grandmother’s unexpected death, Sam devises a way to virtually recreate and communicate with her.
This book is very much about death, so I fully expected some form of religion or spirituality to pop up, but Laurie cleverly skirts the issue throughout.
It didn’t start out that way, the author told me. “Originally, Meredith and her family were Jewish,” she shared, “but I took it out.” It started to make certain plot elements too complicated in a book already dealing with complex issues.
“In my brain, my heart, I think their family is Jewish,” says the Seattle author.
“A lot of things had to fall away to talk about the things I wanted to keep,” she reflects, calling it “the painful cutting part.”
The Seattle author points out that she got to make the characters in her first novel “Atlas” Jewish.
The former University of Puget Sound writing and literature professor grew up in Columbia, Md., near Baltimore, and comes from a long line of Baltimoreans. She moved out here because “I met a boy,” she laughs, who she eventually married.
“I was teaching in Baltimore” and would spend summers in Seattle, which “caused me to believe that Seattle was a sparkling, light-filled city,” she says. “And then there was February.”
That said, she adds, “I love it out here.”
The mother of a 5-year-old son, Laurie now writes full time.
“It was hard to teach full-time, and raise a child full-time, and write full-time,” she observes.
Laurie uses the five-and-a-half hours her son is in kindergarten to “sit down and write, write, write, write.” She is hard at work on her next novel.
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Issaquah author Jane Isenberg received a WILLA award recently from Women Writing in the West. Jane won in the original softcover fiction category for her Seattle-centric historical novel “The Bones and the Book.” The competition seeks out the best of published literature concerning women’s or girls’ stories set in the North American West.
A retired professor who also penned the Bel Barrett mystery series, Jane maintains a blog of appreciation for other writers called Notes to My Muses (www.notestomymuses.wordpress.com).
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A new edition of David Volk’s “Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Seattle” is out with “a new cover…a new introduction…[and] 40 new listings in the first four chapters alone — theater, film, music and comedy,” the author tells me. Plus, he adds, “it comes fully loaded with rack-and-pinion steering.”
Okay, he made that last part up, but this guide to everything cheap or free in the Seattle area does come fully loaded with David’s quirky sense of humor.
David maintains a blog of daily deals at cheapbastardseattle.com. He suggests the book will make a great Hanukkah present, too. If you want to see David in person, check out upcoming readings at the Mercer Island Library at 7 p.m. on Thurs., Nov. 14 and at the Bellevue Library at 1 p.m. on Sat., Nov. 16th.
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It was a strange coincidence.
This summer the Seattle Times published an article on Soap Lake, the small Eastern Washington town known for its medicinal mud. Ten days later I got an email from retired Hollywood screenwriter Michael Druxman, saying a screenplay he’d written about Soap Lake was going to be performed there this coming summer.
“The Summer Folk” is a “slightly fictionalized account of the summers that our family spent in Soap Lake” in the late 1940s to early ’50s, the Seattle native wrote.
It now turns out the play won’t be produced, but Michael is continually publishing his screenplays on Amazon.com and producing promotional videos. He’s also just written his second memoir, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Hollywood.”
“The first 25 percent is all Seattle,” he told me, and his play about Carole Lombard was produced earlier this year in Ft. Wayne, Ind., her hometown.
Find these, audio plays, and more of Michael’s work at www.druxmanworks.com.