The best authors capture a “sense of place.”
For Pacific Northwest readers, there is nothing better than writers whose work evokes the familiar scenery and landmarks of their much-loved, rain-swept home.
Ragan Myers has been working to assemble many of them under the same roof.
The city of Long Beach events coordinator is among those excited about the prospect of multiple authors descending on her hometown Oct. 5.
They will gather for a Pacific Northwest author showcase and book fair at the Chautauqua Lodge, 304 14th St., N.W., just north of downtown Long Beach.
The third-annual “Books at Long Beach” will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.
The authors represent genres from sci-fi to historical fiction to “paranormal romances.”
Some from the North Coast offer varied writing experience.
For example, Jan Bono, a retired Long Beach Peninsula teacher, is a prolific award-winning writer whose work spans humor, poetry, cozy mysteries and tales featuring the Old West. She is one of the most published contributors to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books.
In contrast, long-time poet Jennifer Nightingale of Astoria has just published her first novel, “Alberta and The Spark,” a coming-of-age story about a 13-year-old girl living in a community that appears remarkably similar to Willapa Bay in the 1970s.
“My voice as a writer and a poet is inexorably linked to the flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest watershed,” Nightingale said. “The rain, the rust, the dreamers and the oyster farms are tough and yet fragile. The coastal wild places and communities inform me and give me context.”
“I hope I can bring attention to this battered place, with its determined and resilient communities. Its mudflats, tidal rivers and estuaries are sacred places to me,” Nightingale said.
Portland resident Amy Cissell feels a similar connection. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels. Her first series, the Eleanor Morgan Novels, was in part inspired by the Northwest.
Her second series, the Oracle Bay novels, are set in the fictional Oracle Bay, which she calls a mix between Oysterville and Ocean Park. “The crew of psychics and friends regularly take trips down to Long Beach and occasionally Astoria,” she said.
The Peninsula’s ambiance convinced her.
“The first time I visited, I knew that’s where they lived,” she said. “I’d been checking out spots up and down the Oregon Coast, and then on a whim decided to visit Long Beach. It was perfect.”
“I love the feel of the towns, the scenery and wildlife, the availability of good food and drink, and being tucked between the Bay and the ocean,” she said.
Nonfiction outdoors writing by Allan Fritz appears online at southwestwashingtonpaddletrips.wordpress.com. His book is “Southwest Washington Paddle Trips: 70 Paddleboat Launch Sites with destinations.”
The work is a practical guide for people who love to kayak, canoe or paddleboard. It covers Washington locales from Ocean Shores, east to Stella and Clatskanie, and south in Oregon to the Nehalem River at Wheeler — all places where Fritz paddled before featuring them.
A map with GPS coordinates is printed with each and Fritz posts online updates if conditions change significantly. His selections avoid whitewater rapids or surfing beaches.
Gregory E. Zschomler is based in Aberdeen, Washington, where he runs Harbor Books, an independent bookstore, and helps authors get published.
He edited 22 short stories about farm life and country living in the Pacific Northwest from 16 Oregon and Washington authors and produced “Chicken Poop on My Sole” — the title a play on the mainstream series that Bono writes for.
His own dozen publications include humor writing. One of his stories, called “Feelin’ Squirrely,” is about a critter who visited his prior home in Cannon Beach. Another, “The Day Renny Skaraosten Saved the North Coast,” is about a Tillamook cheese maker whose flatulence is so bad it can blow a tsunami back out to sea.
“I write about my experiences growing up in the Pacific Northwest, but also involve my travels in what I write,” he said.
Brian Ratty of Warrenton writes nonfiction, fiction and is a photographer. He said during the past 35 years, he has “traveled the vast wilderness of the Pacific Coast in search of images and stories that reflect the spirit and splendor of those spectacular lands.”
One of his books is a history of the Tillamook Head Lighthouse nicknamed “Terrible Tilly.” His historical fiction seeks to portray adventures with bold characters. One work, “Destination Astoria: Odyssey to the Pacific,” features an 1810 fur trapper.
He spent 18 months researching “Voyage of Atonement,” a story about survivors from World War II prisoner-of-war camps who sail from the Columbia River to Tahiti and discover a sunken submarine loaded with Nazi gold.
Also featured will be Rosie McGee of Portland, whose behind-the-scenes photos have been published in multiple biographies or exhibits about the “long, strange trip” of the Grateful Dead, and whose “Dancing with the Dead — A Photographic Memoir” tells intimate stories of San Francisco’s 1960s counterculture collected during the 10 years she was a member of the band’s entourage.
For Ragan Myers, the organizer, putting the project together has meant joy as well as work. The authors impress her, not least Gerald Moriarty, of Buckley, Washington, who at 83 is publishing his eighth book. He started writing when he was 79. “It’s never too late,” Myers said.
But the temptation of attending an event where authors sell their books is excruciating. “I just want them all,” she laughed. “There’s not enough time to read everything I want to read!”