Nearly four years ago, Tom and I took action on a somewhat thought out semi-crazy idea. We met at a park in Coupeville, WA, and hiked down a winding dirt path to the beach below. We sat down on some rocks, and I fired up my recording unit. What followed — in addition to the sounds of waves, seagulls, and local jets — was our first two Writing On Whidbey Island podcast episodes. (Episodes One & Two)
Our recording sessions have taken us all over our beloved island, and we’ve had the pleasure of spending time with several magnificent people from our local writing community. During this time our show has grown in meaning and listeners — even gaining recognition beyond the greater literary community here on the island.
A little over a week ago, Tom and I met at the Coupeville Library for a special show — moreover, one that was bittersweet for me. For personal reasons, Tom announced his departure from Writing On Whidbey Island — chiefly, it’s because he’s a busy guy!
It was great to spend time with Tom, discussing our earlier episodes, what the show has developed into and contributed to the community, and getting to talk about the future of Writing On Whidbey Island. I couldn’t have started this podcast without Tom, and as a founding member of WOWI he has set the show on its unique path. With any luck, Tom will rejoin the show as a future guest with one of his next book releases.
Well, that didn’t go as planned; but it may have come out better. Don and I decided to book ourselves for the last interview of the year. Gaps in our schedules coincided, Coupeville Library was nice enough to let us use their meeting room, and the two of us sat down to talk about Don’s books and projects, and my books and projects. We did that, but the conversation drifted over to what life is like for authors in the shopping and selling season.
We also talked about the value of talking to other members of our writing community. Writing does not have to be a solo venture. Fellow writers can provide insights into how readers perceive a book. The author may have one intent, but readers may find something else that is not obvious to someone who wrote, edited, and repeatedly read the book before it was published. Bicycling books may appeal to RV owners. Travel books may appeal to people from countries that weren’t visited or even mentioned.
This podcast has become an unplanned, informal, yet possibly useful resource built from the contributions and interviews of dozens of members of Whidbey Island’s writing community. Book store owners can bring some reality to expectations. Librarians can point to overlooked resources for research or even funding. Writers from your genre undoubtedly have encountered surprises, the good ones the bad ones and the weird ones. Successful and failed campaigns are useful as long as we learn from them. And, of course, writers can support writers simply by listening to frustrations or understanding otherwise obscure celebrations. (You finally found the right font!)
Thanks to everyone who participates by listening, being interviewed, and sharing.
I hope you enjoy the podcast, and I hope your sales treat you well.
Just Keep Pedaling, a bicycle ride across America (one man’s failed attempt to lose weight, really) Twelve Months at Barclay Lake – from the wet side of Washington’s Cascades (party party) Twelve Months at Lake Valhalla – from the cold crest of the Cascades (frozen more than thawed) Twelve Months at Merritt Lake – from the dry side of the Cascades (with more than a whiff of smoke) Dream. Invest. Live. – personal finance for frugal folks (by request) Walking Thinking Drinking Across Scotland – but could’ve used more drinking Kettle Pot Cup – a light-hearted look at the way we really drink tea Firewatcher – book one of the Exodus/Genesis sci-fi series
Twelve Months at Cultus Bay Twelve Months at Deception Pass Twelve Months at Admiralty Head Twelve Months at Penn Cove Twelve Months at Double Bluff Twelve Months at Maxwelton Beach Twelve Months at Possession Beach Twelve Months at Possession Preserve Twelve Months at Dugualla Bay
Wait — WHAT — WOWI is 3 years old?!? Yeah — that’s right — 3 years ago Tom and I sat down and recorded our first Writing On Whidbey Island episode! I remember it fondly … a beach in Coupeville … with waves, and seagulls, and jets. This past Wednesday, Tom and I sat down — this time at a picnic table (we’re moving up!) — meeting for our 3 year anniversary show … with seagulls and near the water of Oak Harbor … with the potential for overhead jets … so, actually, not much has changed.
Oak Harbor’s newly remodeled Windjammer Park served as our backdrop. Our audience was a flock seagulls, while our special effects were ash and smoke that smelled like charming pipe-tobacco emanating from the southern Washington forest fire.
Tom and I discussed how the show has grown over 3 years, where it’s going, what we each have been up to in writing lately (*See Links Below*), and our upcoming From Inspiration To Publication workshop . This 1-day workshop will be co-presented in Coupeville WA October 15th 2022 by Tom and myself — See You There!
Tom has two new books recently published! Check out …
Nature photographer, author, and presenter Amy Gulick kindly took a recent afternoon for a WOWI interview with Tom and myself. Having spent time in Alaska studying the ecology and wildlife, she has made sense of the heavy sciencey-stuff and presents it in her books, such-as “Salmon In The Trees”.
Amy was great to meet with, and clearly is one of the most animated guests I can remember in our nearly three years of podcasting. The passion for her work drove this episode, and was a joy to personally experience. I have no doubt our listeners will be similar thrilled to listen to this WOWI session!
Find out about Amy Gulick and her work everywhere online:
You know how sometimes you can be completely wrapped up in your own little world, busy having an ‘off day’, when something grabs you and turns everything around? Some amazing thing pops into your gnarled perspective that makes you do a one-eighty and say, “WOW!”? Recently, I had one of these turn-around-WOW experiences with Victoria Ventris Shea and her debut book “Shagoon”.
This past Wednesday* Tom and I had the absolute pleasure of meeting with Whidbey author “Vickie” Shea. She kindly invited us in to here delightful home for our April WOWI recording session. (*National Tartan Day)
Vickie shared with us how the idea for her historical fiction book “Shagoon” came to life. Taking place during the 18th century, her story travels between Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and Hawaii. Its focal point is Ana, a young (Native American) Tlingit girl, who crosses paths with Captain Vancouver aboard the Discovery, a Hawaiian queen and even a Russian leader as she searches for her Tlingit family. Not only is this a book I’m looking forward to reading soon, it’s also a movie I’d like to see.
After this, Vickie went on to tell us about her next book, “Brick, Lime and Moonshine”. Taking place during Prohibition in The Inland Northwest, “Brick, Lime and Moonshine” looks at life from the ground level – focusing on the rural people of the period as they worked just to continue on. Of course that’s not all – her book also recalls “…flapper fun, dance halls, drinking houses and serenades on Loon Lake.”
Now … here’s the “WOW” …
In talking with Vickie, clearly she is humble about her writing. Like most of us, she doesn’t like to brag when talking about her literary work. However, both Tom and I noticed that when she discussed her stories that she holds a unique passion. When we asked her directly about this, we could see the smile in her eyes! Meeting someone like Vickie can turn around your day, and surely her stories will take you away. She loves writing, and I have no doubt that I will enjoy making the personal discovery of her work.