This is a guest post by Hester Serebrin, who will be occasionally writing for Choice Words.
On Thursday, Transportation Choices, in conjunction with King County Metro, King County Library System, Richard Hugo House, and Pacific Northwest Booksellers launched Books on the Bus (BOB), a book club for transit riders in King County.
Want in on the fun? Go out and grab a copy of this quarter’s book, Hotel Angeline. The story revolves around a “rickety former mortuary perched atop Capitol Hill in rain-soaked Seattle” and its quirky tenants, and if early reviews (or the glowing forward to the book by beloved celebrity librarian Nancy Pearl) are any indication, this book is not to be missed.
But even more interesting than the book is the process behind it…
Hotel Angeline is the product of “The Novel: Live!” – an extraordinary event of author collaboration and marathon writing conceived by Seattle7Writers co-founders Jennie Shortridge and Garth Stein. In the book’s introduction, Stein describes his initial vision:
“We would write twelve hours a day for six days. Each writer would take a two-hour stint, requiring thirty-six authors. We would do it in a public place, on a stage, with an audience. We would simulcast it on the Internet, have a chat room function, raise money for our causes. We would bring in school field trips, auction off naming rights, and, hopefully, get it published. But best of all, we would energize readers and writers everywhere for a once-in-a-lifetime event!”
Richard Hugo House offered up the space, and on October 11, 2010, at 10:00 a.m., the fun commenced. Still, it was no free-for-all. Stein is quick to explain the careful groundwork that took place behind the scenes:
“Before we began, an editorial committee was convened […] we brainstormed a story idea and outlined a plot. […] in addition to each author reading the text that had already been written, he or she also met with an “editor” before taking the stage. The editor reviewed the narrative arc and the themes, and made suggestions about where we had to go next. Outside of these specific plot necessities, the writer was free to let his or her imagination roam.”
Seattle7Writers’s mission is twofold: to raise awareness of Northwest literature, and to give back to their community by doing good works for literacy causes, and the Hotel Angeline project is no exception. The book showcases the talents of thirty-six local writers*, and half of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to support local literacy nonprofits – Powerful Schools and 826 Seattle.
Hotel Angeline is available in e-book and paperback. If you opt for the paper version, visit your favorite independent bookstore to pick up a copy, or check one out at the library. Both Seattle Public Library and King County Library System have copies available. (Note to the motion sickness-prone: although Hotel Angeline isn’t yet available on audiobook, that’s no reason to sit this quarter of BOB out; if you read the book at home, you’ll be just as ready to join in the conversation mid-commute.)
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* Hotel Angeline was written by Kathleen Alcalá, Matthew Amster-Burton, Kit Bakke, Erica Bauermeister, Sean Beaudoin, Dave Boling, Deb Caletti, Carol Cassella, William Dietrich, Robert Dugoni, Kevin Emerson, Karen Finneyfrock, Clyde Ford, Jamie Ford, Elizabeth George, Mary Guterson, Maria Dahvana Headley, Teri Hein, Stephanie Kallos, Erik Larson, David Lasky, Stacey Levine, Frances McCue, Jarret Middleton, Peter Mountford, Kevin O’Brien, Julia Quinn, Nancy Rawles, Suzanne Selfors, Jennie Shortridge, Ed Skoog, Garth Stein, Greg Stump, Indu Sundaresan, Craig Welch and Susan Wiggs. Foreword by Nancy Pearl. Introduction by Garth Stein.