Seattle Shakedown Newsletter

October 25, 2023

This newsletter is going out to all registrants of Tucson 2023 and Seattle 2024. Tucson registrants will remain on our newsletter list through the Lefty Nomination period in mid-January. (Not sure if you are registered for Seattle? Check the Seattle Attendee page for your name.)

To unsubscribe, click the link at the bottom of the newsletter and you will be removed from our list (and will not receive a Lefty Nomination form).

We are introducing three of our Special Guests in this newsletter: Guest of Honor Megan Abbott, Fan Guest of Honor Fran Fuller, and Ghost of Honor John Okada. [Guest of Honor Robert Dugoni and Toastmaster Wanda Morris were featured in an earlier newsletter.]

Q&A with Guest of Honor Megan Abbott

Q: Your latest novel BEWARE THE WOMAN is set in what would seem to be a place of freedom, the wilds of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, yet Jacy feels very isolated because of the inability to communicate with the outside world. Can you talk a little bit about that setting?

Megan Abbott: I’m from Michigan and its Upper Peninsula has always fascinated me—its beauty and remoteness, its own cultural traditions and idiosyncrasies. It turned out to be the perfect setting for a thriller because of its many mysteries. The more I dug into its lore, the more it gave me.

Q: Tell us about the gothic element, the echoes of Daphne du Maurier's REBECCA, the pervasive feelings of fear, the blurring between reality and imagining.

MA: Women, throughout history, have been called “hysterical,” “paranoid,” “too much,” “too sensitive”—all for speaking up, speaking out. And gothic fiction has always been a place to explore that tension. It’s a genre where female experience is highlighted, foregrounded, given full narrative power. Jacy’s experience of the world becomes ours and we understand that what she’s being told is her “paranoia” is really her very sharp instincts that others are trying to control her.

Q: Can you say anything about what you are working on now, or is that top secret?

MA: I’m adapting Beware the Woman for a feature film. Very exciting! And also deep into a new book…

Q: What kinds of books did you love when you were a child/adolescent?

MA: I read everything as a kid. I was a compulsive reader in a family of compulsive readers. I read everything from the Betsy-Tacy books and Little Women to Agatha Christie and countless Hollywood books. By high school, it was a mix of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ann Rule, Faulkner and James Ellroy. I’ve always been a promiscuous reader and remain one!

Q: What are you looking forward to about the Seattle Shakedown convention in April 2024?

MA: I love Seattle and I love the smaller conferences, so I’m thrilled to be coming. You get to have real conversations. You get to see some sights. You get to meet new people and reconnect with old friends, often over cocktails. You get to talk for days on end about books. Nothing better than that.

Megan Abbott is the Edgar-winning author of the novels Beware the Woman, The Turnout, Give Me Your Hand, You Will Know Me, The Fever, Dare Me, The End of Everything, Bury Me Deep, Queenpin, The Song Is You, and Die a Little. Her work has won or been nominated for the CWA Steel Dagger, the International Thriller Writers Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and five Edgar awards. Formerly a staff writer on HBO’s David Simon show, The Deuce, she is now co-creator, executive producer and show-runner of Dare Me, based upon her novel, for the USA Network and, internationally, Netflix. Born in the Detroit area, she graduated from the University of Michigan and received her Ph.D. in English and American literature from New York University. She has taught at NYU, the State University of New York and the New School University. In 2013-14, she served as the John Grisham Writer in Residence at Ole Miss.
        Website | Facebook

Fan Guest of Honor Fran Fuller

Working at Seattle Mystery Bookshop was the culmination of a lifetime of reading for me. I grew up in a small southern New Mexico town with an absolutely outstanding library, and my mom and grandmother were avid readers so I never stood a chance. I've always been drawn to puzzles, so mysteries were obvious. I did read Nancy and the Hardys and the Bobbseys, but I also went farther afield and fell hard for Bruce Campbell’s Ken Holt series. Yeah, I read horse stories and dog stories and cat stories. I was a girl, after all. But I always came back to the puzzles, and mysteries.

As a teacher, I managed to incorporate mysteries into my curriculum along with the required reading. Subversive as always. And when I became a seller/buyer for Half Price Books, being put in charge of the mystery section only made sense. Imagine the grief I gave my assistant manager when he got the Graftons out of order! It was at HPB that my tastes really deepened because I was caught up in the book world. When JB asked me at my interview for Seattle Mystery Bookshop who I read, I could reel off not just Jonathan Kellerman and Carolyn Hart but Rennie Airth and Barbara Hambly.

Now that I’m out of the book world officially, I can’t let go of it completely. I never will. I’ve met too many wonderful people, writers and fans and sellers and publishers and, well, you get the picture, and they’re so important to me, I can’t begin to articulate it. Books, especially mysteries, will always be my friends, but I’ve come a long way from that shy kid in small town NM, and I’ve grown to love the people behind the books. I can’t think of a greater gift.

Ghost of Honor John Okada

Born in 1923 in Seattle and raised there by his issei parents, John Okada was a college freshman at the University of Washington when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Sent along with his entire family to a “relocation center” in southern Idaho, Okada joined the thousands of other loyal American nissei in enlisting in the U.S. armed forces.

Okada served in the Army Air Force overflying Japanese positions and translating intercepted radio traffic. After the war he returned to Seattle, earned advanced degrees from both the University of Washington and Columbia University, and wrote his only published novel, No-No Boy, a story about a Japanese-American who refused to fight in World War II and his return home to Seattle after the war.

After several years attempting to get his novel published, Okada found an English language publisher based in Japan willing to invest in a small print run in 1956. The novel was panned by critics and ignored by a public not yet ready to give a hard look at conduct on the home front during the war.

Okada died of a heart attack in 1971. His widow, heart-broken at being unable to find an academic institution willing to take on his papers, burned them, along with a mostly complete draft of a second novel, research notes and all. It was only through the efforts of a determined group of Asian American authors that No-No Boy found new publishers: the University of Washington Press in 1976 and Penguin Classics in 2019.

An Asian American theme house was established at Stanford University in 1971 to create community and center the experiences of a very small and primarily first generation Asian American student population. Renamed in 1979 after John Okada, who is recognized as the first Asian American novelist, Okada House continues to explore and celebrate the diversity of Asian American peoples, cultures, and languages in a historical and contemporary context.

Along with his widow and two children, he was also survived by his younger brother, the celebrated abstract impressionist painter Frank Okada. John Okada was laid to rest at Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park in Seattle.

Things To See and Do

LCC 2024 offers lots of great reasons to come early, stay late, and otherwise extend your stay in the Pacific Northwest. Download this Things To See and Do pdf for recommendations from the local Co-Chairs.

Bellevue Botanical Gardens

Transportation Information

Air Travel
  ◉ Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac, or SEA) is 16 miles from the Hyatt Regency Bellevue. SEA is one of the country’s busiest airports, so you should have many choices of airlines and arrival/departure times.
  ◉ Paine Field (PAE) in Everett, Snohomish County, Washington, is a new, small commercial airport currently served only by Alaska Airlines from a few western-USA cities including Las Vegas, Phoenix, and San Francisco. Paine Field is 26 miles from the Hyatt Regency Bellevue and the only convenient way to get from Paine Field to the conference hotel is by car.

Ground Transportation from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
  ◉ The taxi stand is on the transit island in the parking garage across the street from the airport. Cross the bridge from the airport to the parking garage and follow signs down one level by escalator or elevator to the taxi stand.
  ◉ App-based ride share (Lyft, Uber) pick-up location is in the parking garage across the street from the airport. Cross the bridge from the airport to the parking garage and follow signs down one level by escalator or elevator, and then continue away from the terminal building a short distance to the pick-up location.
  ◉ Premier Airport Shuttle by Capital Aeroporter

To Seattle by rail / bus
From the north or the south, book a ticket to Seattle (SEA) – King Street Station. Depending on your route, the train/bus station is either 11 or 15 miles from the Hyatt Regency Bellevue by car. It is easiest and safest to take a taxi or an app-based ride share (Lyft, Uber) from the train/bus station to the Hyatt Regency Bellevue.

Transportation PDF
For more information about rental cars, public transportation, and transit apps, please download this very useful Transportation pdf with links to everything you might need.

Get Ready for the Lefty Nominations!

Don’t forget to make notes about all the wonderful books published in 2023 that you’ve read this year so you are ready when your Lefty Nomination Form arrives at the end of December.

Left Coast Crime 2024 Charity

Each Left Coast Crime Convention raises money to support a local literacy organization with funds raised through silent and live auctions. The 2024 beneficiary is Page Ahead Children’s Literacy Program which works to close the literacy opportunity gap that too often leaves children in communities of concentrated low income behind. Having access to books as a child is the foremost predictor of future academic advancement, even controlling for parental income and education level. Literacy can help break the cycle of inter-generational poverty, which affects families of color disproportionately. Books are some of the most important tools we have in the fight for economic equity and racial justice. Page Ahead serves Head Start and ECEAP preschool programs and elementary schools (typically kindergarten through second grade) in Washington state where 65% or more of their students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. By giving young students furthest from educational opportunity access to books and reading resources, Page Ahead works to close the literacy gap before it forms.

Left Coast Crime 2025

The 35th Left Coast Crime convention will be held March 13-16, 2025, in Denver, Colorado. Our hotel is the Westin Denver Downtown on the 16th Street Mall, a mile-long pedestrian-friendly mall, and a couple of blocks from Larimer Square, a picturesque city block of restaurants and shops. More information coming soon!