Talking West Seattle Blues

In just over a month, my next book, West Seattle Blues, will be coming out. It’s the second in my Seattle trilogy, and I’m every bit as proud of it as anything else I’ve published. The sad thing – certainly to me – is that the first volume, Emerald City, received scant attention. Yes, I tried the Seattle Times, but they weren’t interested, because it was only published as an ebook and audiobook. Doing it that way, and working with digital publishers Creative Content, was my decision (I did actually have another offer on the table).


I might not have lived in Seattle since 2005 (or America, for that matter), but I have great affection for the city, especially West Seattle, where I spent a total of 11 years. When I left, it was very different to the place I originally saw. Doubtless, it’s changed again.

I’m very proud that Gary Heffern, a name familiar to everyone in Seattle music circles, agreed to sing the song West Seattle Blues, which will be an extra on the ebook. As always, he did an incredible job, and I feel honoured that he was willing to do this.

Anyway, I’d like to whet your appetites with a three things. First, a short extract from the novel, then the audio trailer, and finally, a Spotify playlist to go with the book (which I’m not really making public until closer to publication date, so keep it to yourselves, k?). Ready? Okay, here we go—and remember, it’s out at the end of June.


He had a voice like a country song: a lifetime of heartbreak and failed promises in just four words. It was a sound like old leather that had been soaked in bourbon or rye.

“This is Carson Mack,” he announced.

I explained who I was, hearing his breathing on the other end of the line.

“I remember hearing your stuff on the radio, back in the day,” I continued.

“Yeah, I was all over that for a little while.” He gave a hoarse, world-weary chuckle.

“Tonia said you were thinking about a book?”

“I don’t know what I’m thinking, really,” Carson admitted. “It just seemed like an idea. I figured there might be someone at The Rocket who’d have a few ideas.”

I tried to be kind.“The only problem is those hits were a long time ago. Most people won’t know who you are now.”

“I’m trying to do a bit more now. And a book would be a good way for people to find out, right?”

“Yeah,” I agreed warily. “But a book’s only worthwhile if someone wants to publish it.”

“I guess. So you’re trying to tell me it’s a bullshit idea, huh?”

“I’m saying that a book might not be the easiest place to start. Music’s changed in twenty years.” All music had, including country. Now it all seemed to be guys in cowboy hats, or girls who looked like truck stop waitresses with a sideline in hooking. And the songs had more to do with pop music that any country stuff I ever knew.

“I know. I listen nowadays and I’m not even sure what’s going on.”

“Look, Carson,” I said, “how about this? Why don’t we start off by doing a piece for The Rocket and see how that goes? It’s a place to begin.

“You sure they want one? I don’t want charity.”

“I’m sure, they’ll print it.” I hoped they would, anyway.

“Okay,” he agreed, sounding happier. “You want to come over here and talk to me?”

“I can do that. Whereabouts are you?”

“I got a place on Beach Drive in West Seattle. You know where that is?”

“I do.” If he could afford a house down there, he must have written a few hits. It was right on Puget Sound, where the water lapped against the bottom of the gardens. Just the year before, I’d been to see a one-bedroom house along there, one in need of plenty of TLC before it would even be habitable. The asking price was over three hundred thousand and yet it had sold in a week. I loved the idea of living by the water but I knew that it was a dream. I’d never have the money for it.

And the audio book trailer – video is coming in a couple of weeks:

Finally, the Spotify playlist (shhh!):

West Seattle Blues

And please, tell me what you think…