Puyallup: Sumner

Write in the Valley workshop addresses ‘jungle of publishing’

Adrianne Lee
Adrianne Lee Courtesy

Sometimes writing the great American novel can feel like a lonely existence.

For budding authors grappling daily with the thorny publishing world, the Sumner Pierce County Library is throwing a lifeline to help neophytes stay afloat with its continuing Write in the Valley workshop series.

From noon to 3:30 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 10), the workshop series continues with “Chapter 7: Surviving the Jungle of Publishing.” Four Northwest authors will front an author discussion on the subject followed by a Q&A and then the afternoon will conclude with book sales, book signings and light refreshments.

Friends of the Sumner Library and the Sumner Arts Commission sponsor the event. Featured authors will comprise Joe Beernink, a young adult author who published his first novel, “Nowhere Wild,” in August; Patrick Swenson, author of the novel, “The Ultra Thin Man,” and owner of Fairwood Press in Bonney Lake; Adrianne Lee, whose multiple contemporary romance and mystery titles have been sold in several countries; and Mark Teppo, author of “Jumpstart Your Novel” and founder and publisher at Resurrection House.

“Publishing has changed so much,” said Judy Caviezel, the chair of the Sumner Arts Commission subcommittee that organizes the workshop. “We’ve tried to bring in people that represent all forms of publishing and the current state of the industry. We’re trying to be current in what the thinking is in publishing. We try to appeal to a broad audience. We like to invite readers as well as writers. To see the author firsthand gives a sense of their voice. It appeals to aspiring writers and readers.”

Beernink, who lives in Issaquah, is a new author that not too long ago was attending the Write in the Valley workshops. From 2005-2014, he and his wife and two children lived in Sumner, and in 2011, Beernink was invited to attend the Write in the Valley workshop. That same year he happened to win first place in the Write in the Valley short story contest.

“I’ve been to four or five (of the workshops),” Beernink said. “I had been to the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Conference and wanted to see what was going on locally.”

Beernink, 44, who works as a software developer for Microsoft, is ambitious and carves out at least an hour of focused writing daily in the early morning. It was on his commute from Sumner to Seattle when he wrote the first draft of his debut novel, “Nowhere Wild.” Over a period of eight years, he wrote and edited his novel that tells an adventure story of surviving in the wilds of Manitoba, Canada.

He landed a literary agent after two years of steady networking at the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference.

“When I started writing, I didn’t know anything about young adult fiction,” Beernink said. “I was writing a book that I always wanted to read as a teenager. I like the young adult (genre). I like being able to write fast plots and young adult dialogue.”

Beernink, who was born and raised in southern Ontario, Canada, and moved to the United States in 1996, said he is planning a trip to the Manitoba wilderness to do research for the sequel to “Nowhere Wild.”

“I’m working on the sequel now, and I hope to have the first draft done by the end of this year,” Beernink said.

What Beernink hopes to bring to the workshop this Saturday is encouragement to aspiring authors about the importance of maintaining a professional attitude.

“I will be talking about the professional aspect of it,” Beernink said. “I will talk about the importance of listening to your editor and taking constructive criticism well.”

For more about the author, visit www.joebeernink.com.

Andrew Fickes: 253-503-3965